Why Shakylake.com?

This web site is for all my friends made through the years. Some of these friends have shared historic items from their collections or loaned them to me to photograph, scan and return. I am especially grateful to Tom Cooney who loaned me his negatives for a long period of time. His collection was so vast that I never had the money to reprint all of them.  That was before I had a decent scanner. Tom passed away not long after I returned his negatives to him. Other of my friends have also gone to their final home in the sky as well.

Along the way I became friends with Captain Frank Petee who in turn introduced me to the AM '49er's Club. I was invited as a historian/guest of the AM '49er's at their yearly reunions for a period of time spanning more than 15 years. I was a friend to them and considered all of them my friends.

Some of these guys were unique characters. Frank Petee never flew the Pick-up, but  he was Company Historian for many years and also the co-pilot on the first All American Airways passenger flight. I miss Frank and all the things he taught me about the history of our airline. Victor Yesulaites was the first flying mechanic to reel in a bag of mail in pick-up service. He also patented a method of pick-up that eliminated the big loop with his 'monkey fists'. Ray 'Red' Garcia was another of the flying mechanics I've known since about 1969 or 70 after Lake Central was absorbed into Allegheny Airlines. Ray went in to Customer Service and retired from that department. As I write this, Ray is one of only a handful of '49er's still living. Ray was a Director of the Company when he left. I always considered him a friend.

Toby West befriended me at the airmail flyers fly-in in 1984 up in the Lycoming Valley. Toby, Jim Thompson and I worked very hard together on a project that would have resulted in an actual pick-up demonstration with one of the original Stinson SR-10C's.  Toby; wherever you are, I'll never forget the first real 'Virginia Gentleman' I ever knew. This project like the Stinson project is also for you.

Jim Thompson still works for the Company in Washington, D.C. and is now heir apparent to the title of Company Historian. Nobody else in the Company has the knowledge or available information like Jim. Jim, Toby and I worked hard laying the groundwork for the Stinson tour that never took place.

There was a Stinson SR-10C that may have been available for our use had it happened. Toby worked hard to make the necessary friends in Richmond.

Unfortunately, the Company didn't support our effort which would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of USAir and the project went away due to lack of that support. We estimated that we'd have to raise a minimum of $500,000.00 to support the preparation, spare parts, and fuel for the project. Without the Company on board, it was fruitless and we finally abandoned the idea altogether.