Sentimental Journey Fly-In Announces Flight Training Scholarship in Honor of Leah Jones | News, Sports, Jobs


LOCK HAVEN – In March 2017, Sentimental Journey, the annual fly-in celebrating the legacy of Piper Aircraft Corporation in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, with Sentimental Journey member and fly-in participant Amy Gesch, created a scholarship for helping those with a desire to learn to fly, in honor of Leah Jones, former Piper manufacturing employee, ferry pilot and longtime participant.

Sentimental Journey has announced that this will be the fifth year the scholarship will be awarded. The scholarship, in the amount of $1,000, is open to high school students who are entering the field of aviation after graduation, as well as any high school student aged 15 or older who wishes learn to fly an airplane.

To be eligible, they must either reside in Pennsylvania or be a member/child or grandchild of a Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven member and reside in the United States.

“Celebrating and preserving Piper’s history at Lock Haven is the purpose behind the fly-in,” commented Cal Arter, president of Sentimental Journey. “But part of history is that it keeps being made – history is being written every day. Even though Piper no longer has a facility in Lock Haven, we have a rich history and we think it’s only right to make sure that tomorrow’s story is as rich as today’s. There is no better way to achieve this than to invest in the drivers and mechanics of tomorrow.

Ed Watson, Vice President of Sentimental Journey, added: “Leah Jones has been one of our favorite visitors for years. She lights up like a light bulb when she sees youngsters fly-in and when she sees her beloved cubs coming home. She is an inspiration to all of us, and we feel it is only fitting to establish this scholarship in her honor.

Jones, who went by the name Mae Coady (her middle name and maiden name), worked at Piper Aircraft at Lock Haven from 1946 to 1951. While there, she worked in final assembly and transported dozens of planes. She and a group of other Piper ferry pilots, including Bill Sparks, whose book she brought to the fly-in for years, called each other the “Flock of turtles” – referring to the modest cruising speeds of the humble Piper Cubs produced at the time.

The first recipient of this scholarship was Tyler Rispoli of Altoona Area High School. Leah Jones surprised Tyler by personally presenting him with the award at the Sentimental Journey Awards Banquet, held on June 24, 2017.

Tyler then attended and graduated from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute with honors, and is currently a professional pilot and loves it.

The second annual scholarship was awarded to Olivia Ackley, who attended Grier School in Tyrone. Olivia hopes to become an aviation medical examiner and flight instructor. Leah also surprised Olivia by having the honor of presenting her with the award.

The third recipient, Jacob Bell, who flew solo at Piper Airport in Lock Haven, during the 2020 fly-in, was not! Last year, Owen Farr of Jersey Shore High School won the award. This year, it could be you!

Interested applicants should call 570-893-4200 or email [email protected] Applications are due no later than May 16, 2022.

Sentimental Journey is a non-profit organization. Anyone interested in donating to this scholarship, contact us at the phone number above.

About the sentimental journey

Founded in 1985, Sentimental Journey aims to celebrate the history of Piper Aircraft in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Piper moved to Lock Haven from Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1937, still as the Taylor Aircraft Company. Later that year, the company was officially renamed Piper Aircraft Corporation. The business remained under the management of the Piper family until 1969, although the family remained deeply connected to Lock Haven. Under company ownership, Piper Aircraft left Lock Haven in 1984, and the fly-in was established the following year to reunite former Piper employees and aircraft owners. Kim Garlick, executive coordinator of Sentimental Journey, says: “Although we’ve welcomed up to 700 planes in a good year, these days the fly-in attracts an average of 350 planes a year, from as far away as California, Canada and Florida, all coming to Lock Haven to live the experience”feel good“air event and to”embrace the ground on which the Cub was built.

Contact: Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven, PO Box J3, Lock Haven, PA. 17745 Email: [email protected] Phone: 570-893-4200

Unfortunately Lea “flew west” on June 14, 2019. She had documented her many experiences, stories and photos, hoping to one day write a book about her amazing experience as a pioneer ferry pilot. Her daughter, Robin, helped put the stories together, and with the help of Ed Watson, Vice President of Sentimental Journey, Leah was able to see her book published in June 2019, a week before her death. It’s a true testament to his determination and spirit to be a pilot, one of life’s greatest joys. What a pleasure it would have been to fly with the “Flock of turtles”! If you would like a copy of Leah’s book, “Flying with a Flock of Turtles”please contact us at the number above.



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