Aviation Club Mixes Flying And Partying
Soon after the football varsity meets Yale at Soldiers Field on November 22, another College group will take to the air to face a Yale team. Members of the Harvard Flying Club will be risking their necks in the Association of Northeastern College Flying Clubs' fall meet at Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
For 42 years, since the Harvard Aeronautical Society incorporated in 1910, undergraduates have been spending weekends flying over New England.
First Flying Club
The Harvard Flying Club, as the organization now calls itself, was the first collegiate flying group in the world. Most of the original members were wealthy students, and they purchased planes and a private landing field for forty thousand dollars.
During the 1920's and 30's the HFC dominated intercollegiate aviation, taking several national air meets. In 1937 the club won the Loring Intercollegiate Flying Trophy, presented to the best intercollegiate flying club in the country.
Now, the Flying Club's season centers around two big meets. One is the Great Barrington contest; the other is the Invatational Inter-collegiate Flying Meet held at Falmouth, Massachusetts each spring. This is where the HFC plays host to pilots from Brown, Siena, Williams, Yale, Dartmouth, R.P.I., and the University of Rhode Island. The club had to be satisfied with a first place in the cross-country competition last year as Williams took the team trophy.
A feature of the meet week-ends is the parties that go with them. Each student aviator is invited to bring a date. At Falmouth, the HFC provides housing for pilots and their dates at the Falmouth Playhouse. According to HFC president, Richard Ocheltree '53, there are always many "airport Annies" who will do almost anything for an airplane ride.
Besides its flying meets, the HFC, with the help of the AROTC, teaches interested students how to fly. Many graduates have gone straight from colleges into either military or civil aviation.
One advantage of joining the HFC is the 150 dollar saving on a private pilot's license given members at the Bedford Airport. John Griffen, former HFC member and president of East Coast Aviation Corporation has lowered the rates and provided 12 light planes for club use. There is also a Link Trainer for instrument work.