From the Archives: Dickinson Aero Club Members Plan Purchase of Second Plane

March 6, 1959


Club Encourages Flying Interest and Aero Skills


Thirty members comprise the Dickinson Aero Club which was formed in September, 1958, to “stimulate an interest in aviation to provide authorized personnel with an opportunity to engage in flying as a recreational activity; and to encourage and develop skills in aeronautics, navigation, mechanics, and related aero sciences,” according to the constitution of the organization.


An Aeronca Chief airplane is owned by the Club and there are plans to purchase a second and larger plane for cross-country flights. Club members receive flight lessons from the instructors at Skyport Airfield, Mechanicsburg where the plane is hangared. The Dickinson Aero Club maintains a link trainer which is a ground training device simulating flight by instruments. There is no added cost for the use of this trainer which is located in Denny basement. Ground school, taught by the Skyport instructors, is held weekly to inform student pilots of aircraft structure, navigation, radio, and meteorology. A thorough knowledge of these subjects is needed for the Private Pilot written examination. Club meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month.


President of the Club is Robert Chiarello, who is also on the Rifle Team. Tom Wright, member of Omicron Delta Kappa and the Debate Council, serves as Vice-President. The secretary is Jim Wade whose other activities include Mermaid Players, Follies, and writing for the Dickinsonian. Jack Yahraes, active in Student Senate and the IFC, is treasurer. Carol Helfrich, member of Mermaid Players, Follies, and the Dickinsonian, serves as the Public Information Officer. Sgt. James H. Patton, Jr., who obtained his Private Pilot License in 1947, is the Operations Officer and Captain Albert L. Russell Jr., serves as Club supervisor.


Qualifications for Certificate

To qualify for a Private Pilot Certificate, applicant must have logged a minimum of forty flight hours including twenty hours of solo flight time and ten hours of solo cross-country time, according to the Civil Air Regulations. The applicant must pass a written and a practical flight examination in order to obtain his license. By joining the Dickinson Aero Club, a member may save 50% of the cost of obtaining his Private Pilot Certificate. A student usually solos an aircraft within 8-10 hours of light time. Maneuvers such as turns, climbs, glides, stalls, take-offs and landing, are learned during the pre-solo time. Membership in the Club is now open to all Dickinson students and faculty. Free demonstration flights will be given at your convenience. Contact any Dickinson Aero Club Officer for information.