Fly in

One of the many things which our small corner of the world is known for is that it was once home to the Piper Aircraft Corporation. The local fortunes of Piper had their ups and downs, the ups being associated with war-time production of small aircraft in the mid 1940s and then again in the early 1950s. In June of 1972 Susquehanna flood waters rose into the primary manufacturing facility and soon after Piper moved its operations to Florida. You may wonder what ties remain between the corporation and the city of Lock Haven. Well, many of the folks that live in this area had once been employees of Piper and if they weren’t well, someone in their family was … everyone knows someone who worked for Piper. Although there is an official Cub Club, dedicated to … preserving and promoting the restoration, maintenance and flying of the long-wing fabric Piper Cubs, there is also a local group with a keen interest in Piper aircraft, and more. The group’s annual meeting is called the Sentimental Journey Fly-In and was held this past weekend at the  William T. Piper Memorial Airport. Many of those who attend the gathering do so to fly Piper Aircraft of all descriptions (but mostly the Piper Cub and its numerous variations), to talk about Piper Aircraft, and to talk some more about Piper Aircraft. Moreover, this local event gives Piper retirees, the folks who actually built the aircraft which converge on Lock Haven from all around the country, a time to visit, catch up, and to revisit the Glory Days of Piper and to celebrate their physical contributions to it and to a small part of American aviation history. I’d never been presented with the opportunity to photograph planes before and was eager to give it a try. The Piper Cub below was unusual in that it was outfitted as a float plane. The perspective offered by a wide lens in combination with my proximity to the subject had the effect, I think, of making the aircraft look like a mighty, winged, insect.


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