Trip Start Jul 20, 2002
12Trip End Sep 05, 2002
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Ellie is a sort-of pilot, in that she's a member of Civil Air Patrol and goes on regular search and rescue flights around the New York area, though never as the actual pilot of the plane
Piper began his aviation career in 1929, in nearby Bradford, PA, when he purchased a stake in the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation. It was, by all accounts, not the greatest time to be investing in something as high end as an airplane company, what with the Great Depression suddenly kicking America into a tailspin. But he stuck it out, and during the late 1930s and early 1940s, the recovery of the United States along with the outbreak of WWII caused a substantial uptick int he demand for light aircraft the like sof which Piper was producing. A fire in 1937 detsroyed the factory, so Piper uprooted and established itself in Loch Haven. Piper sold thousands of its signature Cub to the US military during WWII, where they were used for flight training, medical evacuation, reconnaissance, and artillery spotting.
After the war, the demand for recreation aircraft skyrocketed, or whatever it is small aircraft do (I would guess maybe you don't want them to skyrocket, as the end result of that is usually an explosion and a tiny parachute popping out to let your cardboard tube drift gracefully back down to earth, or in the case of my rocketry experience, into a nearby tree from which rocket retrieval was nigh impossible)
The museum turned out to be pretty cool. definitely a nice accidental find, and a funw ay to spend a morning. A few bucks for admission gets you into a big room stuffed with relics and models of the history of Piper aviation and the Golden era of private aviation adventures (around World War II). A Realistic tape recorder from the 1970s provides running narration as you tour the exhibition, and then you get to go outside to the museum hangar and poke around a bunch of cool old airplanes while pilots land and take-off from the runway in the front.
After the museum, we found a spot on the shores of Loch Haven and ate sandwiches while a group of kids rode their dirt bikes down a dock and into the lake, right in front of a "No Swimming" sign. Such youthful disregard for cumbersome restrictions brightened an already sunny day. When I was little and first learning to ride a bike, the bike I was using was way too big, thus making it hard to stop without falling on my side. My solution? No problem. I just rode the bike to the end of the street, down a hill, and plowed into a pond.
Sandwiches consumed, I thought it was high time I unstrapped the bike from the back of the car and got it wet.