Posts Tagged ‘aircraft’

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mysterious Aircraft Wreckage At Spruce Lake

IMGP0824I have spent the last several years researching and searching for historic plane crash sites in the Adirondacks. It’s much harder to find them then people would think. Only in the last couple decades with the proliferation of hand held GPS devices has precise mapping come about and historical references often contain errors in descriptions and locations. One plane I found was not even on the mountain that media and government reports listed for its location. This fall, wreckage from a crash found me; as of yet, no one has been able to explain it. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recent Plane Crash Recalls 1989 Search For Aircraft

IMGP0624On Saturday July 19th, several people around the Lake Placid Airport witnessed the final moments of a small plane as it attempted a landing. The single-engine Mooney may have stalled, spiraling 200 feet to the ground before bursting into flames. It will be some time before the NTSB releases its findings. Investigators have already been to the scene and the plane has been removed from the crash site, just 40 feet from the River Road. This tragic event that took the lives of three people drew comparisons to a crash that occurred in the same vicinity 25 years ago.

On the March 1, 1989, pilot Paul Ffield departed from the Lake Clear airport for a very short flight to the Lake Placid airport in his twin engine Beech Baron N1729Q. He was forced to abort a landing at Lake Placid, just as happened last week, but in this case the cause was poor weather. It was believed Mr. Ffield turned to the south but no other landing attempt was observed. Lake Placid Airport manager and pilot Steve Short went airborne just a couple hours later to look for the plane. He returned without success, finding no sign of the plane or an Emergency Locating Transmitter (ELT) signal. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Search And Rescue Stories: Ranger Orville Betters

raquette fallsA striking old black and white photograph of a Forest Ranger posted on the NYSDEC Twitter feed recently caught my attention and captivated my imagination. The tweet read “Ranger w/pack basket putting up Canoe Carry Trail sign. Raquette Falls in the (Adirondacks) 1949.”

The ranger had a striking pose, wearing a Stetson, boots tightly laced half way to his knees. The ranger’s face was hidden from view, not surprising for a profession, that – especially then – toiled in the outdoors, their daily routine invisible to the public. I quickly tweeted back “Do you know who that is?”  Unfortunately no one did. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Floatplane Adventure:
Buster Bird And Raquette Lake History

Buster Bird in 1997. Courtesy of Carol Bird Mitchell“Thunk-Ping” “Thunk-Ping” echoed through the woods as the head of the sledge came down upon the maul.  Rhythmically the forged steel struck the maul, driving the blade into the round section of the old oak deadfall’s trunk.  My hands tried valiantly to not retreat, but hold fast to the maul handle as my father sent the sledge’s head crashing down.

Each summer we would split a deadfall and stack the wood in our shed for future fires in the Vermont Castings stove.  Beautiful sunlight barely broke through the thick canopy of white pine and spruce as we sweated within a few hundred feet of our cabin.   The sledge hit the maul over and over, sounding like the chimes of a slow clock that strikes its bell every ten seconds. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Unanswered Questions About Essex Chain Proposal

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapThe Adirondack Park Agency began deliberations Wednesday on the classification of 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands, with staff members explaining why the agency’s staff settled on a Primitive classification for the Essex Chain Lakes. However, some questions were left unanswered.

The staff had considered proposals to classify the Essex Chain as Wilderness, Canoe, and Wild Forest. As reported earlier on the Almanack, the staff rejected the Wilderness and Canoe designations largely because local towns own the floatplane rights to First Lake, which is part of the Essex Chain, as well as Pine Lake, which is located a mile and a half south of the chain.

“The presence of floatplanes landing and taking off would detract from the sense of wilderness,” Kathy Regan, a senior natural resource planner, told the APA board.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When ‘Primitive’ Is More Protective Than ‘Wilderness’

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapWilderness is the most restrictive and most protective of the Adirondack Park Agency’s seven classifications for Forest Preserve lands, so perhaps it’s no surprise that environmental groups pushed for a Wilderness designation for the Essex Chain Lakes.

The APA staff instead recommended a Primitive classification. Ordinarily, this might be seen as a slight downgrade in protection, but in this case an argument can be made that natural resources are actually better protected under the Primitive classification. » Continue Reading.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Old Forge Radio Controlled Model Airplane Fly-In

Picture1On Saturday, July 27th, from 9am to 4pm, the Mountain R/C Modelers of Old Forge will hold its 12th Annual Fly-In and Fun-Fly at the airfield on North Street in Old Forge.

The highlight of this radio-controlled model event will be an air show at 1 pm. The event draws pilots from all over the East. Academy of Model Aeronautics membership is required to fly. The airfield is a one-thousand foot grass facility.

The public is invited to bring a chair and enjoy a day with friends, family and our radio-controlled flying community. Admission is free, and food and drinks will be available on-site. For additional information, contact contest director Walt Throne by phone at (315) 559-8826.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ex-DEC Official Disagrees With Essex Chain Plan

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)A former top official in the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says the department’s proposal for managing the Essex Chain of Lakes will jeopardize the region’s natural resources.

In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, Christopher Amato calls for classifying the Essex Chain as a Canoe Area, a designation that would prohibit the public use of motorboats, floatplanes, and motor vehicles. DEC has proposed classifying the area as Wild Forest, which would permit motorized access.

Amato’s proposal is closer in spirit to proposals by the Adirondack Council and Protect the Adirondacks to classify all or most of the tract as Wilderness. Motorized use is also prohibited in Wilderness Areas. But Amato, who served as DEC’s assistant commissioner for natural resources from 2007 to 2011, contends that the Canoe designation is a better fit.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cabin Life: A Bear And The Bizarro World

If you’ve never heard of Bizarro World, then you didn’t read Superman comics as a kid.  Well I didn’t either, but I learned about it in an episode of Seinfeld.  I am in my own personal Bizarro World right now, flying about thirty thousand feet on my way to South Carolina via Chicago.  And I can’t think of any place that could be farther from my simple lifestyle.  This is as far from simple as you can get.

The guy sitting next to me has commandeered the armrest, which I guess is alright since we’re in an exit row.  You have to take the good with the bad.  I’m also pretty sure he is reading  what I write.  It’s OK for you to keep the armrest; I have the aisle, and that’s a fair trade.

It has been simple out at the cabin.  The leaves are gorgeous and in the Northern Adirondacks peak leaf season is just about over.  The red carpet of leaves on the trails is so bright it almost hurts your eyes, and the yellows, oranges and golds overhead create the appearance of a nice bright day even when it’s overcast and rainy.  But those random shafts of light that penetrate the trees bring out so much color it’s a wonder to behold. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Balloon Festival

Sometimes my husband and I take turns doing something special with the children. We each need our own one-on-one time with our son and daughter. Each child also gets that special time with a parent where he/she doesn’t have to compete for attention.

Last year my son and I attended the Adirondack Balloon Festival. Since we live outside of Saranac Lake, making the 5:00 am Big Balloon Breakfast at the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport hanger in Queensbury was no mean feat. The biggest challenge wasn’t so much the early drive but getting my son out of bed. He agreed much later on that is was definitely worth the trip. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Hindenburg: When Dirigibles Roamed North Country Skies

Many famous ships can be linked in one way or another to Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain in northern Clinton County. There was the Philadelphia under Benedict Arnold’s command in the Battle of Valcour, and the Saratoga under Thomas Macdonough, hero of the Battle of Plattsburgh. There were steamers, like the Vermont, the Chateaugay, and the Ticonderoga. And as noted here in the past, Plattsburgh also owns an unusual link to the largest seagoing vessel of its time, the Titanic.

But there is yet another tied not only to Plattsburgh, but to the entire Champlain Valley, and from Whitehall to Albany as well. And like the Titanic, its name became synonymous with disaster. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Westport Model Plane Show

The International Miniature Aircraft Association (IMAA) and the Champlain Valley Flyers are once again hosting “Valley of the Giants” at the Westport Airfield this weekend, June 29- July 1. Event Director Clarence Owen brought the large model plane event back to Westport last year after a 10-year hiatus.

“We held the event last year and it was a great success,” says Owen. “We are now adding on an extra day. We had 45 pilots last year and are expecting about the same. There will be food and raffles in addition to all the model flight demonstrations. We are also going to be donating our part in the North Country SPCA.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Ridgelines and Airplanes

It was New Year’s Eve 2010, our first visit to Lost Brook Tract, just two days after we had closed on the property. I was standing in four feet of snow, contemplating potential trouble. I had bushwhacked down from the small plateau that marks the low point of our land, trying to get a feel for the ridge upon which it lay so that I could solidify the route in my mind.

My family and I had been guided in by Vinny McClelland the first time and on the way I had a noted couple of tricky spots. I was glad for the deep snow that provided sure tracks back to camp for at that moment I stood at one of those locations that raises the pulses of off-trail adventurers. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Pioneers of Flight: The Flying Dryer Family

In the weeks and months following the amazing story of survival in the Adirondacks in January 1935, when the four-man crew of a downed Curtis Condor plane were rescued from the clutches of death, further details surfaced in the media. The two uninjured passengers had considered striking off to the south in search of help. Said one of their rescuers, Leonard Partello: “They would never have come out alive. They would have had to go fifteen miles through heavy snow without food. It couldn’t be done.”

The ultimate blame for the incident was placed on the company. No qualified dispatcher was on hand in Syracuse to authorize the flight in terrible weather, which was allowed after a call to the Newark office. That near-fatal decision was countered by the great flying skills of Ernest Dryer. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 9, 2012

A Local Search and Rescue Makes News Photo History

In modern times, photographs accompanying newspaper stories are sent around the world in digital format, utilizing the latest technology. But for half a century, from 1935 to 1989, the Wirephoto Service of the Associated Press was the industry standard. Prior to that time, the text of stories was sent by wire, but photographs for newsprint were shipped the same way mail and other urgent items were: by train or by plane.

Even by the speediest of methods, it could take more than three days for photographs to arrive. When the dramatic advancement came in 1935 to an instant process, the Adirondacks were linked forever with communications’ history. » Continue Reading.



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