About Rare Aviation
Rare Aviation began long ago because of my desire and interest in aviation.
My hobby turned into the Rare Aviation website that had thousands of pilot and aircraft manuals on it to download. Later I turned to finding and restoring aviation films and pilot and aircraft manuals, including gun camera films. I’m now in the process of relaunching the site and so I’m slowly adding all the items back to this site. If you are looking for something in particular, contact me.
My desire for the Rare Aviation website is for it to continue to be a repository of long-forgotten and hard-to-find aviation items that can be educational or serve as a reference. The films are fascinating, the manuals are jammed full of information, and the information can often not be found anyplace else.
My name is Steve Rhode. I’m the fire department pilot behind Rare Aviation.
From a young boy, I was fascinated by aviation. I remember doing my 4th-grade summer project all about the P-47 Thunderbolt with illustrations and a comprehensive presentation about the fascinating airplane. A couple of years later I received a P-47 wire-controlled airplane as a gift my dad crashed showing me how to use it. It never flew again. But I was okay with that once I started flying airplanes.
I’ve been a pilot since 1988 and currently hold ratings for SEL Land Instrument and Commercial. I’m also a certificated Part 107 remote pilot as well.
Most of my flying activity these days is as a public safety pilot for fire and law enforcement. I spend quite a bit of time in my Cessna 182 in the air. I’ve also been very active as an aviation author, public safety drone expert, and dog rescue pilot.
My FAA call sign in the Cessna 182 is Fire Demon 1.
My roles in aviation include:
- Chief Pilot Wake Forest Fire Department
- Chief Pilot North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy
- FAA FAASTeam Drone Pro
- Founder of Rare Aviation
- Founder of North Carolina Volunteer Rescue Pilots
- Host of the Podcast The Accidental Aviator
Aviation plays a big role in my life. From flying as a public safety pilot to writing about a number of subjects for aviation websites.
Aerial photography and videography.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association writer.
Public safety drone columnist for a leading drone news outlet.
Our non-profit dog rescue efforts to fly kill shelter dogs to forever homes.
Information and articles for public safety UAS and drone pilots.
Track and analyze drone incidents and accidents.
Rare Aviation History
Rare Aviation began in 2004 when I started to collect and give access to rare pilot and airplane manuals through downloads. I used to spend the days at the National Archives hunting down rare and hard-to-find aviation information for pilots.
I then started collecting WWII gun camera films and got to know some of the surviving WWII fighter pilots that were still alive. What a great bunch of pilots.
I then went on to produce DVDs of the aviation gun camera films.
Robin MacRae Dunn
President – Washington Airline Society
“Recently Steve Rhode from Rare Aviation came to speak to our group at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Our members loved his restored films and strongly support his important mission of saving aviation history and making it available to everyone. For those of us who love aviation and aviation history, Rare Aviation is a unique resource that everyone must visit.”