Pennsylvania Aviation History

1793January 9, 1793, marked the beginning of aviation history in America, when Francois Jean Pierre Blanchard launched his hot air balloon from the exercise yard of the Walnut Street Gaol in Philadelphia. Present to witness the event, were President George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Mifflin, then Governor of Pennsylvania.

1915
   July 5Opening of the Philadelphia Seaplane Base.

1918Experimental airmail service to be conducted jointly by the Army and the Post Office between Washington and New York, with an intermediate stop in Philadelphia. The first flight left Belmont Park, Long Island, for Philadelphia, and the next day continued on to Washington where it was met by President Woodrow Wilson.

1925Contract Air Mail Act (Referred to as the Kelley Act after its chief sponsor (Representative Clyde Kelly of Pennsylvania) was the first major legislative step toward the creation of a private United States airline industry.

1927Governor Pinchot created a State Bureau of Aeronautics.

   October 22The Spirit of St. Louis, piloted by Charles A. Lindbergh, touched down at Philadelphia Airport. The arrival in Philadelphia occured during a tour of the United States following Lindbergh's historic solo flight from New York to Paris. During his visit, Lindbergh ceremoniously raised the American flag to dedicate what was then called Philadelphia Municipal Airport.

1928
   May 1Opening of the Chester County G. O. Carlson Airport.
   May 10Opening of the Pottstown Limerick Airport.
   August 20Dedication of the Towanda Legion Airport (Bradford County Airport). The airport was moved in 1935 to its current location.

   October 2Opening of the Greenville Municipal Airport.

1929
   June 22Dedication of the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport.
   July 20Dedication of the Williamsport Airport.
   August 1Dedication of the Stroudsburg-Pocono Airport.
   September 27Dedication of the Butler County Airport.
   October 7Opening of the Grube Airport, now known as the Punxsutawney Airport.

1930Watres Act (named after one of its chief sponsors, Representative Laurence H. Watres of Pennsylvania) authorized the Post Office to enter into long term contracts for air mail.

1931
   August 12Opening of the Bloomsburg Municipal Airport.
   September 11Opening of the Allegheny County Airport.

1934Pennsylvania native, Helen Richey, became the first female airline pilot in the country. She flew her first commercial flight for Central Airlines on December 31, 1934.

   March 15Groundbreaking for the Lancaster Airport. The airport opened for business August 1935.

   May 29Dedication of the University Park Airport.

1935
   May 15Opening of the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport.
   September 16Scheduled service starts at Lehigh Valley International Airport, which opened in 1929.

1937The Piper Aircraft Corporation, located in Lock Haven, produced its first aircraft (J-3 Cub Sport).

   May 19Opening of the Corry Lawrence Airport.

1938
   March 1Opening of the Perkiomen Valley Airport.
   May 15The first U.S. Airmail flight from Ebensburg to Johnstown is completed.
   May 19Dedication of the Danville Airport.
   October 1Opening of the Connellsville Airport.
   October 22Formal dedication at Martinsburg Airport (Altoona-Blair County Airport).
   December 15Opening of Braden Field.

1939Philadelphia is the birth place of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, which today boasts over 390,000 members.

All American Aviation, a Pennsylvania company, was licensed to carry mail to 54 communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, and West Viriginia. All American entered a period of rapid expansion and became Allegheny Airline.

   May 5Opening of the Brandywine Airport.

1940
   June 20Opening of the Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
   June 20Philadelphia Municipal Airport opens. The airport became an International facility in 1945.

1943
   August 20Opening of the Albert Airport.
   October 10Dedication of the Queen City Airport.

1944
   August 30Opening of the Shamokin Airport, now known as the Northumberland County Airport.

1945
   May 16Opening of the Jersey Shore Airport.
   May 26Dedication of the Kutztown Airport.
   July 7Cherry Springs Airport, which opened as a private facility in 1935, opens to the public.

1946
   July 4Dedication of the Mt. Pleasant - Scottdale Airport.
   September 18Dedicationof the Skyhaven Airport.
   October 21Opening of the Grimes Airport.
   December 16The Johnstown-Cambria County Airport opens for business.

1947
   April 16Opening of the Farmers Pride Airport.
   June 1Dedication of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport.

1949
   April 7Opening of the Washington County Airport.
   October 3Dedication of the Venango Regional Airport.

1950
   June 30Dedication of the St. Marys Municipal Airport.
   September 9Opening of the Riegle Airport.

1952
   May 31Opening of the Pittsburgh International Airport.
   August 24The Pottstown Municipal Airport opens for business.

1953
   May 2Dedication of the Beaver County Airport.
   June 22Dedication of the Somerset County Airport.

1954
   July 1Opening of the Lakehill Airport.
   July 16Hazleton Municipal Airport is licensed as a public airport.

1955
   May 15Opening of the Zelienople Municipal Airport.
   October 27Beltzville Airport opens to the public.

1956
   April 23Opening of the Huntingdon County Airport.
   May 7Dedication of the Slatington Airport.

1959
   July 2Opening of the Schuylkill County Airport.

1960
   June 1Dedication of the Dubois-Jefferson County Airport.
   June 13Opening of the Baublitz Airport.
   August 12Opening of the Butler Farm Show Airport.
   October 31Opening of the Ebensburg Airport.

1961
   March 9The Pittsburgh Air Terminal, now known as the Pittsburgh Monroeville Airport, is licensed as a commercial facility.

1962
   January 18Opening of the Penn Valley Airport.
   April 4Opening of the Mid-State Airport. The facility first opened in 1946 as the Black Moshannon Airport.

   April 6Opening of the Clarion County Airport.
   September 1Opening of the Cherry Ridge Airport.

1963
   May 4Opening of the Carlisle Airport.

1964
   May 8Opening of the Grand Canyon Airport.
   August 17Keller Brothers Airport, which opened as a private facility in 1945, opens to the public.

   December 24Dedication of the Doylestown Airport.

1965
   January 22Dedication of the Quakertown Airport.

1966
   January 23Dedication of the Pennridge Airport.

1967
   April 10Rostraver Airport is licensed to Rostraver Township.
   July 20Opening of the New Garden Airport.

1968
   January 1Dedication of the Erie International Airport.
   January 12Harrisburg International Airport's first terminal building opened.
   November 22Opening of the Cove Valley Airport.
   December 31Dedication of the Bellefonte Airport.

1969
   September 2Opening of the Penn's Cave Airport.
   October 29Bendigo Airport, originally licensed in 1962 as a private facility, is licensed as a public airport.
   November 19Opening of the Pittsburgh Bouquet Airpark (now known as the Greensburg-Jeannette Regional Airport).

1970
   October 19Opening of the Brokenstraw Airport.
   September 18Hanover Airport opens to the public.

1971
   June 9Erie County Airport is licensed as a public airport.
   July 10Opening of the Clearfield Lawrence Airport.

1972
   April 1Dedication of the Bermudian Valley Airpark.
   June 19Opening of the Inter County Airport.
   September 25Opening of the Seven Springs Airport.

1974
   August 29Kampel Airport, which opened as a private facility in 1973, opens to the public.

1975
   May 31Opening of the Grove City Airport.
   September 5Opening of the Flying M Aerodrome.
   September 11Valley Forge Bicentennial Heliport opens as a public facility.
   October 14Opening of the Ridge Soaring Gliderport.

1976
   March 10Flying Dollar Airport opens to the public.

1980
   May 5Opening of the Horsham Valley Airways Heliport.

1982
   March 29Opening of the Smoketown Airport.

1983Pennsylvania native, Guion Bluford, becomes the first African American to fly in space.

1984
   January 1Dedication of the Donegal Springs Airport

1989
   December 11Opening of the Deck Airport.

1994
   May 20Opening of the Bedford County Airport.
   October 17Opening of the Sunbury Seaplane Base.

1995
   July 1Opening of the Spring Hill Airpark.

1998
   September 1Opening of the Rock Airport. This facility first opened in the 1960's as the Remich Airport and then later as West Penn Airport.
   December 15Opening of the Total RF Heliport.

1999
   September 10Dedication of the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, which was originally established in 1924 as the Longview Flying Field.