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World War II Pilot Shares Stories at Piper Cub Fly-In

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. -- A World War II veteran who taught countless pilots to fly during the war spoke in Lock Haven on Friday at the annual Piper Cub fly-in in Clinton County.

If you haven't been to the annual fly-in, it can feel as if you've taken a step back in time. Some of the planes that fly in were first built in the 1940s.

We spoke with a man who says he not only helped train pilots during that time, he later worked to keep those Piper planes in the sky.

Piper planes haven't been built in Lock Haven since the 1980s, but the history of the company and aircraft like the "Grasshopper" used during World War II still remain.

"They could land in fields and report to our troops refuel go again," explained Piper Museum president John Bryerton.

Without a pilot, these planes can only share a portion of the story. That's where WWII veteran Joe Diblin comes in.

"When we get together what do you think we talk about? Two pilots talk about flying," Diblin said.

Diblin had a room full of pilots and aviation enthusiasts to talk to during the 33rd annual Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven fly-in in Lock Haven.

The 100 year old who served as a flight instructor during World War II was invited to talk about his experiences.

After 21 years of service, Diblin says some of his fondest memories are from his time working at Lycoming Aircraft Engines.

"Of course, I was very close to Piper and they were our best customer at Lycoming," Diblin said.

"This is rare to see somebody in WWII, a pilot to give his story is rare and God bless him," said Phil Hoy.

Diblin credits his long and healthy life to his time as a pilot. To continue flying, he needed to stay strong both physically and mentally.

"It was never humdrum, boring, always a challenge."

Diblin says he stopped flying a few decades ago when he retired.

When we asked him if he still flies at all now, he told us he really doesn't have a reason to especially because he's not the one in the pilot's seat.