June 21, 1997 in Washington Voices

Glory Days Of Felts Airport Was Once One Of Busiest In Nation, Hosting National Guard Unit, Visit By Lindgergh

 

Valley Voice, June 26, 1997: CORRECTION Lt. J. Buell Felts, for whom Felts Field was named, was killed when his plane crashed in the Parkwater area of the Spokane Valley in 1926. The site of the crash was incorrectly reported in a photo caption in Saturday’s Valley Voice.

Felts Field timeline

1903: The Wright brothers fly at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

1919: Land set aside for the Upriver Municipal Golf Course made into an airfield.

1920: The first hangar built at the airfield.

1924: In August, Washington’s first National Guard Aviation Unit, the 116th Observation Squadron is assigned to Felts Field with Major John T. Fancher as commanding officer.

1925: In March, three airplanes arrive by train for the National Guard. They have to be assembled by guard members and since there was no money for engine oil, one of the squadron’s members gets local companies to donate “samples.”

1925: To augment its budget, the Guard throws an air circus in September. Estimates of the crowd vary from 10,000 to 30,000. One plane crashes, killing two pilots.

1927: During the summer, Charles Lindbergh visits the airfield after having completed his historic trans-Atlantic flight in May of that year.

1927: On September 23, the field was dedicated to Lt. J. Buell Felts, who was killed in a plane crash there.

1930: The Spokane Sun God, flown by Nick Mamer and Art Walker, completes a record-setting, non-stop transcontinental flight from Spokane to San Francisco to New York and back to Spokane.

1941: In May, a 77-tent city formed on the edge of Felts, housing hundreds of soldiers preparing for WWII.

1947: Spokane takes over Geiger Field, which becomes unseats Felts as the landing strip for large, commercial passenger airlines. Geiger is later named Spokane International Airport.

1968: A 65-foot control tower, costing $310,000, is dedicated at Felts Field.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 5 Photos

MEMO: See related story under the headline: Felts Field flyover

See related story under the headline: Felts Field flyover

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