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Barn Storming at Old Rhinebeck

If you are planning to visit upstate New York during the summer months you should include the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and museum in your itinerary. The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is located about a 100 miles north of New York City just a few miles east of the Hudson River bank.

The aerodrome's runway is nothing more than a green meadow surrounded by woody hills. Unless you fly a classic or an antique airplane, chances are slim that you will be allowed to land there. The two nearest airports are Red Hook (Sky Park) Airport which is just a few miles away and Ulster Co. Airport in Kingston. To get there by car use NY Rt. 9 to Rhinebeck which is located just north of Pougheepsie, NY. From Rhinebeck, simply follow the signs.

There are lots of different places to stay in the area. Most of the major hotel/motel chains are located just a short drive away in Kingston and a bit further away in Poughkeepsie. Locally, the Beekman Arms and Hearthstone Motel are very convenient.

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome static museum is open every day from May 15 through October 31. Gates open at 10 AM daily. The display includes one of the largest collections of early aeroplanes in the world. Over 60 vintage airplanes (1908 through 1942) are on display. Also on display are automobiles, motorcycles, early engines and memorabilia from 1900-1935. On weekends from mid-June through mid-October the aerodeome returns to life when vintage airplanes taking to the sky in colorful airshows. The Saturday shows chronicle the history of flight, with pioneer, World War One and Lindbergh era aircraft. Sunday shows feature our World War One and barnstorming aircraft, and include a melodrama with Sir Percy Goodfellow and the evil Black Baron of Rhinebeck. Click here for this summer events.

The following collection of aircraft are featured in the weekly airshows.

These privately owned aircraft also regularly participate in the airshows:

Early aviation open-cockpit biplane rides are available in a 1929 New Standard D-25. The barnstorming flights are available before and after the shows. Flights are approximately fifteen minutes, and there is a cost per person. They book up quickly on a first-come, first-serve basis, so sign up early.

This season, in addition to the regularly scheduled air shows, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome will be hosting some exciting special events, These events will coincide with our Saturday and Sunday airshows.

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is the life long dream of Cole Palen, and a result of his dedication to the preservation of early aviation. It is part of the Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum that has been designed to carry on the tradition and work of Cole Palen, and to present to the public a living aviation history. It is with pride and pleasure that we share aviation's rich heritage and colorful past with everyone.

Cole Palen began purchasing and restoring World War I airplane in 1951. In 1956 he started flying the SPAD XIII, a WWI airplane. In 1958 he purchased an old abandoned farm in Rhinebeck, New York, with the intention to start a small vintage aircraft operation. In 1959 Cole had carved out a short rough runway, that enabled him to fly out of the Rhinebeck property. His operation attracted several other aviation enthusiasts. In 1960, the air shows began. They were held each Sunday at the end of the month. All services were volunteered and very often the show crew was larger than the audience.

In 1966, Dick King completed his own Sopwith Pup which immediately began flying in the shows. The following year Cole finished the Fokker DR-1, and the dog fight act originally between Cole in the SPAD or Nieuport 28 and Dave Fox in the Fokker D-VII, was replaced by the aerial argument between the Pup and the Triplane. The addition of an Avro 504K flown by Stanley Segalla increased the excitement.

By 1977 the Aerodrome had expanded its airshows to feature Lindbergh era aircraft on Saturdays, World War I aircraft on Sundays, with additional show time featuring the Pioneer aircraft on Saturday or Sunday; whenever the weather permitted.

In December of 1993, Cole Palen left his collection of airplanes, cars and motorcycles to the Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum, to enable it to continue his dream. Today's Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is composed of two not-for-profit organizations; the Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Air Shows.

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Last update May 17, 2005
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