Memories of Thiers ’99 aids student pilots

On April 29, the RPI Flying Club hosted its sixth annual Thiers Memorial Fly-in & Car Show at the Empire State Aerosciences Museum in Glenville, New York. The Fly-in & Car Show, created in memory of Lawrence Thiers ’99, collected donations for the Thiers Fund in honor of their former president who passed before graduation. This fund supports RPI Flying Club members’ private pilot licenses as well as the annual representation of RPI in NIFA SAFECON. The event did not fall short of remembering a fellow RPI Flying Club member, with an abundance of vehicles and an attendance of thousands including RPI students, RPI alumni, and members of the upstate New York community. Attracting aviation and car enthusiasts in the area, the event showcased six aircrafts, two helicopters, and more than 100 cars.

Featured aircraft included an Air National Guard C-130 Hercules, two North American T-6 Texans, a North American P-51 Mustang, and four Yakovlev Fighters. Members of the Air National Guard allowed visitors to enter the aircraft and sit in the cockpit of the C-130 Hercules. Special for transporting cargo to Antarctica throughout the year, it was equipped with skis for safe landing on ice. Adjacent to the Hercules was a space designated for smaller aircrafts, the first of which were two North American T-6 Texans, known for training pilots in the United States Army Forces. To its right were a North American P-51 Mustang and Yakovlev fighter aircrafts. These aircrafts, famous for flying during World War II, flew in from the East Coast and Montreal, Canada in formation.

In addition, the event featured helicopters and motor vehicles. An AS-350 LifeNet helicopter gave visitors the opportunity to learn about rescue procedure, and a Robinson R44 from Independent Helicopters offered helicopter rides around the venue. If these aircrafts are not enough to spike curiosity, the event showcased both the old and the new in automobiles. Ranging from Ford Model T to modern Corvette models, the field was lined with thousands of vehicles for show and competition.

RPI Flying Club President Stephen Hansen ’18 commented, “It’s a community-based event that brings together everyone who likes cars, planes, and helicopters. The Flying Club taps into [aviation] interests which may often be overlooked on college campuses.” Andrew Sit ’19, on the planning committee for the event, added, “What makes Thiers different is that the event is not just for community outreach—the money raised from Thiers helps support our unique passion of flying.”

Does the Fly-in and Car Show sound interesting? “Consider joining the flying club!” Hansen encourages. RPI Flying Club members welcome all participation and volunteering for the event. In fact, planning for the 2018 event is already underway. Sit reflected, “Overall, we had a great event this year. We hope to bring back great food, unique cars, the WWII aircraft, and the sunny weather!” For more information, visit the Thiers Memorial Fly-in & Car Show Facebook page.