This has been a week of field trips! It seems like we have all or nothing weeks and this week was all! Today we toured the Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport. Of course, after weeks of drought conditions, it decided to rain! Oh well, we still had a great and informative field trip.
The airport was the first commercial airport in South Carolina. It was built in 1927 and a stop on the air mail route from Atlanta to Washington D.C. The first flight into the airport was by Charles Lindbergh to help celebrate its grand opening. Lindbergh had just finished his famed trans-Atlantic flight a few months earlier. Amelia Earhart flew into the airport in 1931. She was in town to speak to the women at Converse College.
During WWII the Army Air Corp used the airport for training purposes. There are nice displays inside the airport terminal commemorating the role it played during that period of time.
Commercial passenger airline service was available until the early 1960s. Once Greenville-Spartanburg Jetport was built, the commercial passenger traffic moved to it. The airport has a very rich history in its role of our community.
The children were able to tour the control tower. The airport no longer uses it as such. The control tower operations shut down in 1981. GSP handles general aviation issues of air space in our area.
The children were able to look into an airplane and learn about how the airplane works. They were able to see a couple of planes land and one take off. Of course, this was the highlight of their trip.
The adults learned just how expensive owning and flying a plane can be. I found it interesting that all non commercial aircraft are basically taken apart and inspected every year for safety. Commercial aircraft are inspected in stages throughout the year.
Our guide told us about types of pilot licenses and what one has to do to fly different types of planes.
Today the airport is the third busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina. We are proud to have such a great aviation history in our community!