National Aviation Week

This week (August 16-22) is National Aviation Week.

Dedication exercises of the Tri-Cities Airport, November 5, 1937.

Dedication exercises of the Tri-Cities Airport, November 5, 1937.

Celebrated annually during the week of Orville Wright’s birthday, the goal is a week of education, awareness and celebration of all things aviation. In celebration of National Aviation Week, I thought it would be appropriate to share a brief history and a few photographs of the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Crowd at the dedicaton, 1937.

Crowd at the dedication, 1937.

The Tri-Cities Regional Airport was originally opened as McKellar Field, in dedication of Senator Kenneth McKellar, an avid supporter of aviation in Tennessee.

Aerial view of Tri-Cities Airport landing strip and surrounding area, 1949.

Aerial view of Tri-Cities Airport landing strip and surrounding area, 1949.

The airport began as a collaborative, cost-sharing effort between Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport and Sullivan County to build a regional airport that would serve the aviation needs of the area, as the smaller airfields in each city were no longer practical.

Airport ternial and plane, 1946.

Airport terminal and plane, 1946.

A Tri-City Airport Commission was formed to develop and operate the airport. The commission was made up of representatives from Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City and Sullivan County. In 1935, plans were put into motion to construct the new airport.

Palne on runway, 1946.

Plane on runway, 1946.

The airport was dedicated as McKellar Field on November 5, 1937. The new airport had two small runways, a terminal building and an aircraft hangar that was completed at an estimated cost of $800,000.

The Southeastern Aviation, Inc. hangar and airplane, 1961.

The Southeastern Aviation, Inc. hangar and airplane, 1961.

For more information on the history of the Tri-Cities Regional Airport visit the archives and check out the Airport’s website.

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