Friday, May 31st, 2013
While on a roadtrip last fall, my boyfriend and I stopped at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, NY. The Aerodrome has been a Hudson River Valley institution since it was founded by Cole Palen in 1960.
The Aerodrome has a fantastic collection of (mostly) WWI era planes and related memorabilia. Cole Palen was a visionary – he believed that planes were meant to be flown, not just displayed. The planes are flown every weekend, weather permitting. Seeing a plane from the early 1900s in the air is pretty unique. If you’re anywhere in the Hudson Valley area, I highly recommend a visit. My boyfriend recommends the biplane ride (I think!).
While viewing the collection, I was surprised to come across an exhibit relating to Maine. Designed in 1917, the Aeromarine 39B was used for flight training. The Aerodrome purchased a fine example of this plane in the late 1960’s. Most of the plane was destroyed in a fire but the parts were saved with the hope that it could one day be restored.
A Maine man named Percy Hyde took the rudder from the burnt plane from Rhinebeck, NY to Maine in the 1970s in order to restore it as a favor to Cole Palen. Unfortunately, Percy passed away and no one has seen the rudder since.
The Rhinebeck Aerodrome is still looking for the rudder. It’s pretty big and hard to miss — about six feet tall and over three feet wide. If you come across it in your travels through Maine, please let them know!