Piney Mountain Air Force Data-Letter Lives On!

In celebration of the 30 year anniversary of the first issue of the Piney Mountain Air Force Data-Letter (hereafter referred to as Data-Letter), we're providing you, our faithful readers, with on-line access to the full set of issues.

http://www.drachen.org/collections/piney-mountain-air-force-data-letter

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What is the Data-Letter and why is it worth celebrating, you ask? For some, the title of this newsletter would indicate its content to be something related to a veteran's group of the United States Air Force. For those who are familiar with the Data-Letter, there is very little militaristic about it. Well, other than the fact that it was published monthly without fail for four years straight (December 1980 through December 1984) and that it still has "veteran" readers in the kite community - people who remember the glory days. You may now consider yourself a part of this exclusive club. This sort of banter is, of course, in the spirit of Guy D. Aydlett, who wrote from his "editorial dungeon" in Charlottesville, Virginia. His wit, eclectic humor, illustrations and scientific interest to kiting are deeply infused into every page of the newsletter, and it is clear he carried along a community of like-minded local Virginians and readers across the country. Sounds like a good four years of kiting history, doesn't it? Read for yourself, tell us what you think, and let the Data-Letter live on!

DF Cat Nos. 2010-11-L-1561 through 2010-11-L-1564

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Excerpt from Vol. 1, No. 1 below explains the background of the club, the geographic location of Piney Mountain and the mission of the newsletter.

"On the Tenth of November, 1979 Piney Mountain Air Force commenced its first scheduled flight operation at a rural flightpad in Central Virginia. Three stalwarts braved that chilly day. (Other fliers had intended to participate, but foul weather and a tight petrol supply daunted some of the normally dauntless.) Since then, on most Saturdays that happen on even-numbered dates notable persons involved in kitery, aviation, and aerospace studies have stomped our soil and embellished our skies. Participants have ranged from interested neighbors to faculty and students from the University of Virginia; from Connecticut to Florida; from France, Israel, to Bali, Hong Kong, and India. (Here, we could drop names; but that may come later, as name-owners and space permit.) Piney Mountain Air Force is a round-table group; membership informal, open-ended. Presently, our flight-date facilities limit our active participants to no more than ten, invited, mature fliers: folk who are pleased to fly super-light aircraft and kites in safe and enjoyable ways; responsible individuals whose primary goal is to seek and practice technical improvements in the state of light-flight art. Our spirited letter-writing lightens and circumvents the restrictions of limited flightday accommodations.

"The name, why our name? Our name honors a distinctive topographic feature that exists about fourteen airline miles north of Mr. Jefferson's Monticello, near Charlottesville. Piney Mountain is a small mountain whose eastern flank is crossed by U. S. Route 29; its precincts abound in black vultures, turkey vultures, fickle air currents, curious happenings, near-palpable magic, and a vibrant sense of history. Kites and other aircraft that consistently fly well in the Piney Mountain environs are obliged to be competently handled masterworks. Some interesting kite legends -not all lies- await the telling; Piney Mountain shall be heard from.

"Our backlog of tips, treasures, and lore grows; PMAF DATA-LETTER intends to air some of it. Backlogs, too, may fly. Through this medium, we hope to transmit ideas and designs to individuals and to other publications interested in seeing aerovane research findings available in the public domain. As our own ideas and designs emerge from these pages we hope we shall stimulate other folk -the really creative ones- to share their thoughts with us for publication and for well-deserved recognition. Many of us already have taken the expensive, frustrative, unremunerative letters-patent path in hopes of documenting our creations; most of us would be happy to avoid the dismal patent procedure if we could see our talents identified and honored in print-even in a modest vehicle.

"If anyone within our modest coterie of readers desires to comment on this philosophy, please let us hear from you. We want the DATA-LETTER to be your own philosophical forum and clearinghouse."