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-   -   Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp? (http://www.aviationbanter.com/showthread.php?t=210020)

[email protected] February 8th 15 02:35 PM

Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
On Tuesday, September 25, 2001 at 4:07:20 PM UTC-4, Jeffrey wrote:
I am an alumnus of Sky Life Flying Camp in Northville, New York. I attended
in the summer of 1986, and had a really good time there. I was about a
month shy of my 16th birthday, so although my instructor, Jay Treat III,
told me he thought I was ready, I could not solo after my 10 hours of dual
time there.

At the time, I was instructed in N2733U. I was informed that 33U was the
Cessna 172 that had soloed the most student pilots in the world, and
arrangements were being made to have it placed on display in the National
Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. It was quite an old plane, I'm
sure at least a decade older than I am, and even had manual flaps!
(something I've never seen in another plane)

In 1996, I heard a nasty rumor about the demise of the camp, and I have not
been able to find out if it is extant or defunct. I also know nothing of
the whereabouts or condition of N2733U.

I would appreciate any information anyone can provide about Lee Barnes, Jay
Treat III, Sky Life Flying Camp, or N2733U. Email

Thank you!


"Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk's flight
on the empty sky."

Reading these stories, I was incredibly naive and fortunate to have somehow avoided serious abuse. There were several times that seemed creepy but that was a different era, and the incidents weren't severe enough to set off serious alarm bells for me. Lee had all the traits of a real-life serial predator (different from the Hollywood stereotype): charisma, intelligence, a thick layer of kindness over a very sick core. Sounds like the "secret initiation" had some variations over the years - though, like all of us, I was sworn to secrecy and have dutifully (and, again, naively) told no one. I recall a special room in the house at camp that had viewing windows. I was told to undress and blindfolded, and stood alone in the middle of the room for what seemed like hours but was probably 5-10 minutes. It was very unnerving and I remember the sweat dripping down my back but nothing else happened.. Eventually someone undid the blindfold and I was welcomed into the fold.
I grew up in Briarcliff and don't remember how I found out about the club. Joined in my HS senior year, 1973, and became quite active. Helped with a cleanup day at HPN where we cleared a lot of litter from the bank behind International. Attended ground school at Lee's house in Armonk (?). My log shows I flew in many different club 150's at HPN and camp: N6205S, N4766X, N1404Q, N6624S, N3190X, N3713J, N5341Q, N6414S. Passed my checkride with Lee 5/26/75.
After graduating from college in 1977, I headed to camp to work at camp and get my Instrument Rating. Got there and, in his cluttered office in the house, Lee asked if I'd mind being Ass't Camp Director. That turned out to be non-stop work but a wonderful experience - I was completely oblivious to what was certainly going on behind closed doors in the house and was going from about 5:30am to midnight most days. We completed a bunch of construction projects and the experience taught me many life-lessons, including the ability of teen-age boys to accomplish great things when given responsibility, trust and a bit of guidance. Borrowed the club panel truck to drive my stuff from camp and home to my first job with Pratt in West Palm at the end of the summer. Rode many times in Lee's 4-door Lincolns.
In hindsight, reading these posts and thinking about the few times when things didn't seem right over the 4 1/2 years I was involved, I regret not being more aware then as I'm sure I could have helped end the abuse years before it was stopped by others. I feel particularly guilty about those who suffered after that time - and pray that nothing happened the summer of '77 when I was "in charge". Thanks to all who are sharing on this post.

[email protected] May 10th 15 09:36 PM

Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
I am glad to see sky life members communicating
I was a student at Horace Greeley and joined sky life during high school
Thank you to all for your posts

I still have my sky life pin

I be happy to hear from any past members

Thank you

Ted[_5_] July 27th 15 07:07 PM

Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
There's a special place in hell for Lee. It's such a shame too because I had great memories of the place right up until the very end - went for 3 years in the early '90's. I was one of the lucky ones - didn't realize anything was up but friends of mine weren't so lucky.

There are a few guys though from the early '90's though I'd love to reconnect with but don't remember anyone's names other than Chris. If you are any of those guys, let me know.

Again though F Lee. A dickbag of epic proportions.

On Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 3:36:46 PM UTC-5, wrote:
I am glad to see sky life members communicating
I was a student at Horace Greeley and joined sky life during high school
Thank you to all for your posts

I still have my sky life pin

I be happy to hear from any past members

Thank you

[email protected] August 28th 15 04:31 AM

Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
I too was at Skylife in the early 1970s and am in the AIG ad photo. The camp was briefly based in the house in Bedford, NY where I grew up. Lee Barnes & Sky Life moved in after my family moved out in 1969. He rented from my father, as I recall.

I went to the Edinburg camp one year as a camper and one year as a "counselor," which mostly meant working in the kitchen. We counselors lived in an old chicken coop behind the house that headquartered the camp.

It's interesting, and sometimes sad, to read the many stories of Sky Life alumni. Barnes was indisputably a gay pedophile but tried to cover it with macho swagger and constant denunciations of "faggots" and "communists." Perhaps not incongruously, he tormented his patently gay and effeminate step-son.

[email protected] April 11th 16 04:00 PM

Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
The real story behind the Club closing its doors. Lee G Barnes was arrested in the summer of 1992. He was originally arrested for possession of an unregistered hand gun. the abuse, I have no personal knowledge, I was a enrolled in the college flight program at FMCC in Johnstown. I was never bothered, I didn't fit the mold of a submissive skinny boy. The abuse was real and it was happening right in front of us and we were all oblivious. the abuse seemed to be towards the summer camp kids that would come. however, a Fed-Ex pilot who shall remain nameless was a victim in the 1980s. He however remained close with the camp and he even kept his planes at the airfield. he had a counselor approach him the summer of '92 explaining that Barnes gave him a list of weird items, small rope, a blindfold, ect and was to meet Barnes at the camp's motorhome. the FedEx pilot knew what that meant, this kid was going to be abused at the hands of this monster. That is when the cops were called, informing them of abuse and the handgun. the arrest was made, he got away with it because every man that came forward waited to long to report the crime. no knew witnesses came forward, the DA couldn't prosecute.

The real crime was what happened to the camp following the arrest. Barnes had convinced lenders to loan him money and he borrowed against anything that was available. The house and grounds, the airplanes, with the exception of the 1964 Cessna 172, it was too old to use as collateral, the camper, the Lincoln, the plow truck. that all went back to the bank. when the dust settled, 17 college students were left out in the cold, due thousands of dollars. We all sued in a class action case, we won and the only thing left was the 1964 Cessna, stored and later auctioned off at Brownell Lumber. it sold in Oct 1994 for $6000. as far as I know, no defendant ever received a dime. Which was not the goal, we know we unlocked the abuse case and hopefully taking those kids away from Barnes and exposing him as the monster he was. I felt bad for Jay Treat II and Bill Quegan( sorry if I spelled that wrong). the long time flight instructors who themselves were abused at the hands of Barnes. I have lost contact with both of them.

I attended the program at FMCC from Sept 1991-may 1993. I would like to hear from any of my sky life brothers and one sister that I flew with those years. my email-

hope to hear from you all soon

Chris Hyde

[email protected] June 23rd 18 02:33 AM

Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
Hi, I was trying to respond to Chris. I was there as a flight instructor for a very brief period during the summer of ‘91. I have looked in the past for current information on what ever happened to the camp. This is the first time I came across this thread. It’s amazing to see how long it has been going and the thread is still alive. I actually had no idea the camp when back as far as it did. Just reaching out.


Emory June 23rd 18 08:41 PM

Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
I can barely believe I've stumbled on this thread of 16 years! I only googled "Sky-Life Flying Camp" because I had a dream last night in which I was flying with Lee....

I started flying with Sky-Life and HPN when I was 13, and soloed on my 16th birthday in 1973. I also flew at the Camp, and worked a couple summers teaching photography (there was that small darkroom there). I eventually went on to get my CFII, had some wonderful years of working as a physician while teaching flying a couple evenings/ week. I sadly gave up flying perhaps 10+ years ago, after recurrent kidney stones, as well as just feeling I couldn't do it enough to feel safe.... I do feel that aviation "safety" was a strong part of the culture overall for Sky- Life. I saw that amazing ad from Flying Magazine (I'm the kid in the front right!).

This thread is so sad.... I had some suspicions over the years that Lee might be abusing kids, but this is the first time I've seen it confirmed. Obviously, I was lucky enough not to have suffered from what he did, but am so sorry to hear about those who did. I remember very well going through that initiation, naked, blindfolded, scared.... but then we just got dressed, without anything further happening. I then went through that welcoming ritual at night... I still remember it so well, as eventually, I was asked to participate in the speech ("You are about to become a part of aviation history........"). In retrospect, I'm sorry I was so naive as to not realize more was going on, but as others have said, it was a different time.

I have many fond memories of flying on that grass strip, getting drunk for the first time (cold duck), Lee's piano playing, and some great guys. I also knew Bud (in fact, he was the physics teacher at my high school). I don't know what became of Bud... but some years ago, I did spend some time with Jay Treat (I was living in Ohio)- in fact, he let me fly a commercial simulator where he was working at Flight Safety. I went with Jay to see Lee on his death bed (intubated, not able to communicate).

Enough for now.... wow.

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