An Unusual Gift

MADISON, OH–Forty-six years ago, Gretchen Reed was picking someone up from a small airport in Painesville when she first saw Charles Reed, a diehard pilot she knew through family friends. She was 21 and “he was just the ultimate cool,” she says.

The Old and the Bold

KENT — Some time after the first solo and before becoming licensed, every pilot who has learned how to fly since the 1920s has been warned, “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots—but there are no old bold pilots.” How then, does one explain Richard Schwabe?

Where Paper Meets Airplanes

RAVENNA — It’s a bright Thursday afternoon at Portage County Regional Airport, a few weeks into April. Some pilots are taking advantage of the clear weather. Others are dusting out the downtime clutter in their hangars or simply displaying their planes in the spring sun.

All in the (Skypark) Family

WADSWORTH — Why are aspiring pilots from Belgium, France and Japan traveling to a small country airfield in Ohio? Dan Weltzien knows—he invited them. He also manages one of the most affordable flight training operations in the world from his apartment above Skypark Airport’s narrow airstrip. But don’t ask him about the Egyptian mummy case.

Flying Right

TIFFIN — Brad Newman married Dwight Knepper’s daughter, and he figured he would help the Knepper’s out with odd jobs around the airport. Now Brad runs it, and Dwight gets to supervise. Flight training, a charter service, top-notch maintenance and propeller shops have helped transform the small airport and attract a steady flow of business into Seneca County.

Sharp Sticks and Mechanical Men

TIFFIN, Oh. – It takes skill, dedication, unyelding resourcefulness and a sense of humor to keep general aviation’s 50-year old fleet of airplanes flying safely year after year. Meet three sharp sticks on a team of amazing mechanical men, Tom Schulze, Frank Sabo and Tom McGuire of Tiffinaire at Seneca County Airport.

He Marries and Buries Them

ALLIANCE, Oh. – What do you get when you cross an aerobatic pilot, airport owner, aviation historian, and flying legend with an auctioneer and a minister? Forrest Barber. Barber, along with his wife Patricia, are the king and queen of Barber Airport in Alliance, Ohio. Faced with the rising costs of airport ownership, they plant soybeans and corn to stave off commercial zoning and wonder how much longer the airport will last. Local pilots are hoping forever.

Hubble Repairman’s Daugher | Photoessay

This photoessay accompanies the feature story, “Hubble Repairman’s Daughter.

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