Greene County Airport History, Greene County Government, Pennsylvania


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Greene County Airport
417 East Roy Furman Highway, Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Contact Persons: JoAnne Marshall, Communications/Tourism Director

Fort Jackson Building
19 South Washington Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-627-TOUR (8687) / Fax: 724-627-8608
Email: tourism
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m., Monday—Friday

The airport was purchased by the county commissioners in 1936 for the price of $15,054... and activited in December 1937. In the years following its purchase, there were numerous improvements made. In 1958, the main runway (3,500 feet long and 75 feet wide) was paved; lights were added in the early 1960's. During 1972-73, taxiways were constructed and the apron expanded at a cost of about $324,600. A master plan was completed in 1974, and in 1977 the turf runway was abondoned. An access taxiway was built to the T-hangers in 1979-80; and in 1983, a bituminous overlay was applied to the runway, and additional taxiways were built to a new T-hanger. -- Plane photos courtesy of Greene County Living, Observer-Reporter, Fall 2013.

Airport Evolution:     (Information Source: Observer-Reporter, Greene County Living, Fall 2013, Pg 12-16)
As early as 1928, the federal airway extension superindentent, W.O. Snyder visited Waynesburg to discuss the establishment of an airport here in Greene County. Snyder was met with enthusiam by the Waynesburg Chamber of Commerce after taking a look at a field on the George Worley farm, the site of the present airport on Route 21, two miles east of Waynesburg. The field had unofficially been used as a landing site since 1922.

Snyder stated that the field would be ideal for the purposes of an airport, noting how important it would be at this location; explaining that Waynesburg was on the Army air route between Washington D.C., and Dayton, Ohio; where a fully equipped Army base was maintained. He also said that it was difficult to secure good flying fields in the route.

In order to prepare the Worley property for an airport, work on the infrastructure needed to be completed, including a better road leading to the field, construction of a drainage system, and grading of the field. Work began within the year.

In one week's time in 1930 three pilots flew over the landing field, unable to locate it. It became apparent that the field needed to be remarked; improvements were made that would facilitate landing planes. Company K, of the 110th Infantry came to the rescue, volunteering to do much of the labor necessary. The James Farrell American Legion Post, Waynesburg Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce and multiple private individuals also came on board to help.

The grass and weeds even needed to be cut. Donated cinders and old paving blocks would be used to accent the landing circle. Lime was utilized to whitewash the circle. The usage of the airport was limited primarily to emergency landings.

On December 20, 1935, the Worley Field was not exactly a done deal as an airport property. Three other sites were considered; two in Carmichaels and one in Dry Tavern.

It wasn't until June 12, 1936, that work on the airport officially got underway. Newspaper reports blamed the deal on issues over the purchase of the Worley property. Whatever the case was, construction on the $105,000 airport at that location, a Works Progress Administration Project, finally began. Due to a state regulation that disallowed a county to own an airport, the borough became the owners of the new Waynesburg Municipal Airport. In 1941 the borough formed the airport commission.

World War II brought about a civilian pilot training program at the airport, one of many across the country. The trainees were required, upon graduating from the program, to enter the military as Army Air Force Enlisted Reserve. Many of them would go on to receive further instruction and become commissioned as combat pilots. Others became instructors, commerical pilots in the Air Transport Command, or ferry and glider pilots. Under the auspices of Waynesburg College, the local CPTP produced the Army Air Force Southeast Training Command 9th College Training Detachment. Students at the college had the option of taking the training in addition to their regular coursework.

Overall the CPTP or War Training Program, as it was later called, produced 435,165 pilots across the United States as part of the war effort. The military terminated its agreement with the program in 1944 and the program itself ceased to exist two years later.

In April 1944, the title of the airport was transferred to the County of Greene from Waynesburg Borough renaming it to the Greene County Airport. Shortly thereafter, the county commissioners leased the airport to C. Chesney Wood and Frank Jamison, Jr., with the understanding that the county would receive a minimum rental of $50 per month and 10 percent of the gross receipts. Wood and jamison opened a flying struction school at the airport and operated a repair shop.

Airport Damage and Further Construction: (#1 source: Observer-Reporter, Greene County Living, Fall 2013, Pg 12-16. and #2 source: The History of Greene County Pennsylvania, by G. Wayne Smith, Part VI, 1933-1946, pg. 946.)
On June 23, 1944, a tornado ripped through Greene County, devastating the communities of Chartiers, Dry Tavern and Catisle. Local pilots flew blood supplies wround the clock to aid in the care of the victims. Without runway lights at the airport, they landed at night by automobile headlights.

Early in 1946, Dennis Loughman, operator to the Waynesburg and Pittsburgh Local Express Company, established an air transport and freight service at the airport, using two newly purchased Ercoupe airplanes. The first chartered airline trip was made when R.E.B. Springer brought Russell McKee home from a merchandising convention in Chicago.

Near the end of 1946, the county commissioners bought two additional hangers, each with a capacity of five airplanes, increasing the airport's hanger capacity to twenty. At the time, there were twenty-two planes at the airport and eighty students enrolled in flight training programs.

By the end of the decade, a passenger and freight service was operating from the airport. The 1950s brought about blacktopping of a 3,500-ft runway and the start of public air shows. The 1960s brought the addition of runway lights and a restaurant. In 1968 the restaurant opened in the former prop shop, an aviation and pilot's supply store. Through the years the "PropShip," "A.J's Landing,", "Airport Lunchroom," and the "Airport Restaurant,", or A.P.R. to locals have been some of the names of eating establishments at the Greene County Airport.

In the early 1970s, taxiways were added and the apron expanded. By 1974 a master plan for the airport was completed and the turf runway abandoned in 1977. In the 1980s, an access taxiway was built leading to the T-hangers and three years later, a bituminous coal overlay was applied to the runway, and more taxiways to the T-hangers were built.

In the early 1990s, a new administration building replaced the former farmhouse that was used for that purposed. The new building became the home of the Greene County Magisterial District Court 13-03-02 for Central Greene County. It also housed the 911 Center, Emergency Medical Services and Eagle I Aviation. In 2004, when the 911 EMS Center relocated to the corner of Greene & Morris Streets in Waynesburg, the Greene County Tourism Office took over that suite of offices.

The picture on the right depicts the former Airport Restaurant and administration building before and after a controlled five was used to raze it to make way for the construction of the current 1,400-sq-foot building erected in 1992. — Photos provided by Eagle One Aviation (courtesy of Greene County Living Magazine, Fall 2013).

In 2011 the local National Guard Unit (now based at the EverGreene Industrial Park, located behind the airport runways) occassionally conducts air mobility training at the airport. The guardsmen practice quickly boarding and deboarding military helicopters to simulate what they may have to do on the battlefield. For safety reasons, the exercise is closed to the public, although spectators often observe the maneuvers from the airport parking lot; but are asked not to approach the helicopters or the solders on the airfield.

In 2013, groundbreaking was held to construct new T-hangers at the Greene County Airport, the first phase of a business development project at the airport, click here to read more.

Today's Airport: (Information Source: Observer-Reporter, Greene County Living, Fall 2013, Pg 12-16)
Today, the restaurant and magistrate remain. A core group of pilots, members of the experimental aircraft association, continue to operate SOAR of Greene County, a non-profit that promotes the airport.

Through the efforts of local pilots, air shows at the Greene County Airport have continued on and off through the years. Dozens of professional aviators for the airlines got their start at this small municipal airport in Greene County. The group hopes to see many more... and are currently working on plans to ensure that it happens!

The airport has evolved from grazing land and, if the county has its way, will be home to better facilities and retail establishments that will take it even further from where it started in the 1920s. — Photo courtesy of Greene County Living Magazine, Fall 2013, Pg. 16.

Airport Events:
Our airport runways are used throughout the summer for events other than landing airplanes. It has hosted bike races as well as an annual flashlight drag racing.

The flashlight drags are events intended for street legal cars and trucks. A way to street race without the jail time. Both these events are sponsored by the Greene County Commissioners and the Department of Recreation.

For general information, please contact the Information Services
at 724-852-5399 / Toll Free: 1-888-852-5399
Greene County Office Building, 93 E. High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370

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