Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Arizona airstrips lost, but not forgotten

[Source: Betsey Bruner, Arizona Daily Sun] -- Weeds may grow out of their runways today, but many of Arizona's smallest and oldest airports were once on the cutting edge of air travel during the golden years of U.S. aviation from the mid-1920s through World War II. Although preservation of Arizona's historical railroad and mining locations is common, these original airports and landing sites have been overlooked and only four aviation-related sites are listed on the state's register of historic places.

Arv Schultz, president of the Arizona Pilots' Association, is passionately interested in the preservation of Arizona's historic landing fields. He is active in the association's efforts to rescue these fields by finding creative new uses for them, such as youth aviation academies and camps and educational historic displays.

Schultz presented a lecture and slide show on the subject at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. "There's so many of these little airports," he said Monday, in a phone interview from his home in Phoenix. "Barry Goldwater said he landed in every airport in Arizona. He said there were 200. Some of the older airstrips in Arizona are still in existence. Some were started by ranchers, and some were started by miners."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of Roy Burris, Sr., Mr. & Mrs. Carr, and J. Parker Van Zandt in front of Scenic Airways Inc. plane, ca. 1928]