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Dedication of Tri-State Airport

Huntington Herald-Dispatch
November 3, 1952


12,000 See Airport Dedication

Huntington Puts Itself on Air Map

Randolph Paints Bright Outlook

By Robert D. Horan

Huntington placed itself on the aviation map of the world yesterday when planes from two major airlines landed and officially opened the new modern $1,500,000 Tri-State Airport during dedication ceremonies.

Between 10,000 and 12,000 persons were at the airport to hear dedicatory addresses, inspect airplanes, watch model plane flying and take rides in private planes. State police stationed along the airport access road kept traffic flowing steadily despite the large number of cars.

The first commercial plane to land at the field was an Eastern Airlines Silver Falcon. The twin-engine ship touched down at 1 P. M. after circling the field for two hours waiting for the smoke from forest fires to lift. The plane carried company officials and employes, and a Huntington pilot—Captain Eugene R. Scott—was at the controls.

Smoke Lifts

At 2:55 P. M., a Piedmont Airlines DC-3 landed bearing the president of the firm, Tom Davis. Piedmont will begin regular service from the Airport stating this morning.

Eastern also has been certified to operate here, and All American Airways has an application before the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Early yesterday smoke from the forest fires in the area obscured the airport, but shortly before noon, a breeze from the west cleared the atmosphere and bright sunshine, blue skies and mild temperatures favored the occasion.

Greetings were extended visiting West Virginia and out-of-state officials by Gov. Patteson, who said, “most certainly, the completion of this airport will aid materially the growth of this already outstanding city.”

Governor Patteson praised air travel for its speed and comfort, and added, “I am looking forward to the day when all major West Virginia cities will have regular airline service.”

Boon to Tri-State

The dedication address was delivered by Jennings Randolph, assistant to the president of Capital Airlines, and a former congressman from West Virginia’s Second District.

“I hope this is the beginning of thousands upon thousands of comfortable and safe flights which will move out of here in the future,” Mr. Randolph said, adding that it is “a boon to the hundreds of thousands of persons who live in this area.”

Mr. Randolph described how public opinion of air travel has changed from 25 years ago, when flying was regarded as an adventure and persons only flew because of necessity, to today, when “they don’t think anything about it and get on a plane just as they would get on a train.”

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the past 25 years, and we will make as much progress in the next 25,” he said, adding, “it is not fantastic to think of traveling 600 miles per hour through the air in the near future.”

Expanding Service Air Of Companies

Jennings Randolph, assistant to the president of Capital Airlines, delivering the dedication address at Huntington’s new Tri-State Airport yesterday afternoon, pointed out that $913,000,000 have been spent since 1933 on construction of new airports in the United States, and there are 1,204 planes in regular use in schedules airline flights.

“There were 586 cities in the United States being serviced by schedules airline flights,” he said,” an now, with Huntington, there are 587.”

Twenty-five years ago, Randolph continued, 5,840 persons were flown in one year. From October 1, 1951, to October 1 this year, 26,500,000 persons flew in regularly scheduled flights. During the same period, there were only six accidents with 140 passenger fatalities. He said the low accident rate was reflected by the insurance companies permitting passengers to increase their liability for flights from $25,000 to $50,000.

Ainslie Presides

“A sound civilian and commercial airline operation will bring about better understanding with other countries in the world and will develop more neighborly attitude,” he said.

Master of ceremonies for the dedication was Lee S. Ainslie, chairman of the dedication committee. The invocation was given by Dr. S. Roger Tyler, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. Elmer Canterbury, president of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce, introduced Mr. Randolph.

Mr. Ainslie introduced members of the Tri-State Airport Authority and other persons who were responsible for the building of the new field as follows:

President James Brady of the Tri-State Airport Authority; Frank Heiner, member of the Cabell County Court and vice president of the port authority; Walker Long, treasurer, also representing the Huntington Industrial Corp.; Don Baker, secretary and manager of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce; S. P. Fry, representing the Wayne County Court; Otis Cavendish, Jr., representing the Huntington City Council; Major Payne; Major Paul Shingleton of Kenova; Henry J. Stark, past president, Town Council of Ceredo; Oscar Watts, past president, Wayne County Court; Okey Keadle, ex-officio member and attorney for the authority; Fred R. Palmer, engineer; Frank S. Whitney, airport manager; Rep. M. G. Burnside.

James M. Donohoe, Cabell County Court, Artie Holley, past president of the authority; Hugh Stillman, president of the Huntington Industrial Corp.; William B. Anderson, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce; B. C. McGinnis, treasurer of the chamber; State Road Commission, H. K. Griffith; J. N. Wallace, SRC district engineer; C. W. Koontz, state tax commissioner; Colonel Hubert H. Stark, director of the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission; George W. Pride, assistant director of the commission; Jay McCausland, of Clarksburg, flight inspector for the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

Kenneth Stettler, William Summer and Don Boyd, members of the 1948 airport fund committee; Robert Shank, operator of the first airport in Huntington at Kyle Field; Colonel J. H. Long of the Huntington Publishing Co.; Circuit Judge C. W. Ferguson of Wayne and Mingo Counties; Lieutenant Commander Joseph E. Pillow, district airport engineer; Raymond Brewster, editor of The Herald Dispatch; Clyde Wellman, editor of the Advertiser; W. T. Raymond, assistant vice president of Eastern Air Lines and R. W. King, EAL general traffic manager.

Airline Officials

Arriving aboard the Eastern plane were M. M. Frost, vice president of EAL, representing the president, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker; R. W. King, general traffic manager; W. T. Raymond, assistant vice president; George Martin, assistant supervisor of ground operations in Miami; Pat Pasquale, ground facilities engineer; Sam Noble, display material manager; Alva Sole and C. C. Heffner, Post Office inspectors from Washington, and Earl Whetsell of Charleston, district sales manager.

Aboard the Piedmont ship were Tom Davis, president of Piedmont; R. D. Hager, vice president; H. K. Saunders, director of operations, and E. L. Turner, Civil Aeronautics Authority air carrier aviation safety inspector from Winston Salem, N. C.

Because there are no weather facilities at the field at present, Joseph H. Richter, meteorologist from the U. W. Weather Bureau at Kanawha Airport in Charleston drove here to handle the flights.

While the Eastern plane circled the field, Mr. Richter was talking to Charleston by phone, giving pertinent weather data—visibility, wind and other conditions—which were being relayed by radio from Charleston to the pilot.

The pilot of the Eastern Silver Falcon was Captain Eugene R. Scott, a former Huntington resident who now lives in New York. He was graduated from Huntington High School in 1938 and attended Marshall College. The pilot was John Kleven of Long Island, N. Y.

Captain Scott, praising the field, said “it’s very fine. Of course, it will be a lot better when we get the other runway and some radio aids for navigation.” He said the runway is smooth and the approaches good.

Frequent Service

Mr. Frost said, “I’m very happy Eastern Air Lines is certified to serve here. I think you have a great community and we’re looking forward to when we can start regular service. We feel when we go into a community that we are a party with it and we want to help and do what we can to be of assistance.”

Mr. Davis said of Piedmont, “we have been looking forward to this field for a mighty long time. There’s no question about the need for good and frequent air service in Huntington. Piedmont is anxious to provide the most frequent and most convenient schedule it can for the needs of the air traveler of Huntington.”

He said Piedmont has grown from four airplanes when it began service in February, 1948, to 13 and another will be added by Spring. He said 3,000 passengers were flown during the first month and 23,000 were flown last month. Piedmont serves seven states: West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Inspect Planes

After the dedication ceremonies, thousands watched model plane exhibitions of speed and stunt flying, went through the airplanes or inspected the administration building.

Vice Chairman Jess Boyd of the Airport dedication committee announced the proceedings before and after the ceremonies. He was aided in keeping spectators off the runways by members of the Huntington city police.

State police and Wayne County deputies directed traffic. Ceredo-Kenova High School and Huntington East High School bands played during the day.

Prior to the dedication ceremonies, the Hotel Frederick was host to the committee with a “brunch”—combination breakfast and lunch. Special buses left the Frederick at 1 P. M. for the airport.


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