In 1908, five years after the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, most Americans had still never seen an airplane in flight. But on July 4th of that year, another bicycle maker, this one from Hammondsport New York, changed all that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH1EOW25CNE
‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Steuben County Historical Society
Photos Courtesy of:
Steuben County Historical Society
Library of Congress
During World War II, Lt. Col. George Haley flew combat missions with the famed Tuskegee Airmen. The actions of Lt. Col. Haley and the other Tuskegee Airmen paved the way for other African-Americans in the military and led to the ultimate desegregation of the military in 1948. EARLY LIFE
George Haley grew up in the small Upstate town of Bath, New York.
In 1943, 2nd Lt. Joseph P. Congelli, a native of Hornell, New York and a member of the “Mighty Eighth” 8th Air Force, was shot down while he returned from a mission over Osnabruck, Germany. Today, a Dutch citizen has adopted Congelli’s name at the Wall of the Missing in Margraten, Netherlands. In an effort to learn more about his adopted soldier, Peter Cootjans reached out to WSKG, and this is what we discovered. THE WALL OF THE MISSING
This past Memorial Day, as the familiar sound of taps played at cemeteries across the United States, in the Netherlands, thousands of Dutch citizens gathered to decorate the graves and memorials of nearly 10,000 U.S. service members in the Netherlands American Cemetery.
The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, which celebrates the memory of a pioneer of the land and air is located just a few miles south of Hammondsport in Steuben County. Born in Hammondsport in 1878, Glenn Curtiss became the fastest man on earth in 1907, when he reached 136 miles per hour his revolutionary motorcycle. Not content with his success on the ground, the next year Curtiss set his sights on the sky. As a member of the Aerial Experiment Association, Curtiss piloted his first plan in 1908, and spent the next few years developing better avionics technology. Curtiss later pioneered the design of seaplanes and became know as the father of Naval aviation.
From inventors of aviation technology to gliders that soar above the valleys, Steuben County is rich in aviation history. The Costa Flying Service, located at the Corning-Painted Post Airport, has been in operation for 80 years. Founded in the1930s by aviation pioneer, Joseph A. Costa, the Costa Flying Service has provided all ranges of air travel and education for the Corning area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EgKrSq4ihI
As New York’s oldest flying service, Costa continues to take visitors up into the clouds and give them a birds-eye-view of our region’s many natural wonders. Visitors can also choose to grab the controls for themselves and learn to soar with the birds.
Located at the top of Harris Hill in Elmira, 1700 feet above sea level and directly across from the Harris Hill soaring airfield, is one of only two museums in the country dedicated to motor-less flight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ8bUyi-lE4
Long regarded as the Soaring Capital of the World, Elmira started hosting national soaring contests in the 1930’s. Popularity of the sport grew and during World War II, Elmira was chosen to develop a glider program to train pilots for the war effort. Over the years it became clear that a dedicated museum was needed, and in 1969, the Soaring Society of America designated Harris Hill as the site for a National Soaring Museum. The museum now houses the world’s largest collection of motor-less aircraft and is recognized as the primary historical institution for motor less flight in the United States.
Upstate New York is rich in aviation history. Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, located in Horseheads, provides an ongoing exhibit of historic aircraft covering the history of military aviation from 1914 to the present. The collection of authentic aircraft, full-size replicas, jet engines, fully functional flight simulators and educational displays represents a wide range of technological and cultural advances in aviation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntUZ_ZRePPY
Visitors can move at their own pace and take a self-guided mobile phone tour, or they can opt for one of the personally guided tours offer by the center. Younger visitors can also participate in a variety of youth educational programs. As a regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math facility, the center provides formal and informal education for Kindergarten through 12th graders in aviation and space technology.
In 1929, 25 year-old Edwin Link would build the world’s first successful flight simulator.