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"Earth to Air Brigade" A Drive to Pisgah Astronomical Institute

The Air Brigade end-of-season drive took 20 members in 12 Air-Cooled Porsches to the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) in Rosman, North Carolina. PARI is a former NASA facility from its space heyday and a Department of Defense listening post that is now a non-profit research facility.

Air-Cooled Porsches with Satellite Dish
Air Brigade at the PARI Radio Telescope Dish

Beverly and Allen planned the day’s events of a lunch, a drive and a private tour of PARI for the Air Brigade. The day started at Hawg Wild BBQ in Brevard where the group gathered for lunch and sharing of Air-Cooled Porsches.

Allen and Beverly chose their Guards Red Carrera 3.2 Cab for the day’s drive while TD and Kathleen brought out TD’s pristine white 993 coupe. The fabulous weather of the day allowed for the cabs and targas to be top down while we saw some of the “best” come out of the garage that included our favorite 914 of Mark and Amy’s, the special wide body Carrera 3.2 Targa of Greg’s and our usual assortment of special Carrera 3.2’s, SC’s, a 964 and several 993’s, and Charlie and Janet’s ’72 911 Targa as the only early 911 driving.

Porsche 911, Porsche 993, Porsche Carrera 3.2
Three Generations of 911's: Early 1972 911T, 1997 993S and 1985 Carrera 3.2 Targa Wide Body

The Commander’s ’68 911 Hot Rod didn’t make the drive this time due to a screw in the tire identified pre-drive. The Commander’s other Air-Cooled Porsche, his ’86 Carrera 3.2 is on display in the Porsche Asheville showroom so the first rule of Air Brigade, only Air-Cooled Porsches allowed to drive, was broken with an exception since the Commander was leading the drive. It felt odd to be leading the Air Brigade in a water-cooled “modern” Porsche.

After lunch the drive took the cars up US-276 to connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway. What a beautiful day to be on the Parkway. It was clear and dry and the vistas were spectacular. The only downside was the traffic was thick and slow as tourists had flocked to the Parkway in search of the fall color.

Porsche 914, Porsche 911, Porsche 993 driving
Porsche 914 and an early 911 leading the Air Brigade into PARI

A turn-off on NC-215 freed us from traffic as we had a quick downhill run to PARI with limited traffic.

The massive satellite dish was pointed in the right direction for a photo opp so we lined them up and got the shot before starting the tour.

PARI, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
Air Brigade Porsches and Drive Teams with PARI Radio Telescope

The tour started with a classroom session about light and the universe that was highlighted by a spectacular film that depicted the enormity of the universe. A tour of the galleries followed to view an early satellite, rocket motor and minerals including meteors that are one-of-a-kind.

Redstone Rocket Engine at PARI
Rob and Mark studying the Redstone Rocket Engine in the Gallery

Dish up! Wheels up, and the Air Brigade Porsches were off on a

Find-Your-Own-Way” home drive as the Porsches left for Asheville, Hendersonville, Flat Rock and Saluda.

Enjoy the photo gallery of the day’s events.

Redstone Rocket Engine at PARI
Looking down the fuel tube venturi of the Redstone Rocket Engine

Hawg Wild BBQ, Air Brigade Drive
Air Brigade Gathering at Hawg Wild BBQ in Brevard

PARI Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
PARI Leader Tim Introducing Air Brigade to PARI

PARI Satellite Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
An Early Satellite on display at PARI

PARI Rocket Engine Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
Air Brigade Studying the early Redstone Rocket Engine

PARI Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
PARI Tim discussing the importance of minerals to space exploration and mining

Tags: Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, PARI, Air Brigade drive, Air Brigade drive 2021

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