A Marvelous Day Out at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

December 17, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome was the dream and vision that Cole Palen had when he first bought farmland near Rhinebeck Village, close to New York, in 1959. His love for aviation drove him to start one of the world’s finest collections of aircraft, vehicles, motorbikes and engines. As a pilot, no one understood the time and effort that went into creating some of these airplanes better than Palen.

He cleared a runway, built hangars using scrap metal, and in 1960 Cole Palen held his first air show that was described as magic in the skies. And as word got out of his breathtaking aerial capabilities, his audience and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome started to grow.

Amongst the top attractions at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome are the airplane rides. It is an extremely unique opportunity for visitors to be passengers in a 1929 New Standard Open-Cockpit Biplane. Spectacular air shows are still hosted by the aerodrome, at various times throughout the year. A gift shop at this spellbinding aviation museum has many fascinating souvenirs to take home and the restaurant is the perfect place to rest your feet and recharge before resuming your journey through time.

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has a magnificent collection of airplanes and historical aircraft on display. Visitors can look forward to seeing an 1917 Aeromarine 39B, 1930 Aeromarine Klemm, 1936 Aeronca C-3, 1917 Albastros D.Va, an American Eagle that was constructed in 1929, a 1909 Bleriot XI, a 1896 Chanute Glider, 1911 Curtiss “D” Pusher, 1932 DeHavilland “Puss Moth”, 1934 DeHavilland “Tiger Moth”, 1918 Fokker D.VII, 1910 Hanriot, a 1915 Nieuport 11, 1929 Spartan C-3, a 1927 Waco 10 and a 1903 Wright Flyer, to name only a few. Also on display are cars, tanks and motorcycles that are extremely rare, such as a 1922 American La France Fire Truck, a 1911 Baker Electric, 1908 Brush Runabout, 1979 Columbia Ambulance, 1913 Excelsior Motorbike, 1917 Indian Motorcycle, 1915 Maxwell Armored Car, 1936 Morgan, 1916 Packard Moving Van, 1918 Renault Light Tank and the list continues. Visitors will also be able to take a look at the ingenious engines that power these amazing machines.

On 8 December 1993, Cole Palen passed away at the age of sixty-seven. As the founder and curator of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome for many years, he has left a lasting legacy – a passion for flying and a visual tour of aviation history. The care and dedication that was given to this museum will be preserved for future generations to enjoy and marvel at.

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