July 1st through 4th
This article was written by 2013 Convention Director, Andy Seligson, and was published in the Jan-Feb 2013 issue of the Short Wing Piper News, pages 10 – 13.
Peter Lubig, president of the Short Wing Piper Club, had a good idea for this year’s Short Wings Over Saratoga SWPC convention (Peter has a lot of good ideas). How about encouraging past award winners from past conventions to attend this year’s convention in Saratoga, N.Y.? I thought that was a good idea on many counts.
First of all, I have seen some amazing species of Short Wing Pipers show up at conventions going back to 1986 when I joined the Short Wing Piper Club. To be honest, I really wasn’t all that involved with Short Wing Pipers at that time.
One of my first airplane rides (that I can remember) was in a Pacer out of Ramapo Valley Airport in Spring Valley, N.Y. While my father had a Stearman (which I got my private ticket in), it was a Short Wing Piper that had a lasting impression! Three adults and a kid, flying out of an 1800 foot strip to go to Montauk, N.Y., for the beach and seafood on a summer’s day. I was in the rear and couldn’t see a thing forward (kind of like the Stearman). I used to give sight-seeing rides in a 160 hp Tri-Pacer at the old Flushing airport.
That was it until my wife and I bought our Tri-Pacer in 1986. It was basically for commuting between Westchester County and the Long Island shore where we had a beach house and flying business. I really didn’t know much about the Colt, and the rest of the SWP’s were a vague notion. I stumbled upon a Mid-Atlantic chapter meeting at the Flying W airport in South Jersey and the rest was history.
At my first convention in Oklahoma (1987?), I got to see, close up, some amazing aircraft! All the different “species” were there. I didn’t know a thing about the Vagabond. The Clippers I saw were amazing. The PA- 22/20 was a most impressive aircraft.
There were a few Tri-Pacers and Colts that had to have looked better than the day they left Lock Haven! All these award-winning convention planes were restored by some very hard- working people. Many of them were done by their owners. A lot of people do not realize that some of these planes can actually carry four adults! Some of these award winners are truly works of art. I will not mention individuals at this time, but you past winners know who you are. Some of these planes have exchanged hands over the years.
One complaint that is heard from some of our more progressive board members and general membership is that our organization could be an adjunct of AARP! Yes, I’m one of them. I can’t tell you how many times I fly into some airport in the northeast and have folks come up to my plane and ask —- what is it? The majority of the new flying population knows of the Cirrus, glass paneled Cessna, etc. Not of our amazing Short Wing Pipers.
It is partly to remedy this situation that we want to showcase the best of our breed to the aviation community. We hope to have a national (international?) aviation media concern attend our convention this summer. They have been interested in our Short Wing Pipers and the SWPC but have not had the time to do a real story on us at Sun ‘n Fun or Oshkosh. Here’s their (and our) chance. What better way to show off than to have more than one “beauty” in attendance? Besides this media organization, we will be having some of the local media (TV and print) from the Albany, N.Y., area in attendance for even more exposure. No doubt, there will be some award to a returning “past champion” at the Saratoga Convention.
We hope this can be an incentive for some of you past award winners to join us for fun and camaraderie this July 1- 4 in Saratoga, N.Y. There are certainly many past award winners this side of the Mississippi, and I know that many who hail from west of the river plan to attend. Even if you can’t make the entire convention, try to make some of it to share our “treasures” with the rest of the aviation community. Saratoga has so much to offer and to do. Your being there with your Short Wing Piper would only make it more special. I hope to see many of you in Saratoga, N.Y., this July. —- Andy
Who are the Champions? Click HERE to find out.