Bellefonte, PA

This is the town of Bellefonte, PA, looking NE. The image was taken from 3000’ MSL by a local pilot. Bellefonte is the Centre County seat.

Bellefonte was the initial stop on the first scheduled west-bound air mail flight made by Pilot Leon D. Smith on December 18, 1918. The site for the field was chosen by pioneer aviator Max Miller and was in regular use for air mail until 1925. The field was located at the center right of the image. It became a major refueling stop for mail traveling between New York and Chicago. This leg of the flight was called “hell stretch” because of the fog shrouded ridges of the Allegheny Mountains. Six pilots would lose their lives. One pilot used a half empty whiskey bottle strapped to his dash to tell when his wings where level!

One thought on “Bellefonte, PA

  1. Marcia Mizruchi April 10, 2021 / 2:08 PM

    Amazing photo and story! Very clever to use the half empty whiskey bottle to tell when the wings were level. That certainly is ingenuity.

    Like

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