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Van Sant Airport

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NEWS
August 25, 1992 | By Lacy McCrary, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
The fight over noisy airplanes at picturesque Van Sant Airport in Upper Bucks County has escalated into an air and ground war. Airport operator William Smela, president of Country Aviation Inc., has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia seeking to have Tinicum Township's zoning ordinance, which includes noise limits, declared void. Smela, 53, argues that the federal government regulates all airport activities, including noise levels, pre-empting the township. If the township's order stands, it would mean a virtual shutdown of the airport and of Freedom's Wings, the nation's only glider club that teaches paraplegics to fly sailplanes.
NEWS
September 11, 2003 | By Walter F. Naedele INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For the regular Tuesday pilots' lunch, Dennis Doyle flew into Van Sant Airport in eye-opening style. Nobody called it a lawn mower with wings. Nobody called it a flying skeleton. The handful of retired gents had seen it, many times. But it was only as the aircraft approached the grass field that it became apparent that Doyle was sitting in the open, with no cockpit, no fuselage, driving something that looked fresh out of the bicycle shop of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Not the sort to be allowed into flight patterns at Philadelphia International Airport.
NEWS
August 14, 2003 | By Dave Turner INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A total of 451.6 acres, including an Erwinna airport with grass runways, will be preserved as open space under various deals totaling $3.8 million that the Bucks County Board of Commissioners approved yesterday. Van Sant Airport in Tinicum Township will be bought from the Van Sant family for $2.9 million for the county Parks and Recreation Department. William M. Mitchell, executive director of the department, said the 198.5-acre airport was one of the top 10 "sod airports" in the country and would continue to operate as an airport.
NEWS
May 4, 2013
A glider aircraft crashed Saturday morning at the Van Sant airport in Erwinna, Bucks County, according to police. Police said that they received a call at 11:43 a.m. reporting the incident. One person was injured, police said, but they did not provide details about the individual or the extent of the injuries. Gliders are motorless aircraft. They are often carried into flight by a plane, then glide to the ground. Police did not provide details on the type of glider that crashed.
NEWS
October 18, 2012 | By Frank Kummer, Breaking News Desk
One person was reportedly killed in the explosion and fiery crash of a helicopter this morning in Bucks County and federal authorities are now investigating the incident. The helicopter went down in a wooded area atop a hill near the Delaware River in the Erwinna section of Tinicum Township, a Bucks County dispatcher said. The area, just off River Road, is directly across from Frenchtown, N.J. The pilot may have been the sole occupant of the aircraft. Multiple media accounts identify the pilot as Doug Brigham, a retired corporal with the Pennsylvania State Police.
NEWS
October 18, 2012 | By Frank Kummer and Bonnie L. Cook, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
The pilot killed this morning in a helicopter crash in Bucks County was great-grandson of former President Herbert Hoover, according to his mother's obituary. Douglas Brigham, a retired State Police corporal from Erwinna, died early this morning when a private helicopter he was operating exploded and crashed in a wooded area atop a hill near the Delaware River in the Erwinna section of Tinicum Township, authorities said. The area, just off River Road, is across from Frenchtown, N.J. The crash is under investigation by federal aviation authorities.
NEWS
April 19, 1989 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Bill Gommel was a child in Doylestown in the early 1950s, he would pedal his bike out to the west edge of the borough to watch an airplane, flying low and slow. "The plane came over every Tuesday about 4 o'clock," he recalls. "I would pedal my bicycle out there and wave to him. " It was a plane on pipeline patrol. The pilot was flying over the path of underground pipes through which oil products are pumped from state to state, city to city. The pilot was searching for surface dangers to the pipes so that he could report them to the pumpers, far away.
NEWS
April 30, 1989 | By Charlotte Kidd, Special to The Inquirer
Thumbs up! The yellow bird, a 2-33A Schweizer trimmed in red, rolled gently over the grassy knoll, quickly taking to the sky. Just above 3,000 feet, instructor Adam Silverstein suggested releasing the glider from the tow plane. Pull the red knob, he said. Click. Silent but for the wind lapping at the canopy, the glider slowly banked right - easing through the Sunday afternoon air as though suspended in time and space. Below was the glider's home - Van Sant Airport in Erwinna, a small country airfield that draws glider pilots from all over the East Coast.
NEWS
July 28, 1990 | By Lacy McCrary, Inquirer Staff Writer
Carol Hickey was an all-around athlete growing up in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. She played basketball and field hockey, and was a gymnast. Then, on Sept. 20, 1982, a truck struck her while she was riding her bicycle, breaking her spine. She was paralyzed from the waist down. For Hickey, now 24, that proved to be only an interruption to her active life, not an end. After four years in Ireland's National Rehabilitation Center in Dublin, Hickey got on with her life, began racing in a wheelchair and became a member of the Irish National Wheelchair Basketball Team.
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NEWS
May 5, 2013 | By Chris Palmer, Inquirer Staff Writer
The pilot of a glider was injured Saturday during takeoff at the Van Sant Airport in Erwinna, Bucks County, police said. The 70-year-old man piloting the motorless aircraft was not identified. Police said he detached the glider from the airplane that was starting to pull it aloft. The glider then "bellyflopped" on the grass runway, and the pilot was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in Pennsburg with facial lacerations, said Bucks County Rangers chief Steve Long. Police said that they received a call at 11:43 a.m. reporting the incident.
NEWS
October 18, 2012 | By Frank Kummer, Breaking News Desk
One person was reportedly killed in the explosion and fiery crash of a helicopter this morning in Bucks County and federal authorities are now investigating the incident. The helicopter went down in a wooded area atop a hill near the Delaware River in the Erwinna section of Tinicum Township, a Bucks County dispatcher said. The area, just off River Road, is directly across from Frenchtown, N.J. The pilot may have been the sole occupant of the aircraft. Multiple media accounts identify the pilot as Doug Brigham, a retired corporal with the Pennsylvania State Police.
NEWS
October 18, 2012 | By Frank Kummer and Bonnie L. Cook, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
The pilot killed this morning in a helicopter crash in Bucks County was great-grandson of former President Herbert Hoover, according to his mother's obituary. Douglas Brigham, a retired State Police corporal from Erwinna, died early this morning when a private helicopter he was operating exploded and crashed in a wooded area atop a hill near the Delaware River in the Erwinna section of Tinicum Township, authorities said. The area, just off River Road, is across from Frenchtown, N.J. The crash is under investigation by federal aviation authorities.
NEWS
September 14, 2004 | By Pauline Pinard Bogaert INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Cathy McLaughlin hoisted herself from the wheelchair into the sailplane's cockpit using her arms. Her legs were eased into each side of the steering column by Fred Mann, who pilots gliders for Freedom's Wings International. The clear-plastic canopy was lowered, preflight check completed, and the glider hooked up to a tow plane that carried McLaughlin and Mann 3,000 feet aloft. Released over Van Sant Airport in Erwinna, Bucks County, the pair caught thermals - invisible uplifts - and for about 45 minutes traced lazy 8s and circles across the sky before coming down on the airport's grassy runway.
NEWS
June 26, 2004 | By Don Sapatkin INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For four hours after daybreak on Oct. 25, Phil McGrath perched a few feet off the ground by the woods, waiting, until a doe passed behind two trees split by 5 inches of daylight. "And boom!": three shots, to the lung, leg and heart, each probably fatal. Then he waited some more. When no one passed by for a half-hour, he lowered the ramp of the van and rolled into the underbrush, his rifle balanced under his right arm and a stick in his left. "I got hung up on a log," he recalled, but he made it the 85 yards.
NEWS
September 11, 2003 | By Walter F. Naedele INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For the regular Tuesday pilots' lunch, Dennis Doyle flew into Van Sant Airport in eye-opening style. Nobody called it a lawn mower with wings. Nobody called it a flying skeleton. The handful of retired gents had seen it, many times. But it was only as the aircraft approached the grass field that it became apparent that Doyle was sitting in the open, with no cockpit, no fuselage, driving something that looked fresh out of the bicycle shop of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Not the sort to be allowed into flight patterns at Philadelphia International Airport.
NEWS
August 14, 2003 | By Dave Turner INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A total of 451.6 acres, including an Erwinna airport with grass runways, will be preserved as open space under various deals totaling $3.8 million that the Bucks County Board of Commissioners approved yesterday. Van Sant Airport in Tinicum Township will be bought from the Van Sant family for $2.9 million for the county Parks and Recreation Department. William M. Mitchell, executive director of the department, said the 198.5-acre airport was one of the top 10 "sod airports" in the country and would continue to operate as an airport.
NEWS
August 25, 1992 | By Lacy McCrary, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
The fight over noisy airplanes at picturesque Van Sant Airport in Upper Bucks County has escalated into an air and ground war. Airport operator William Smela, president of Country Aviation Inc., has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia seeking to have Tinicum Township's zoning ordinance, which includes noise limits, declared void. Smela, 53, argues that the federal government regulates all airport activities, including noise levels, pre-empting the township. If the township's order stands, it would mean a virtual shutdown of the airport and of Freedom's Wings, the nation's only glider club that teaches paraplegics to fly sailplanes.
NEWS
May 21, 1992 | By Lacy McCrary, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The planes that tow gliders into the air are tractors of the sky. And they sound like it. Which has led, after years of skirmishing over the noise, to an all-out war over flights at one of the area's most picturesque airfields, Van Sant Airport in Tinicum Township, Bucks County. The 40-year-old airport, one of the last remaining grass airstrips on the East Coast, where you can see restored antique Waco and Stearman airplanes, has been ordered to stop violating the township's noise restrictions by Saturday or face a $500 daily fine.
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