Tag Archives: plane crash

Today in Rip Payne

27 Mar
by Emma Earnst

Today in 1960, Rip Payne attended a demonstration flight by the Albemarle Soaring Club at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.  According to a national Soaring Club publication,

A new group known as the Albemarle Soaring Club is starting operations this spring at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, Charlottesville, Virginia.  The Club members, about 5, bought two L-K’s in November of 1958 and spent the winter, spring, and summer rebuilding one of them… Finally, in March of 1960 a beautiful weekend came and 10 aero-tows were made.  The longest flight lasted 1 hour and 1 minute.  On this weekend, many new faces were introduced to the growing soaring movement in the U.S.A.

The Albemarle Soaring Club was especially significant, as it sharply differed from the images of air travel that were shown in the media at this time.  In October 1959, Charlottesville citizens were rocked when a Piedmont Airlines plane crashed in the area, killing all but one of its passengers.  The Soaring Club’s special weekend, just a few months after the crash, served to remind their friends that flying is still fun, and in spite of dangers, it can be a breathtaking leisure activity.

Or, they were just a bunch of crazy thrill-seekers…

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