2013 Hall of Honor Inductees – George & Tyke Klitch

In our 2013 Convention Wrap-up post, we had a short mention that George & Tyke Klitch were induced into our SWPC Hall of Honor. Here is a full article about the 2013 Hall of Honor inductees. This article, Two long-serving members selected for SWPC Honor Roll, was published in the September-October 2013 issue of the Short Wing Piper News and appears on pages 17-19.

For a full listing of Hall of Honor recipients, please visit our Honor Roll page.

Two long-serving members selected for SWPC Honor Roll

The club awarded a framed certificate to George and Florence (better known as Tyke) Klitch, Valrico, Fla., in honor of their inclusion in the SWPC Hall of Honor. President Peter Lubig presented the certificate to George and Tyke at the banquet Thursday evening.

Those who fly in and camp at Sun ‘n Fun probably meet George – or at least one of his crew –  since he is in charge of the aircraft camping area. And for many of our members, Tyke – or one of her crew – is their introduction to the Short Wing Piper Club, since she faithfully mans the club’s booth in the type club tent, handing out Short Wing Piper News magazines and brochures, answering questions about the club, and sometimes signing up new members or taking renewals.

In addition, George has been the long-time president of the Florida Chapter.

President Peter Lubig presents SWPC Honor Roll plague to George & Tyke Klitsch, 2013 recipients of the award.
President Peter Lubig presents SWPC Honor Roll plague to George & Tyke Klitsch, 2013 recipients of the award.

The nomination for the honor came from a current Honor Roll member and another long-serving member of the Florida Chapter and the Sun ‘n Fun crew, Iris Morris. Her nomination reads:
I would like to nominate George and Florence (Tyke) Klitsch to the Honor Roll.

In the early ‘80’s, George got his license and their first plane, a Colt, which George out-fitted for IFR flight. It was one of the first small IFR planes in the area. They flew it between New Jersey and the Florida Keys. The next was a Triple-tail Bellanca that he rebuilt from a basket case; next was a Bellanca Viking, which Tyke dearly loved, and then a Mooney and finally back to the “real” planes. a 1959 Tri-Pacer, which they still have.

About this time, they became involved with Sun ‘n Fun and joined the SWPC. Billy and Adair Henderson and Iris Morris, all Tri-Pacer owners and SWPC members, asked George to volunteer in Aircraft Camping, where Adair was chairman and Iris co-chair- man. By this time, there were several SWPC members volunteering with them.

The following year, George was asked to take over the duties of Chairman, which he has done ever since and has just ‘signed on’ for another year.

With most of our volunteers being Club members, when A/C Camping got a mobile home converted to a working building, Sun ‘n Fun named it “The Short Wing Piper Building.”

Back in the “Early Days,” Sun ‘n Fun had a small tent for Type Clubs, and the Florida Chapter asked to set up a booth. This is when Florence (Tyke) found “Her Place.” She sets it up, finds and schedules volunteers and has made it a place for members and others to meet, get information, pay their dues, post buy and sell items, etc. National members come here to meet up with friends, pay their dues, or sit and rest their tired feet.

Not long after George started as Chairman at S’nF, he was elected President of the Florida Chapter and has been re-elected over and over. He has helped to give this Chapter the honor of being the first Chapter to receive the “Outstanding Chapter of the Year” award in 2010 at the Middletown, Ohio, Convention.

We feel that George and Florence deserve to be honored with this award.

Iris Morris
SWPC #64
News Editor/Treasurer Florida Chapter

The board members agreed and asked that a certificate be printed to be presented at the convention. The certificate reads:

In recognition of their outstanding contribution to the Short Wing Piper Club and its goal to maintain and preserve the Piper Vagabonds, Clippers, Pacers, Colts and Tri-Pacers, George and Tyke have been selected to have their names included on the Short Wing Piper Club Honor Roll!

They are recognized for their service to their Florida Chapter and to the Short Wing Piper Club and aviation in general for their work each year at Sun ‘n Fun. In addition to leading the Florida Chapter George has led the aircraft camping group for many years and Tyke has manned the SWPC booth in the Type Club Tent for just as many years. Their service to their chapter and their club and its members has been invaluable and they are to be commended for their work for aviation in general.

They join the Honor Roll alongside previously recognized members Robert A. Fuller, Stephen W. Marsh, Edwin F. Wach, Kurt Schneider, Larry D. Smith, Lonnie McLaughlin, George Fruehauf, Iris Morris, Frank Rush, Charles H. “Chuck” Lewis, Bob and Eleanor Mills, Clyde Grant, Kent O’Kelly, John Wood, Ralph Gutowski, Tom Anderson, Cliff Van Vleet, John Beck, Doug Stewart, Art Weisberger, and Garry Butler.

Awarded at the 2013 SWPC
Convention, Sarasota Springs, N.Y.

George and Tyke’s names will be added to the SWPC Honor Roll plaque on display in the club’s area at the Piper Museum in Lock Haven. George said he knows just where to hang their certificate in the Short Wing Piper Building at Sun ‘n Fun.

SWPC History Book Back in Print

I was searching through our SWPC Forums yesterday and noticed a post titled History Book and written by SWPC member, Daniel Miller. In case you aren’t aware, the SWPC complied a history of the Club and published a book, Short Wing Piper Club Commemorative History.  The book was published by Turner Publishing Company in 2006 and has been out of print for some time. Good news! According to the post I found on the Forums, we now know that the book is back in print!

Here is the post I found in our SWPC Forums, dated August 12, 2013:

“Under the website tab “About Us” – “History” – “Early History” there was mention of a book by Eleanor Mills called Short Wing Piper Club Commemorative History. I looked it up and ordered it and today it arrived. I was expecting a pamphlet sized booklet, but instead it is a full sized book 12″ X 9″ with 136 pages. It is chock full of Short Wing stuff including the entire detailed history of the origins of the club as well as a synopsis of each convention up to 2004. It has lots of pictures of member’s planes with detailed information about equipment. How did I not know about this book? I’ve been with the club since 1981 and I don’t ever remember thisbook being published. I really enjoyed reading about the members and traveling back in memory lane. I remember meeting many of them. Many of which are no longer with us. Thank you Eleanor for keeping all this history and putting it on paper as a keepsake. I’m going to keep reading this for quite a while. It is now 8 or 9 years since the book was compiled. There has been a lot of happenings since then. It is about time for a sequel.”

Here’s the description of the book as listed on the Turner Publishing Company website:

This collector’s item publication will trace the history of the Short Wing Piper Club from its humble beginnings at Van Sant Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to its current standing of being comprised of over 3,200 aviation enthusiasts who own, fly, or simply admire five of Mr. Piper’s best aircraft, the PA 15/17-Vagabond, PA 16-Clipper, PA 20-Pacer, PA 22-Tri-Pacer, and PA 22-108 Colt PA-22/20, built between 1948 and 1964. The 41 different chapters the Short Wing Piper Club represents will also be featured prominently in this one-of-a-kind book. 136 pages, 9″ x 12″ – Hardbound

Thanks, Daniel, for sharing your find about the SWPC Commemorative History Book with us!

Interested in ordering a copy of the Short Wing Piper Club Commemorative History for yourself? The books are available through Turner Publishing Company. Click HERE or on the picture below for more information or to order your copy.


SWPC History Book

Event Spotlight – Pylon Airport 50 Year Reunion

The Short Wing Piper Club website has our Events Calendar so the Club, chapters and other aviation groups can post events that might be of interest to SWPC members.

I plan to do an Event Spotlight from time to time to showcase aviation events. There’s an event coming up on Saturday in Texas that looks especially fun, the Pylon Airport 50 Year Reunion. The organizers of the reunion are looking for information about the people who were involved in this now closed airport. Even if you can’t attend the reunion, give this Event Spotlight a read. Maybe you’ll have some information or pictures somewhere that will help out the Pylon Airport gang!   ~Myrna/Website Content Manager

Here’s some information from one of the Pylon Airport Reunion organizers, Joel Russell, with some information about Pylon Airport and their reunion event.

My Dad, Tom Russell (solo’d in ’49) and his friend Sid Fisher (solo’d in ’52) met in the mid 50’s and by the late 50’s were looking to start an airport. Land was purchased in Arlington, TX., hangers built and the small house that Dad had constructed for he and Mom was moved in to become the office building. The first plane landed there in May 1960. At the beginning there were at least 6 Luscombs and an Ercoupe. Soon after followed all kinds of “short wings”, 120/140’s, Bellanca, Fairchilds and more.  I was born in 1959,  and Pylon was a great place to grow up. Mom says at the age of 3 I’d walk the line of hangers knowing what each plane was and who owned it. Never one to know a stranger I enjoyed rides “around the patch” from any and everyone.

Pylon Airport
Pylon Airport

Unfortunately on December 20th 1965, Dad crashed his clip wing Cub while doing a slow roll down the runway and was killed. Sid carried on with the airport until the property was needed and purchased by the Arlington ISD in 1975. Today there is nothing left except an Mulberry tree my Mother planted that stood in front of the office.

I have been working on this “reunion” now for about 10 months and have placed flyers at all the surrounding airports, several on line with other sites including what has been a real gold mine, “Little Known and Abandoned Airfields” web site.

Pylon Airport - Joe & Old Blue
Pylon Airport – Joe & Old Blue

The meeting will be held June 22nd 2013 at the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport Terminal Building, Grand Prairie, TX. from 12:00-5:00. We are asking that anyone who might have photos to send them to this email so they can be included in a Power Point display, and to bring any mementos from Pylon. We hope to have several people fly in including one of the original Luscombs that belonged to one of the earliest Pylon members.

Click HERE to go to the Pylon Airport 50 Year Reunion listing on our Events Calendar or click on the image below to view full size.

Pylon Logo-Model


In Memory of Lew Porter

It is with great sadness that the SWPC Board announces the passing of one of our Short Wing Family members, Lew Porter.

For those of you who may not have known Lew and his involvement with the SWPC, Lew served as the SWPC Chapter Coordinator from 2002 until just recently when his illness, mesothelioma (a type of cancer) forced him to step down from that position. Lew and his wife, Lily, have been members of the club since 1989 and members of the Mid-Atlantic chapter. Both Lew and Lily attended almost all of the annual SWPC Conventions as well.

Here is an excerpt of a message that Lily sent to our Membership Chair and SWP News Editor, Eleanor Mills:

Dear Eleanor and all friends at the Short Wing Piper Club,

So sorry to tell you that Lewis passed away on Sat. 18th of May at 9:15 p.m. after being surrounded by the family and was very alert and saying prayers and was in good spirits.  … Lewis will be greatly missed by ME, the family and all who knew him!!

Lots of love to one and all, Lily

You can read Lew Porter’s obituary if you click HERE

Our current Chapter Coordinator, Adolph Svec, has this memory to share of Lew:

I will miss waiting for him to board the bus at this year’s convention. Khaki shorts, an SWPC convention shirt de jour, white socks standing tall, sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat and an ice cream cone is the image that comes to mind.  And always a smile, steeped in kind words……a gentleman indeed.  Godspeed, Lew.


Who are the Champions?

Short Wings Over Saratoga – SWPC Convention 2013

July 1st through 4th

Did you read Return of the Champions!, an article about the 2013 SWPC Convention? Click HERE to read that story.

Who are the Champions was written by SWP News Editor, Eleanor Mills. The piece was published in the Jan-Feb 2013 issue of the Short Wing Piper News, pages 13-14.

(Editor’s Note: Since the 2013 convention will feature returning champions, I did a bit of research to find out just which Short Wings have been named grand champions of the conventions. While some of them have changed hands, at least two of them went to current members. Some of the owners of the champions have let their membership lapse since their awards were given, but a lot of them are still in the club. Here’s your list:)

The first grand champion named at a convention was evidently N2519P, a Pacer owned by Richard Zukowitz, in 1986. Current owner is Dean Dayton

Others are as follows:

1987 N2216A, a PA-22 owned by Ken Kellogg

1988, N4597Z, a Colt owned by Wayne Richert

1989 and 1990, N2381P, a PA-22 owned by Noel Gouldsmith (in 1989 it won Best Restored, the top prize)

1991, N5796H, a PA-16 Clipper owned by Mitch Freitag (destroyed in fatal crash)

1992, N3301Z, a PA-22/20 owned by Jim and Jerry Brown

1993, N4186H, a PA-15 Vagabond owned by Mark Kaufman

1994, N4307H, a PA-15 Vagabond owned by Paul and Joan Goad

1995, N3373A, a PA-22/20 owned by Frank Sperandeo, which was rebuilt again and won again in 2002

1996, N4742Z, a Colt owned by Wicks Aircraft

1997, N6929D, a PA-22 owned by Wayne Haub. Current owner is Dave Sterling

1998, N2848P, a PA-22 owned by Kenny Brown and his partner at the time, Joe Fleeman

1999, N5351Z, a Colt owned by Scott Brunner

2000, N9803D, a PA-22 owned by Bill Miles

2001, N6937K, a PA-20 owned by John & Belinda Hudec

2002, Miss Pearl again

2003, N3915P, a PA-22/20 owned by Ralph & Sherri Smith

2004, N5834H, a PA-16 Clipper, Red Lady, owned by Gilbert & Barbara Pierce

2005, N5191Z, a Colt owned by Drew & Jim Jenkins

2006, N2641A, a PA-22 owned by Stanley Chrobak, restored by Doug and Dan Stewart, and flown by Frans Verlaeckt

2007, N7429K, a PA-20 owned by Ed and Elise Holt

2008, N4612H, a Vagabond owned by Jim and Beth Hudgin

2009, N33144A, a PA-22 owned by Rick and Carroll Michalek

2010, NC4643H, a Vagabond owned by Don Seifert

2011, N8113D, a PA-22/20 owned by Dave Hedditch

2012, N5393H, a PA-16 Clipper owned by Roni MacPherson

New Convention Patches page

Part of the fun of a new SWPC website is that we get to keep updating the site with new information of interest to Short Wing Piper owners and aficionados.

We have a great History section which includes archives and information on past conventions. Added to the SWPC Archives and Past Convention information just today is a photo gallery of past SWPC Convention patches.

Thanks to Ralph Gutowski of the Ohio Buckeye SWPC Chapter for sharing his collection of patches with us.

And thanks to Chapter Coordinator, Adolph Svec, for coming up with the idea to post the patches all in one place on our SWPC Website.

Click HERE to visit the Convention Patches Page

Here’s a peek at what you will see on the Convention Patches page:

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