Valley Behind the Scenes: Bellefonte Airport

2013-10-22 16.46.03As you flip the pages of our Fall 2013 print issue, take note of the kick-ass, bright yellow airplane featured in our fashion spread. Valley was the first to use this vintage 1939 Piper Cub plane in a photo shoot. Our models, Calli and Alyssa, were flying high with excitement as they worked their magic on the airstrip at the Bellefonte Airport.

The gentlemen at the airport were kind enough to close down the airstrip for the afternoon so we could utilize their gorgeous facilities (and so we didn’t get hit by any planes). The Bellefonte Airport, which has been owned by the Elnitski family since 1988, has around 20 to 30 airplanes on their field. Manager John Elnitski, who was present during our photo shoot, says that “it’s a whole montage of airplanes” at the airport.

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Elnitski says that owning the Piper Cub is the equivalent to owning a vintage car – there aren’t too many original Cubs left. The yellow cub that Valley featured has been in the Elnitski family for around 10 years.

The Piper Cub was used in the 1930’s to help train students and pilots for World War II. Now, the plane is used a few times a month to fly for pleasure – and of course for Valley photo shoots. The Cub was chosen for Valley because of its local roots – Piper Cubs were originally built in nearby Lock Haven.

While Valley didn’t take the opportunity to fly any of the planes, flying lessons are available at the Bellefonte Airport. Elnitski says that their airport is one of the best for flying lessons, people travel from Altoona, Bedford, Huntingdon and Lock Haven to take lessons.

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“People drive up to an hour to come take lessons because of our reputation,” Elnitski says.

There are no restrictions as to how often you can fly, and Elnitski is willing to help college students start flying.

“Its pretty laid back, you can fly as much as you can afford to,” he says. “We make sure you acquire the ability to fly; you can fly a few times a week, a few times a month or a few times a day depending on what you want to do.”

To set up a lesson, call the airport at 814-355-7407 or shoot Elnitski an email at

While you’re there, make sure to strike a pose with that awesome Piper Cub.

behind the scenes plane

Photos taken by Amanda Hunt, Orhan Yilmaz


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