Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Glimpse of History: An airport tucked in the Somerset Hills, New Jersey

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP — A 1981 U.S. Geological Survey map shows that Somerset Hills Airport was located in the area between Lord Stirling Road and Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, Bernards Township. This undated photo from the airfield shows a Waco UPF7 acrobatics training plane in front of the facility’s lone hangar. 

Airfields-freeman.com reports that the airport was dedicated on Oct. 23, 1932, with three grass runways, and became an Army Air Corps flight training facility from 1941 through 1945. Following World War II, it returned to being a facility serving light recreational and business aircraft, with one runway being paved sometime in the late 1960s. 

As the areas near the airport were developed for residential and business use, the facility’s days became numbered. Writing on the website, Dennis Sandow notes, “The legal issues started when a pilot landed short and hard on the athletic field of the high school about half mile west of the runway about 1980.”

In addition, a 1986 report by the New Jersey General Aviation Study Commission’s Subcommittee on Airport Closings showed the airport’s taxes had risen 500 percent in its last 16 years of operation. By 1983, the airport was not listed as “active” by national flight guides, and the 1986 USGS map listed it as “inactive.”

Story, Photo and Comments/Reaction:    http://www.nj.com