model airplanes

Pilot passed out at Westchester County Airport

Update: March 19, 2013

After writing the post below about the pilot passed out in the model airplane at New York’s Westchester County Airport, I received this note from the airport administration:

Thank you for your “heads up” in discovering the pilot sitting in the Piper Cub in our departure lounge appears to be in an unconscious state. That poor soul has been at the controls since 1994.

The good news is that a Piper Cub is an easy aircraft to fly and in fact it has a reputation for almost being able to fly without a pilot.

This spring we will be installing more efficient lighting in the departure lounge and we will be sure to check on Ol’ Charlie and wake him up!

Sincerely, Airport Administration

Westchester County Airport

Original post:

I have a special place in my heart for New York’s tiny Westchester County Airport – also known as White Plains Airport – because it was the airport closest to my home town and over the years has had a bit role in many major events in my life.

The airport is served by six airlines and has one security checkpoint and one gate hold area serving all the airlines and their flights. Amenity-wise, there’s a coffee shop with terrible coffee, a bar, a full service restaurant that looks out over the airfield, an outdoor observation deck and, finally, a good cell signal and free Wi-Fi.

There are also several large model airplanes hanging in the airport, including one that hangs directly over the airport’s gate-hold area that always makes me chuckle and, sometimes (depending on what sort of family visit it has been) cry.

That’s because for years now – perhaps more than twenty – the pilot in the front seat of the model plane is clearly passed out and slumped forward over the controls.


I’m usually at the White Plains airport on a Sunday afternoon when there are no officials around who can explain why no one gets out a ladder, climbs up there and saves the pilot.

But I hope that someday they do.

“Tales of an Unknown Aviator” at Portland Int’l Airport

An exhibition of “Tales of an Unknown Aviator,” a photo series by Julian Hibbard and Demetrious Noble, is now at Portland International Airport.

The photos are of a series of model planes made to look both life-like and model-like, constructed by Chilean artist Luis Greenhill using recycled materials, including historic photographs and vintage encyclopedia sets, photographed by Hibbard and digitized by Noble.

The project documents a collection of palm-sized French, Italian, Polish, Japanese, German, Russian, English and American model planes from the World War I & II (1914 – 1945) originally made by an elderly man in Southern Chile.

“Like objects glimpsed in a dream, the model planes have been photographed and then digitally treated in away that further blurs the line between fact and fiction. Seen as a whole, the project speaks of time, nostalgia, memory, simulacra, repetition, intervention, layering, courage, loss, sacrifice and the nature of conflict,” is the way the project is described on Demetrious Noble’s website, which displays 20 of the images.

If you can, go see this special photo series at Portland International Airport in the Concourse Connector before the end of June 2013. In the meantime, see them online.

(Images by Demestrious Noble)