Plattekill – Stepping into the clubhouse of the Hudson Valley Hornets on a Saturday morning and you can see BOCES Aviation students busy rebuilding an early model 7AC Aeronca Champ. An aircraft that was damaged in March 2000 when the engine unexpectedly quit and a landing was made in a hay field. While the pilot and passenger were unhurt the plane sustained considerable damage.
Wallkill resident and owner of the aircraft, Phil VanHouten, came up with the idea of teaming up with BOCES Aviation students to rebuild the aircraft. VanHouten is a member of the Hudson Valley Hornets, a 41 year old club that was formed to promote activities in connection with aviation including producing light aircraft, amateur-built experimental aircraft, ultra light and light sport aircraft. The club has its own airfield, Old Orchard Airpark, a grass strip in Plattekill, NY.
The BOCES Aviation program prepares students to qualify for their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilots license. While rebuilding a classic airplane would be outside the students normal curriculum, course instructor April Albanese and Principal of the Career & Technical Center, Genna Suraci felt that exposure to rebuilding and maintaining an aircraft would give them a more complete aviation education. The students, under the guidance of VanHouten, have learned basic riveting and sheet metal repair, sandblasting and painting, and aircraft covering. VanHouten has been assisted by numerous Hudson Valley Hornet volunteers, many of which have built their own aircraft and have years of valuable experience.
The BOCES Aviation students will showcase their new skills to family and other BOCES Administers at an OPEN HOUSE to be held Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 11:30am at the Hudson Valley Hornets clubhouse located at 156 Freetown Road Plattekill, NY. While the event is closed to the public, news organizations are welcome.