The Curtiss pusher makes a striking addition to the Greater Rochester International Airport; it is now one of three early era planes suspended from the ceiling in the airport.

Vet Thomas stands beneath his aircraft construction which is suspended from the ceiling of the observation area at the Greater Rochester International Airport.

A mannequin portraying Blanche Stewart Scott sits in the pilot's seat. Photographs by Walter Horylev.

Model plane unveiled at Greater Rochester International Airport

The Geriatric Pilots Association sponsored the building of a model of the 1911 D-3 Glenn Curtiss Pusher airplane which was displayed to the public on March 15, at the Greater Rochester International Airport. The organization contributed about $12,000 to support the efforts of Parma resident Vet Thomas to construct the model. Vet was helped in the construction phase, which took about four years, by his father Rollin Thomas, Jim Birch, Art Theime and Stan Teachman (deceased).

Vet gave the countdown "10, 9, 8... 1" whereupon about 15 people dispersed around the area cut the cords that held the plastic shroud in place, revealing a beautifully constructed airplane suspended about 10 feet off the floor in the observation area. There were gasps from the crowd at the magnificent sight. Trafford Dougherty, Director of the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY commented on the history of the Curtiss pusher airplane at the ceremony, stating "I am absolutely overwhelmed with the beauty of this reproduction."

A mannequin portraying Blanche Stewart Scott sits in the pilot's seat. Marsha Gitelman, a past-president of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the "99's," spoke at the ceremony, relating a biography of Blanche. Blanche Stewart Scott was born in Greece, NY in 1884 and was the first female airplane pilot in the USA. She made her inaugural flight in 1910 and received personal instruction on how to fly from Glenn Curtiss, a famous airplane pioneer who lived in Hammondsport, NY. Blanche is shown in a costume sewed by members of the "99's," the International Organization of Women Pilots. Blanche has on her "lucky" red sweater, which she always wore for good luck while flying. Blanche was not wearing it when she crashed in Wisconsin in 1913. She survived and retired as a pilot. The International Organization of Women Pilots received the nickname of the "99's" when the organization formed in 1929 and 99 female pilots showed up for the initial meeting. Amelia Earhart was its first president. The Greece Historical Society maintains an extensive collection of historical artifacts, books and data about Blanche Scott in their library at 595 Long Pond Road, next to the Greece Town Hall.

March 25, 2007