SWPC-NE Chapter Newsletter November 2001


We finally got in a bona-fide fly-in last Saturday! The weather was forecasted to be good V.F.R. and the frustration began to set in. You see, while the FAA lifted most restrictions on VFR part 91 flying, there are many airports that lie under "enhanced Class B airspace". I base my Tri-Pacer at Westchester County Airport which is about 3 miles from the outer ring of the N.Y. Class B. To get in or out one must file and fly an IFR flight plan. While HPN is a big, busy airport with a heavy mix of airline, corporate, and pleasure flying, there are a lot of people who know my "business". That means my plane and I are not current IFR. It pays to be popular, right? Given the current paranoia gripping many sectors of our population, I didn't want to start in with some overzealous person who was "just doing their job", in order to get the proverbial $100 hamburger(actually steamed clams). That and the fact that I had to be onstage for a difficult concert that evening and didn't want to take a chance with any ATC or N.Y.C. traffic delays, led me to drive to this event. It was a most pleasant drive with no traffic and the fall foliage blooming. Gloria said I was nuts to drive so much on a day that I had a concert. I told her that we've flown up to Maine (3 hrs. ea. Way) on such days, so the hour and 15 minutes each way would be a big nothing and it was.

There was no mention of winds and turbulence in the forecast. Only some ground fog in low lying areas. When I drove into Richmor Aviation's parking lot, the flag told me otherwise. There was some rocking and rolling going on. Just ask Rico Cannone's friend Dale. Mike Berry can attest to the fog. He scrapped the Tri-Pacer and flew the Apache IFR out of Worcester, Mass. When the dust settled there were 11 folks warming up and eating at Meadowgreens. Five of us drove; six of us flew. Those attending were:

Name Base Aircraft
Andy Seligson HPN drove
Steve Sevits
Joyce Sevits
1B1 drove
Noel Anderson
Andrew Anderson
GBR drove
Rico Cannone Heber Tri-Pacer
Dale Privadera Heber Tri-Pacer
Mike Purcell Northampton,Mass. Tri-Pacer
David Lampron Northampton,Mass Tri-Pacer
Mike Berry Worcester, Mass Apache
John Mortarelli Worcester, Mass Apache

We had a good time on the ramp giving the once over to Mike Purcell's sharp looking Tri-Pacer. He ended up doing the recovering and painting himself after an unpleasant encounter with a shop in Massachusetts (based at Tanner Hiller) that tried to rip him off. He learned alot along the way about fabric covered aircraft that will be worth a fortune in the future as experienced workers in this field dwindle. A sharp looking paint and interior on his plane will certainly add value to Mike's investment. This was the first trip since the recovering and other than some tweaking of the lift struts, it seemed to fly real well according to Mike and Dave. By the way, Dave also has a Tri-Pacer based at Northampton. We haven't seen these guys since the last Garnsey fly-in. Good to see you!

During lunch, the talk was on many subjects. It was certainly good to have an event where more than 2 or 3 people showed up! It was certainly good to get together with old friends. Talk of airline security was meaningful because Mike Berry flies for ATA. Between what Mike had to say and the security seminar I took part in back in the early 70s when I was in that business, it seems that besides hype, hysteria, and longer waits - NOTHING has changed. One thing that has gotten a lot of attention is airport security. Mike Berry said that nobody at Worcester airport can go anywhere on the ramp unless escorted by an official. He can't even put air in his tires in his hangar. The plane has to be brought to the FBO. Worcester is under the Massport authority, famous for the "tight" security at Boston Logan. Here at HPN one must show ID before gaining access to the ramp. How is it at your field? Please e-mail me at Andytuba@optonline.net or call 914-337-2968 and let me know so we can share our collective circumstances in this ever changing situation. We talked about flight restrictions over sensitive areas like reservoirs and nuclear powerplants and how common sense should prevail; also how public concern/paranoia might affect G.A. flying.

Not much in the planning area was discussed due to the lack of a true "crowd". We did set up our next 2 meetings. November will bring us to Schenectady County airport just N.W. of Albany, N.Y. for a tour of the Empire State Aero Museum on Sat. Nov. 17th with the 18th as a rain date. SCH is a tower controlled field and we'll be parking at Fortune Air. The museum is adjacent with $5 admission. Fortune air will try to waive any landing fee, but we don't know at this time. The museum is at 250 Rudy Chase Drive just off Rt. 50 for those who will be driving. The phone number is 518-377-2191. Let's try to get there by 11:30 the latest (weather permitting). There are at least 2 restaurants directly across the street from Fortune Air - a Chinese and a deli. Steve Sevits is looking into these options. Our annual holiday gathering will be on Sat. Dec. 8th with Sun. the 9th as the alternate at good old Meadowgreens at Columbia County airport (1B1) in Hudson. N.Y. If we have it on the 9th we will have the opportunity to gorge ourselves on Meadowgreens' buffet brunch. Hopefully we'll have a true "crowd" and can discuss real club business like elections, a new newsletter editor ( Noel just doesn't have the time), dates and locations of future events, and recruitment. Speaking of recruitment, I have a beautiful brochure from the SWPC for just this purpose. I'll try to get some more and distribute them to all you future recruiters. Many of us know of or bump into Short Wing Pipers in our travels and it amazes me how many of them are NOT members of the club or chapter!

What can be said about September 11th that you haven't heard already? It was just plain awful! It has changed the course of our lives and will, most likely continue to change the course. That's what tragedies do to our lives. We are a resilient bunch, us Americans. I believe we will gather our strength and continue forward with our lives, adapting to whatever we have to while trying to maintain our "standard of living and place" in the world. How will this whole situation impact on our love of flying; especially tooling around in our beloved Short Wing Pipers and "Spam Cans"? God only knows! The gross overreaction of our leaders (some of it understandable) and our inability to bring about change to this situation ASAP is certainly frustrating. Remember that WE elected these leaders and still pay their salaries. We all have a right and obligation to let them know what's on our minds. In this instance, as it relates to General Aviation. While many of us can still drive out to the airport, hop in the bird, and fly off as free as a bird (almost), many of us CAN NOT! In some cases, like mine, the end of the runway is just a couple of miles from the outer ring of Class B airspace. What is the reasoning for not scaling back the flight restriction from 25nm to 18nm in order to allow hundreds of pilots their freedom? It seems that the answer is very difficult because it hasn't come yet!! Will 18nm be the answer for all caught in this situation? Of course not. Will one be able to fly down the Hudson River VFR corridor again? I doubt it. Change is here and we'll have to learn to live with it. This doesn't mean that we have to be silent and take what's shoved down our breather tubes. Make your voices heard while the folks out there can still hear! And start thinking of some locations to hold future events. Winter locations should have at least snow removal and parking for aircraft. All should have some kind of facility for the second most important thing of our fly-ins - eating. I hope to see you in Schenectady on November the 17th. Safe flying to you all.

No Loitering, Please

No End To New NOTAMs
The FAA might be letting up a bit on airspace restrictions, but the NOTAMs keep coming. Monday, the agency issued another directive in the interests of national security, which seems to emphasize a continuing nervousness over VFR flights. The FAA would appreciate it if pilots flying VFR would NOT circle or loiter in the vicinity of power plants, dams, reservoirs, military installations, etc. If you're flying into or out of an airport, or authorized by ATC, then, okay. And if you MUST loiter, at least listen on VHF 121.5 or UHF 243.0, if you can. We have a feeling you might have company -- soon, and close to your wingtip -- if you neglect to pay attention.

Sentimental Journey: Back To Piper's Birthplace

Each year, the Piper faithful make the pilgrimage back to the place of their loved ones' birth, Lock Haven, Pa. They come to pay homage to the type, gaze upon all the other examples bearing William T.'s name, tour the Piper Aviation Museum and, well, just celebrate flight. This year was no different, with more than 135 airplanes (of all types) flying into Lock Haven and 500 or so arriving by automobile. AVweb's Peter Yost was there and filed this report. He also came back with a bunch of images, just in case you couldn't make it this year. Text and Images By Peter Yost (pyost@avweb.com )

The 16th Annual Piper Fly-in, known as "Sentimental Journey," took place last week at the birthplace of thousands of Piper aircraft -- Lock Haven, Pa. In spite of off-and-on rain throughout the four-day event, over 135 planes managed to arrive at the W.T. Piper Memorial Airport (LHV) from June 20-23, while another 500 or so pilots and Piper aficionados drove to Lock Haven so as not to miss the planes and surrounding activities. Many of the attendees Piper Air Museumcamped under the wings of their aircraft or on the airport grounds. Sentimental Journey attendees showed off restored Pipers, participated in aviation seminars, renewed friendships, or just relaxed in the beautiful mountains of central Pennsylvania throughout the four days. And when the rains came and closed the lush grass runway that was the center of flying activities, pilots could visit the nearby Piper Aviation Museum to learn the history of various Piper models from the fabric-and-tube Cubs to the all-metal Cheyennes. The museum is located in the engineering building next to the old Piper factory, where thousands of Pipers were built from 1937 until the factory permanently closed in 1984.

The heavy rains that soaked the fly-in grounds on Saturday reminded some of the locals of the great flood of June 23, 1972, when the nearby Susquehanna River overflowed its banks and enveloped not only the airport but also the Piper factory, destroying dozens of just-completed airplanes and numerous others in various stages of construction. But it would take much heavier rains than that to stop the fly-in these days -- a dike has been built around the airport to keep out the river. Volunteer John Buchan, one of over 200 volunteers -- many of whom are former Piper employees -- who make the Sentimental Journey happen, said the bad weather greatly reduced the number of aircraft attending this year. Although the fly-in is open to any and all types of planes, the majority of aircraft attending the fly-in are classic Pipers such as Cubs, Vagabonds and Pacers -- airplanes with basic instrumentation designed for fair-weather flying. However, a Cub pilot from California managed to make it in earlier in the week before the weather went sour, after flying 40 leisurely hours from the left coast. There were also numerous pilots who flew in from Canada, and several folks from as far away as Hawaii and England, but they didn't get to Lock Haven in a Cub.

Among the unique Pipers at this year's Sentimental Journey was the PA-12 Super Cruiser "City of the Angels." Along with its sister ship, "City of Washington," the two PA-12s became the first light aircraft to fly around the world in 1947. Though the "City of Washington" is owned by the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and will never fly again, "City of Angels" was completely restored to full flight status by Dave Liebegott of Clearfield, Pa., in 1998 after some 1,500 hours of work. Owned by Harry Mutter of Media, Pa., the PA-12 is based and displayed at the Piper museum, but flown regularly. According to Mutter, "The 'City of the Angels' is no hanger queen, as we've put over 300 flight hours on her since the restoration was completed. Many of those hours include flying through Canada to retrace all the routes and stops made in that country during the original around the world flight." Another interesting tidbit that Mutter likes to mention is that the "City of the Angels" is technically the first light aircraft to circumnavigate the globe, as it was first to land at the flight's termination in Teterboro, N.J., just minutes ahead of the "City of Washington."

Though most of the older Pipers at Sentimental Journey were not as famous as the "City of the Angels," that doesn't mean they are loved any less by their pilots. As the fly-in wound down late Saturday afternoon, the rain finally stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. Then followed a cool, calm summer evening, with the sun dipping towards the surrounding mountain tops -- a perfect time to fly a Cub.

Numerous pilots released the tiedowns holding their beloved Cubs and took to the skies for short hops around the patch. Soon there were numerous Cubs in the pattern, doors wide open -- the best way to fly a Cub in the summer -- giving rides, or just trying to get one more fun flight in before the sun set. One by one they slipped their Cub down on final, straightening out just before the wheels lightly kissed the still-wet grass. The smiles on their faces, young and old, showed they each were completing their own sentimental journey.

It was just as it should be, and just as the company's founder, W.T. Piper Sr., would have wanted.

-- Pete
Click Here for Piper Air Museum Pictures