"Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields" website

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by pfreeman, Apr 5, 2017.

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  1. Apr 5, 2017 #1
    Have you ever wondered what happened to the airfield where you learned to fly? The "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields" website, at www.airfieldsfreeman.com, is a lavishly-illustrated archive of the history of former airfields. Thanks to historical material submitted by readers, the site's total of airfields covered now includes 2,168 airfields, across all 50 states. This includes new additions describing former airfields such as Park Ridge Airport IL, Clear Ridge Airport NE, Fernley Airfield NV, Rubinkam Airport IL, Saugatuck-Douglas Airport MI, Iberia Parish Airport LA, Haulover Canal Airfield FL, Bassler Airfield MD, and updates to many others.


    Paul Freeman
    www.airfieldsfreeman.com
     
  2. Apr 5, 2017 #2

    bmcj

    bmcj

    bmcj

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    Thanks Paul. I visit your site often whenever my mind conjurs up a memory of an old airfield I've been to, and also when I hear of one that pre-dates me or my flying past. I and a few others have made mention of it here in the past. You have a great website!
     
  3. Apr 5, 2017 #3

    fly2kads

    fly2kads

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    Paul, I've also been on your site a bunch of times. It's amazing to me how many airfields, large and small, have disappeared from my area over the years (Dallas/Fort Worth). Thanks for sharing your considerable investment of time and resources with us!
     
  4. Apr 5, 2017 #4

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    [​IMG]

    I've stomped all over Paul's site for my state and neighboring states long ago. It was interesting as a historical introduction to abandoned airfields, but it wasn't so useful to me as far as finding an airfield to take over and call my own.

    Most all of the airports on Paul's site have been repurposed, turned into subdivisions or nature reserves, or for whatever reason can never been scooped up again and used as an airfield.... at any kind of price, let alone a firesale price. (and such nice ones too... Mercer, Harris Neck, Glynco, Aerojet)

    Nevertheless, thanks Paul for your work! It's a fun place to visit to journey back into time.

    I deepen my own search into all the abandoned airfields including the thousands of small private backyard airstrips lost to time (they still show up on google maps or old maps or even in databases), that nobody knows or cares about anymore... but even that didn't turn out particularly fruitful.

    A person is darned just better off just making a new airfield from scratch from some empty field you can get on the cheap... despite being told there's a surplus of airports and airstrips that nobody has the time to care for anymore...

    Interesting note: I read yesterday no major airport has been built in the US in the last 20 years...

    Wiki: defunct airports in the United States

    Hometown Historical Airports / Georgia: http://georgia.hometownlocator.com/features/historical,class,airport,startrow,1.cfm
    (click the link, and then change "georgia" in the URL to your own state name and reload)

    When you find an interesting location, just punch its lat/long location into Historical Aerials to go back in time with the slider bar...

    Rednecks + cheap beer = never a dull moment
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  5. Apr 5, 2017 #5

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    THANK YOU Paul for your devotion to keeping this history alive ! Your website is a treasure.
     
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  6. Apr 5, 2017 #6

    bmcj

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    I once used Paul's website to find an old defunct airport that I remembered from attending an Airshow during my childhood. No one in the area would believe me that an airport once stood at that location until I showed it to them on Paul's site.
     
  7. Apr 6, 2017 #7

    lr27

    lr27

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    I don't know if MA52, Sid's Airport, is too small to be on the list.
    ma52 Sids from south end looking north.jpg
    It's definitely little known, and possibly abandoned, or at least closed. Good to see the Luscombe's been fixed up, though I've only heard about it before. I wonder if Sid's son was still able to fly it out of there with all those trees and the house. He used to fly an ultralight style plane out of there every once in a while. He once offered me a ride, but I didn't feel confident about that after seeing the clearance over that house on the end with just the pilot on board. Apparently that house project started in the winter and they thought the airstrip was closed permanently. Fortunately there's a private airstrip within a couple of miles which is much longer and wider.

    --------
    The list includes Tew-Mac*, though. When I lived up that way for a few months I watched a plane pick up a long banner. Fun to watch.


    *In Tewksbury, MA.
     
  8. Apr 7, 2017 #8

    pictsidhe

    pictsidhe

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    Phillips air field, Robbinsville, 28771. I don't know anything about it, yet.
     
  9. Apr 7, 2017 #9

    Pops

    Pops

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    I can name at least a dozen or so of old airfields in my immediate area that have been long gone. I have landed in most of them. I have a neighbor that is collecting data and old pictures of old airports in WV for a book. Lots and lots of material.
    Of all the old airports listed in the website for WV, I have landed in most of them.
     
  10. Apr 7, 2017 #10

    Autodidact

    Autodidact

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    I've learned about Oklahoma and Texas airfields from this site - very interesting website.
     
  11. Apr 7, 2017 #11

    Pops

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    Ok, do you want a little history.

    Go to WV, then to the southwest section. http://www.airfields-freeman.com/WV/Airfields_WV_SW.htm Now, stroll down to the Sea Plane base at Charleston. That was John Clarks seaplane base. My instructor learned to fly there and got his instructors rating in the summer of 1937 in the C-3's on floats. Latter Clark moved the base to the south side of the Kanawha river as in the next picture. I was setting in the grass on the river bank at that seaplane base in 1952 or 53 (not sure) watching the boat races when Chuck Yeager flew under the South Side Bridge a short distance down river in a T-33 and got busted. Not listed was the seaplane base up the river about 3 mile on the river bank at Kanawha City. Also a seaplane base down river a few miles at Dunbar. I lived within walking distance of the base and my grandfather's nephew had a barber shop on the river bank by the seaplane base. Also not listed was a seaplane base down the river a few miles at St Albans on the south side of the river. There were 6 seaplane bases on the river within about 10 miles. John Clark was a friend of my father. John moved his seaplane base down the river to the south side of the river at the town of Poca. He also made a grass field airport on the river bank called Clark's Field.
    By that time I was living with my Grandfather about 20 miles north of Charleston on a farm that Grandfather owned. John Clark had an airshow on his field in the summer of 1956. I was not quite 16 years old but had been driving on the road for 2 years and had a drivers license for one year ( at 14 years old I was 6' and 190 lbs and could pass for 20 years old), so I drove the 1951 Chevy down to the town of Windfield an crossed the Kanawha river on a car ferry and drove up the river to Clarks field. The Monocoupe that is hanging up at the Smithsonian now was flying out of Richmond,VA. was there along the Pitts "Little Stinker" . The Monocoupe was doing barrel rolls around the pitts and stopped suddenly and landed. The pilot was cleaning the windshield and I walked up and ask what happen. He said the fuel cap came off and gasoline was covering the windshield . Somehow he got another gas cap and took off and finished the airshow.
    At that time there was a total of about 30 floating hanger on the river at the 6 seaplane bases.

    So not listed. The old airport at Parkerburg, had a field called Stewart Field ( shopping mall at that location now) Emilia Earhart landing there with engine problems and had to have a new engine installed ( I have pictures) and an old friend of mine that died about 3 years ago had her old engine. I don't know what happen the the engine.
    I also have a picture of the Wright Brother when they landed in a field at the city park here in Parkerburg and couldn't get stopped and ran into the large lilly pond in 1913. The lilly pond is still there in the park.

    After the war in the 1940's and 50's every town along the Ohio river had a seaplane base.

    When my instructor (ray) got his instructor rating in 1937 a friend of his also got his instructor rating. He was also an old friend of mine. He (Sam) was an Army Air corps civilian flight instructor in Roanoke,VA. during the war. Sam and large scares up his right arm. I ask Sam one day how he got the scars. Sam said " Some dumba** student tried his best to kill me in a Stearman".

    Ray ended up as a mechanic on P-51's in Australia in WW-2.

    One day I was flying around in my 1947 Ercoupe and landed in a grass field on the north side of Chillicothe, OH and taxie up to a large hanger. Met an old man and his wife. He flew a P-51 and an Ercoupe and his wife flew a T-6. He was a pilot in WW-2 flying P-51's. He took me for a ride in his Ercoupe. After the ride he took me to the house for supper with him and his wife. Some time latter he flew the Ercoupe down the the grass field where I was based for a visit. There is a shopping center at the location of his grass field now.

    Lots and lots more.

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
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  12. Apr 9, 2017 #12

    choppergirl

    choppergirl

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    I'm looking at "Welch Municipal Airport" on the same page and just salivating :-/

    Property rights. If !@#$% city would just give up their property rights and give that puppy to me for $1 as a brown site, I'd have it fixed up in no time looking like a WW2 airfield. Derust that hanger and paint it with new red and white enamel paint, new windsock, and I'd be out there on the runway killing those weeds with a spray bottle, and hitting it with a push broom... not to mention cutting down all those encroaching bushes with a pair of loppers. You know in no time I'd talk somebody into flying in some sexy old bird in for a photo op for a website... to bring more... promote, promote, promote.

    But nerp. Ten more years of neglect, and it will just get overgrown and demolished by mother nature. That's just the way of the world :-/ There's just a disturbing lack of common sense in this country... if you don't need or care about something any more, give it to someone else that does. In the same day I can see homeless people walking the street, and then later that afternoon abandoned neglected houses untouchable reverting to nature across the countryside... all because of sacrosanct property rights.

    Probably just an aberation. Oh, wait, no, McDonald Airfield that follows it on the same page... exactly the same situation. So neglected it's now marked as Hazardous, if that's not a Chopper Girl Fix It Up Special, I don't know what is. Maybe I should just switch out the padlock on the gate and squat on it for 7 years, and if nobody chased me off by then, then file a claim on it to make it legally mine. That's a long time to hide out in a rusty abandoned hanger in the middle of nowhere... even if I did have internet. Bah. Easier to build my own from scratch than pry it out of the grip of some old guys hands, and someday after I'm dead, maybe my own airfield will be added to Abandoned and Little Known Airfields after the forest and kudzu takes it over... :p
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  13. Apr 9, 2017 #13

    Hephaestus

    Hephaestus

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    I make a point of finding some of the old BCATP bases around here...

    Hundreds of abandoned strips from that program around here. Some got a plaque - some got plowed under, some still show remnants. Some have returned to nature...

    Lol, I got in a big argument the other day - stupidly said oh at the old Calgary airport, with a car full of people... I had to show them rutledge hangar at the boys and girls club to convince them - Calgary's airport was actually in what now is Renfrew... Blew their minds!
     
  14. Apr 9, 2017 #14

    TFF

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    One of the ones not on the list local to me has been a subdivision since the 70s. The guy who owned it had a bunch of WW1 planes. When he died, the family dug a big pit and bulldozed it all in and covered it up. Someone is living on a gold mine right now. My boss was a traveling airplane parts salesman at the time. His then boss came into the office with a rug rolled up, went straight to his office, and locked the door. After about 15 minutes, he peaked out and called to my boss, "Wayne, come here." My boss went in and on his desk was a couple of Lewis machine guns. He got to raid the hangers before they ruined everything.
     
  15. Apr 9, 2017 #15

    Pops

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    McDonald is marked "Hazardous" because of flying into it, not the condition. You have to fly down in a hollow and turn up the main hollow and you follow the small river around a sharp curve. You never see the grass field until you are on very, very short final. On taking off to the south you have to stay in the hollow until you climb out. A short distance after takeoff there is a Y in the hollow, if you take the left hollow you will crash against a box canyon wall that you will not see when entering and you can't climb over. There is a swinging bridge on the south end of the field to the road on the other side of the river. Last time I was there, the bridge was so bad a lot of the wooden boards with missing on the walkway and they all were rotten. To dangerous to try walking across.
    I flew in to McDonald for the first time in the early 70's to look at a Stinson 108 that was for sale. I turned it down and a friend bought it .
    Welch is a nice runway compared to most in the area.

    On day I was out flying and landing in grass strips in the area in my 1959 C-172. When I taxied up to my hanger at my home field a friend can out as I was getting out of the airplane and ask where I had been to pickup the 25'-30' of multi-flora rose bush on my wing tip light.

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  16. Apr 9, 2017 #16

    dcstrng

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    I am happy to say there have been e few openings at least -- In Virginia; Tappahannock-Essex County (KXSA) and Stafford (KRMN) opened in the past 15-18 years... admittedly Tappahannock was a replacement for a much older one, but new nonetheless... and probably 50% larger. At least in our area the enlargement of heavily-controlled Washington-Baltimore airspace has made some communities receptive to feeder-airports and smaller corporate fliers aren't terribly interest in intruding into downtown Washington etc. To be sure, even on these newer airports well outside towns, there are always attempts by some real-estate developer to put townhouses or a kiddie-park right on short final, but so far the local communities aren't buying it...
     
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  17. Aug 5, 2017 #17
    An interesting development for the "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields" website: I was quoted in an article this month in the New York Times about the fate of airports:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/business/municipal-airports-development.html

    Thanks to historical material contributed by Kevin Walsh, Ron Plante, Brian Rehwinkel, and hundreds of other aviation history buffs over the past quarter, the "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields" website's quantity of material has grown to a total of 2,204 airfields, across all 50 states. This includes new additions describing former airfields such as Groveton Airfield NH, Elsinore Airport CA, Brightwood Airport IN, Reynolds Field NY, Holley Field FL, Wamsutter Airport WY, Pepeekeo Airstrip HI, Kona Village Resort Airstrip HI, Shippensburg Airport PA, McEnnan Airport MI, Rich Field TX, Payne Field MS, Sky Court Airport NM, Bassler Airfield MD, and updates to many others. If you have applicable material about a former airfield, please let me know.

    And I truly appreciate financial donations, without which the site could not continue.

    Paul Freeman
    www.airfields-freeman.com
     
  18. Aug 5, 2017 #18

    Pops

    Pops

    Pops

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    There are dozens of old abandoned airfields in WV that are not listed on Paul Freeman's site. I remember a lot of them and have flown off a lot of them.
     
  19. Aug 5, 2017 #19

    Pops

    Pops

    Pops

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    Double post.
     
  20. Aug 5, 2017 #20

    fly2kads

    fly2kads

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    Well, then that sounds like a challenge to capture your local knowledge so that these fields can be documented! ;)
     

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