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Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum Kicks Off Season

The pilot with the replica plane.
The pilot with the replica plane. Photo Credit: Contributed

RHINEBECK, N.Y. -- The Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum’s “Spirit of the Aerodrome Gala” celebrated the 89th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic crossing and the public debut flight of the Aerodrome’s brand-new reproduction Spirit of St. Louis aircraft.

The Aerodrome’s Spirit is an exact copy of the aircraft Lindbergh used to make the historic New York to Paris, non-stop solo flight in 1927, and is considered by many to be the most historically significant aircraft ever built. On May 21, the Aerodrome’s Spirit successfully flew to the delight of a crowd of 600 spectators at the Rhinebeck Aerodrome on the anniversary date of Lindbergh’s landing in Paris.

Later that evening, a 1920’s themed gala was attended by just under 150 participants, many donning period attire. The event took place in one of the Aerodrome’s hangars, which was prepared for the evening with special lighting, using the Spirit aircraft as the centerpiece. Two of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s grandchildren, Kristina and Lars Lindbergh, were on hand to celebrate and accept an award for their aunt, Reeve Lindbergh, who was unable to attend.

The flight was preceded by a day of open demonstration flying of museum aircraft, museum tours, and special guest speakers, including Dr. Peter Jakab, chief curator of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Jakab gave two talks during the daytime activities focusing on the importance of the Spirit of St. Louis and Charles Lindbergh’s contribution to the advancement of aviation.

The original aircraft is on exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Ken Cassens, builder of the Aerodrome’s Spirit, visited Washington several times over the past twenty years to research the original with the helpful cooperation of Dr. Jakab and Smithsonian staff members to make the Aerodrome’s copy as authentic as possible. At 5 p.m. a 1927 procession of antique vehicles and people dressed in period attire escorted the Spirit down the runway to transport spectators back in time.

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