We will start to collect contributions from club members reflecting the clubs history. Happy reading!
Gunning Bedford Revisited
– Bill Jordan
Gunning Bedford is the name of a middle school located outside of Delaware City along the C&D canal. It used to be the flying site for SKSS.
To the people that have become SKSS members since we moved to Big Pond Field, the term ‘Gunning Bedford’ is probably not significant. To the ‘old-timers’, it will conjure up memories of flying with hi-starts, wimpy winches (compared to what we have now), no retrievers, losing planes in the cornfield, or on the school roof, or in a tree, or in the brambles at the north end. ( I’ve done all of the above.) A 100 inch sailpane was state-of-the-art, and fiberglass fuses and carbon fiber were still exotic stuff. Most of us were still flying 2M Gentle Ladies, Wanderers, Risers, etc. We had winches, but our means of transporting them with their attendant batteries was with my grandson’s little red wagon. When the wind was anywhere from the south, southeast or southwest, it was a long and laborious haul from where we parked our cars out to the north end of the field. There was no golf cart, so setting up the winch meant the long walk from the launch area down to the opposite end of the field to set up the turnaround, and then walking back. There was no retriever until the last couple of years, so it meant a long walk from the launch area to retrieve the ‘chute after a launch, and the walk back. We got a lot of healthy exercise in those days.
Jim Faassen visited Gunning Bedford a while back, and reported that the flying site was occupied by several dirt mounds, and no longer available. Fortunately, that apparently was a temporary situation associated with the construction of another school on what used to be the cornfield on the east side of the field. I revisited the site just recently, and to my surprise, the flying field as we knew it is still intact. There have been some changes in the parking areas, and the former cornfield is now a huge elementary school. But the north-south flying field is still open.
It’s not likely we’ll ever go back to Bedford, since it’s doubtful we would be able to secure permission to use the premises with two schools there. But it was a trip down memory lane to see the place where I started flying. Ah yes, them were the days….