WORLD WAR 1 AEROPLANES, Inc., was founded by Leo Opdycke in 1961 and incorporated as a federally-recognized 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation in 1979. We have a Board which sets policy for our organization. We are committed to the documentation, preservation and publication of material related to aviation as it was before the Second World War. Our board has adopted the following Statement of Policy: “It shall be the Policy of WORLD WAR 1 AEROPLANES, Inc., to provide active, visible support, in our publications (WW1 AERO & SKYWAYS) and through other means, to organizations, institutions, and magazines and other publications, which are engaged in aviation history as well as the conservation and reproduction of aeroplanes, to ensure their survivability and adherence to purpose, and to assist individuals engaged in such activities.” Our Founder, Leo Opdycke, Edited WW1 AERO – The Journal Of The Early Aeroplane for 46 years before leaving in September of 2007. Our Red Hook, New York, office (P.O. Box 730, Red Hook, NY 12571, telephone 845-835-8121) is capably managed by our Business and Advertising Manager, Jessie Boyle.


World War 1 Aeroplanes, Inc. Board of Trustees as of May 2015


T. Sean Tavares, San Antonio, Texas. President, Board of Trustees World War I Aeroplanes, Inc. (elected February 2009); Trustee since May, 2008; member since 1979. Former contributing columnist for Models column of WWI Aero. Earned Private Pilot Certificate in 1999. Active aeromodeler with interest in pre-1940 aviation since childhood. Memberships in several aviation and aeromodeling organizations including EAA Vintage Airplane Association , AOPA, Over the Front, Cross & Cockade International, Great War Aeroplanes Association, Brodhead Pietenpol Association, Academy of Model Aeronautics, and Flying Aces Club. Memberships in professional societies include American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. Employed in the Fluids Engineering Department of an internationally renowned independent research laboratory; holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering with specialization in Aerodynamics.


Tom Polapink, Board Secretary and Acting Treasurer World War 1 Aeroplanes, Inc.; formerly Museum Director, Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum, (1999-2003), Rhinebeck, N.Y.; formerly columnist for R/C Scale International and Scale R/C Modeler Magazines (1996-2005); author of numerous articles for Model Airplane News, Flying Models, R/C Modeler and other model magazines (1983-present); Contributing Editor WW1 Aero – Models Section (2004-2014); Organizer of annual Cole and Rita Palen Memorial Free-Flight Meets; Member: Long Island Early Fliers Club, Long Island Skyhawks, A.M.A.; twenty-five years Product & Tooling Design & Development for electrical equipment manufacturer.


Gregory Alegi, Italy, Preeminent historian of Italian aviation, formerly Curator, Museo Aeronautico Caproni a Trento, Trento, Italy; author and co-author of numerous aviation history books, including ABOVE THE WAR FRONTS: A Complete Record of the British two-seater bomber pilot and observer aces, the British two-seater Aerospace History Professor at the Italian Air Force Academy; past President of European Aviation Preservation Council.


Jim Bruton is fascinated by many of the periods of history characterized by rebirth, experimentation, expedition and discovery – with a special love for the pioneering days of early 20th Century aviation. With a friend, he is building a 1913 Fokker Spinne III and is in the final stages of construction of a Ron Sands Fokker Triplane. “It’s tricky, building reproduction aircraft, you want them to look as much the part as possible, but there is a certain grounding pragmatism to my dreams of flight.” Jim loves bringing people together – those who want to build with those who have the well-honed skills, and those who have always wondered with those who have been there and back. It is his deepest pleasure to serve this venerable organization and its long-standing mission of connecting people to the magic of early aviation.


Charles Day was born in California and raised on everything aviation. His youth was immersed in helping his father with one aircraft or another. His Dad started with a “Little Twister” and quickly moved on to a Sopwith F.1 in the colors of Canadian Ace Roy Brown. That aircraft was finished in State College, Pennsylvania, and after it was sold, Charles assisted more seriously on a second Camel, this one in the colors of Billy Barker. The second Camel was finished in New Jersey and was flown for many years at Old Rhinebeck. While at Rhinebeck, Charles acted as his father’s crew chief and counted himself blessed and privileged to share the field with other “Aerodrome kids” whose Dads shared a similar passion. Charles went on to assist in the building of several other aircraft, and pursued a Private and Commercial pilot’s license. He concluded his years at Rhinebeck, performing in the show as “Bumbling Byron McLellan” in the ”skit known as the “Checkered Derby.” During that time and since, Charles obtained a BA in Education at Rutgers University, and after four years of teaching, went back to school for a certification in programming and network engineering. His professional life has been invested primarily in the non-profit sector and finds him now as a fourteen year veteran of the Council On Foreign Relations where he works as the Chief Technology Officer. Charles has served for three years on the board of Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, five years as a Boy Scout Scoutmaster; the board of 1st Presbyterian Church of Metuchen, where he is an Elder, and now with new and old friends at WWI Aeroplanes, Inc.. Now that his children are off to college, Charles hopes to find himself more often in the cockpit of his Spacewalker II or at the controls of a classic R/C model like his Buzzard Bombshell or Powerhouse.

Jim Hare

Jim Hare grew up in the western New York town of Elba. His interest in aviation began at an early age by seeing local legendary crop duster Eugene “Crash” Hetherly working the farming fields in his converted Naval Aircraft Factory N3N. Aviation was also in his family. His grandfather flew Cubs, Champs, and Chiefs, and his father always had an avid aviation interest. After high school he went to work for Crash’s Elba Air Dusters, encouraging Crash to get the N3N flying again. It was Crash that told him if you like those old aircraft, you should look into the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. After earning his degree in Aerospace Technology at SUNY Farmingdale, he moved to the Hudson Valley to begin a long association with Cole Palen and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. For over twenty years, he served in many capacities, including museum trustee, airshow director and general manager. He started announcing the Aerodrome airshows in the 1980s, and he continues to do so, in addition to his role as  an Aerodrome historian.


Peter Truesdell Exhibits and Restoration manager at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City NY, responsible for the design, construction, and installation of new exhibits and oversight of the volunteer teams working in their restoration shops. Member of WW1 Aero for almost 20 years; former museum trustee; coaches Science Olympiad students in indoor model plane competition. Holds Commercial pilot’s license and instrument rating. Other areas of interest are sailing and boat restoration, and woodworking. With his strong interest in the history and aircraft of early aviation, Peter has been a huge fan of WW1 Aero and Skyways from the moment he saw them and is very glad to be able to help continue this very unique organization and its journals.

Previous Board Members

Sandra Opdycke – January 1983 – December 1984

Gordon Bainbridge – Pilot – Restored Aircraft for Cole Palen January 1983 – December 1984 – Died 1993

James L. Shanahan – January 1985 – December 1985

Edward L. Peck – January 1986 – December 1986

David A. Anderton – Author – April 1987 – January 1989

Roland Bliss – January 1989 – December 2000

Jack Bruce – Author – Profiles/Datafiles – January 1987 – Died 25 May 2002

Peter M. Bowers – Author – January 1987 – Died 27 April 2003

Robert Mikesh – Author – NASM Sr. Curator Aircraft Restoration April 1993 – July 2004 – Resigned due to family needs

Lou Buffardi – Author – Modeler – July 1999 – July 2004 Resigned as Model Editor for WW1 Aero, continues with Skyways

Philip Jarrett – Author – October 2002 – July 2005 – Resigned

Bruce Vander Mark – October 2002 – October 2005 – Resigned

Peter Grosz – Author – Datafiles – January 1987 – Died 29 September 2006

Hal Andrews – Author – July 1990 – Died 15 May 2007

August G. Blume – Author – October 2005 – Resigned 30 August 2007

Josh Stoff – Author, Curator, Resigned August 2007

Paul R. Hare – Author – ca. 1979 – Resigned 2 December 2007

Dan Hagedorn – Author, Curator – Resigned February 2008

Susan Benoff, PhD – Resigned March 2009

Ted Sacher – Resigned 31 July 2009

Carroll F. Gray – March 2004 – 4 November 2009- Resigned

Jonathan Fallon – March 2009 – 15 March 2010 – Resigned, now serving as editor of WW1 Aero

Michael Maniatis – Resigned 18 May 2015