A Legacy of Flight: Celebrating Aviation History Month at Statesville Regional Airport
A new era began for the City of Statesville, North Carolina, as the skies above our city saw a profound transformation. With the opening of the Statesville Regional Airport, the community embarked on a remarkable journey. For nearly 88 years, this aviation hub has remained a beacon of innovation and a lasting tribute to the enduring spirit of flight.
As we celebrate Aviation History Month, let's delve into the legacy of flight that thrives at the Statesville Regional Airport.
'The Statesville Regional Airport was built around 1935,” explains Airport Manager, John M. Ferguson, “and it was just a small little sleepy grass field airport. It went through some changes that you would expect over the years. In the 50’s they paved the main runway and then in the 60’s, added a North-South runway. But, to be honest, the main catalyst that really caused this Airport to expand was in 1999, when they closed the north-south runway and turned it into a taxiway which allowed people to build hangars.”
“The first person to build a hanger on that taxi way was Dale Earnhardt Sr., the race car driver,” Ferguson continues. “He built a hangar for his aircraft and also started a FAR Part 125 private carrier called Champion Air and he was flying some of the crews for the races.'
'That was one of the catalysts that started some of the other drivers saying, ‘Hey I could have the same thing.’ So, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. built his hanger next to Sr. and it all began.” Over the years, other drivers such as Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Martin Truex, Jr., and others have their aircraft in hangars on the field, which has led to a pretty significant NASCAR contingent.'
A New Chapter: The City Assumes Control
On February 1, 2019, a significant milestone unfolded in the airport's history. The City of Statesville assumed control of the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) operations, marking the dawn of a new era in service and dedication. This strategic decision not only reaffirmed the airport's unwavering commitment to excellence but also reinforced its deep-rooted connection with the community it serves.
A Strategic Gateway to the Sky
Statesville Regional Airport boasts a strategic location, nestled alongside major interstates, including I-40 and I-77. This unique positioning makes it a crossroads of convenience, offering easy access not only to I-85 but also to key thoroughfares such as I-95, I-81, I-20, and I-26. This geographical advantage has undeniably contributed to the airport's substantial economic impact.
Economic Impact: Strengthening the Local Economy
The airport's impact on the local economy cannot be overstated. It serves as a vital transportation hub for businesses and individuals, contributing to increased commerce, tourism, and job opportunities. The economic stimulus generated by the Statesville Regional Airport has a far-reaching effect, benefitting the entire community and surrounding regions.
Community Connection: Embracing Local Values
The airport's deep connection with the community is one of its defining features. It extends beyond the economic benefits and encompasses a sense of shared pride and accomplishment.
Aviation History Month: Celebrating a Legacy
As we observe Aviation History Month, it's an ideal time to reflect on the rich heritage of the Statesville Regional Airport. The airport has borne witness to decades of flight, innovation, and progress. It stands as a symbol of Statesville's resilience, growth, and commitment to the future of aviation.
The Statesville Regional Airport is more than just a transportation hub. It's a testament to the legacy of flight. As we celebrate Aviation History Month, let us honor the journey that began in 1940 and continues to shape the skies above Statesville today. The airport is not just a piece of infrastructure; it's a source of inspiration, pride, and connection for the City of Statesville and all who have the privilege of visiting its runways.
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