The Safety Corner Assistant Chief Pilot Pete A. Rafle

In the past, I have suggested aviation museums and attractions. Among my favorite museums are The Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, FL; the Air Force Museum, Dayton, OH; Wright Brothers Museum. Kitty Hawk, NC, and the Evergreen Museum, Mcminnville, OR.

This month, I would like to encourage you to consider a visit to the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY. Situated at the south end of Keuka Lake in the Finger Lake District of New York State, it could not be in a more beautiful area. The nearest GA airport is 7N1, Corning-Painted Post, about 15 miles away. To the north, at the north end of Keuka Lake is KPEO, Penn Yann about 25 miles away. By car, plan on a five hour drive with a stop in Corning, NY.

Glenn Curtiss is known as “The Father of Naval Aviation”, having developed the first flying boat. But, he was also a motorcycle pioneer, having set a record of 136 mph in 1907 on an eight cylinder! engine powered motorcycle of his own design. There is a great collection of old motorcycles. In 1908 Curtiss flew his “June Bug” at the world’s firs pre-announced public flight.

Curtiss trained many early pilots including Blanche Stuart Scott, the first woman pilot.

He trained the first Naval Aviators and Army pilots. The museum has a beautiful display dedicated to the stories of the pioneer women pilots in the U.S.

Some of the airplanes you can see are: The Navy A-1, the Navy’s first aircraft, 1912 “Pusher”, 1913 Model E flying boat, 1917 “Jenny”, 1919 “Seagull” flying boat, 1927 “Robin”, a ¾ scale P-40 and a C-46 (out front, on pylons). There is also a nice selection of vintage automobiles, aircraft engines, boats and lots more from this early era of aviation.

We spent over two hours there (yes, Connie really enjoyed an airplane museum!) and then we explored the area and visited the some of the many vineyards in the region.