Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
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|Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome|
|Location||Red Hook, New York|
|Collection size||Pioneer Era aircraft
WW I aircraft
Golden Age (1919-39) aircraft
|Public transit access||Rhinecliff-Kingston (Amtrak station)|
The aerodrome was the creation of Cole Palen, who was partially inspired by the Shuttleworth Collection in England. He regularly flew many of the aircraft during weekend airshows as his alter-ego, "The Black Baron" (loosely based on the Red Baron). These airshows still continue mid-June through mid-October, and biplane rides are available before and after the shows.
The simple early shows led to a philosophy of not only showing the aircraft in their natural environment, but also providing a fun and entertaining day out for the whole family. From this the air show that the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome was to become famous for what was developed. This included a zany melodrama, inspired by the storylines of silent film melodramas of the past, featuring Palen-created characters such as the daring Sir Percy Goodfellow doing battle with the evil Black Baron for the hand of the lovely Trudy Truelove.
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome features numerous aircraft ranging from Wright-era reconstructions to biplanes and monoplanes of the 1930s. Among Palen's earliest additions to the museum in the mid-1960s was a Fokker Triplane reproduction, powered with a vintage Le Rhône 9J 110 hp rotary engine. It was crafted by Cole Palen for flight in his weekend airshows as early as 1967 with FAA registration N3221, and actively flown (mostly by Cole Palen) within the weekend airshows at Old Rhinebeck until the late 1980s. This aircraft, and a pair of Dr.I reproductions, each powered by radial engines, were flown for nearly two decades by Palen. Both Cole's first rotary-engined reproduction, and the second of the stationary radial-powered reproductions, are now on static display. One of these is on loan at the New England Air Museum with the Le Rhône engine. The Allied opponent for Palen's Triplane in the early years was mostly provided by the Sopwith Pup reproduction built by his colleague Richard King, also powered with a rotary engine (an 80 hp Le Rhone 9C) — the Pup is now flown with its WW I vintage rotary engine by its current owners, the Owl's Head Transportation Museum of Maine.
In 1971 a replica was produced of the 1910 Short S.29 using a 60hp ENV V-8 engine.An accurate Sopwith Dolphin reproduction was built by Palen. Powered by a vintage direct-drive Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine, this aircraft regularly flew at Palen's weekend air shows from 1980 onward. In September 1990, the aircraft's engine suffered a fuel pump failure, resulting in a crash landing into the trees surrounding the Old Rhinebeck museum's airstrip, with little damage to the reproduction Dolphin's airframe and no injuries to the pilot. The aircraft never directly struck the ground in the crash, and largely remained suspended in the tree canopy after the accident. The Dolphin was placed on static display until November 2007, when Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome began restoring it to flying condition. When completed, the aircraft will once again be painted in the markings of No. 19 Squadron.
Another German aircraft in the collection is an Albatros D.V reproduction, which is finished in the colors of Eduard Ritter von Schleich. It is powered by a modified six-cylinder Fairchild Ranger engine, fitted after the original liquid-cooled Mercedes D.II engine sheared its crankshaft.
The collection also includes a restored 1909 Bleriot XI (including an original three cylinder Anzani radial engine), with U.S. civil registration N60094, that is believed to be the second oldest airworthy aircraft in the world.
On August 17, 2008, around 4 p.m. during the performance of a simulated dog fight at the aerodrome, Vincent Nasta of Wading River, New York died of injuries sustained when his plane crashed in to a heavily wooded area 1000 feet from the runway and performance area. The aircraft being used was part of the aerodrome's World War I collection and was reported to be a reproduction French Nieuport 24. It was the first fatality during an airshow at the facility.
- "Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome - America's Original Living Museum of Antique Airplanes - Fokker Dr.I". oldrhinebeck.org. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- http://neam.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89 "Fokker Dr.1 Triplane Replica"
- "Owl's Head Transportation Museum — The Aircraft Page — 1916 Sopwith Pup (Representation)". othm.org. Owl's Head Transportation Museum. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Air Progress. September 1971.
- King, Richard (1997). "Pushing My Luck (One Time Too Often)". The Skies Over Rhinebeck: A Pilot's Story. USA: Jostens. pp. 215–224. ISBN 0966133501. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
At least four books have been written about Old Rhinebeck. These include:
- The Skies over Rhinebeck: A Pilot's Story by the late co-founder of ORA, Dick King
- The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
- Return to Rhinebeck: Flying Vintage Aeroplanes
- Wind in the Wires: A Golden Era of Flight, 1909-1939
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.|
- Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome website
- Website dedicated to Cole Palen, founder of ORA
- Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Photos of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum and WWI era airshow in Rhinebeck, New York
- Photos of the Aerodrome Collection
- Photographs of Cole Palen's Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome