The Municipal Airport and the War Department


This article appeared in the City of Dayton Annual Report for 1942, pages 5-6


The Municipal Airport and the War Department

 by George M. McSherry



     Dayton’s Municipal Airport, located near Vandalia and approximately eleven miles north of here, is a million-dollar asset to the City of Dayton and its people. Since 1936 it has handled an ever increasing amount of commercial and private air traffic. The growth of business gave unmistakable evidence that the long anticipated Air Age is now actually here. Even the most skeptic persons are forecasting an unlimited future for aviation in all of its many phases.

     After Pearl Harbor an immediate and ever increasing activity at the two military fields adjacent to the Municipal Airport was plainly evident, as was the widespread training of pilots both here and elsewhere. We saw the manufacture of aircraft increasing by leaps and bounds and we knew of the President’s quota of production for the year. Now it is a recognized fact that an airplane cannot fly safely unless it can land safely, and that is dependent upon the facilities provided by airports, which also must determine the size and performance of future aircraft. So it was apparent to the management of the local field that soon both Wright and Patterson Fields would be overtaxed due to the many and varied experiments and operations being conducted there, and that continued enlargements would soon reach an end, and unless solved in some way would jeopardize their highly serious and vastly important work. Before the opening of hostilities Dayton had in mind a program of improvement and enlargement of the Municipal Airport consisting of added acreage, the construction of a modern Administration Building, increased lighting facilities, the lengthening and widening of runways and removal of certain obstructions to good flying conditions – all with the thought in mind of better taking care of the increasing air passenger and cargo traffic and the future expected certainty of new business after the war. Officials of the War Department also sensing these readily apparent facts, began negotiations with local municipal officers for a mutual use of the airport on a [p. 5] non-exclusive basis. This has now been accomplished and many of the needed improvements heretofore mentioned are being done now under governments contracts for the especial and immediate need of the War Department – all of which, of course, will accrue to the benefit of the Municipal Airport when the emergency is over.

     It will be then that the airplane and this airport will begin to serve its more useful Wright intention, and bring men, municipalities, and business closer together again in a better and bigger way than ever before. [p. 6]