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
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
"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.