1943 Bradford-McKean Airport

1967 Bradford-McKean Airport

2007 Bradford Regional Airport

visit the official
Bradford Regional Airport website
Historical Newspaper Articles On The Bradford Regional Airport
Newspaper Article Menu
Bradford on Airline Map After Years of Work
McKean Airport Wins Praise From Federal Board

United Completing 3 Years Service At Mt. Alton Port
Additional Airline Service Here Gets CAB Authorization
New Device to Guide Aircraft Into Field
Bradford-McKean Port to Add Small Fire Truck With State Aid
Airport Has Become Municipal Field In 19 Years
AF Delegation May Visit City Next Month to Inspect Airport
ILS Tested at Airport Here
Local Port High In Passenger List
New Airport Device Helps 'Lost' Get 'Found' Again
New Doppler DF Makes a 'Save'
Local Airport Runway Job Is Nearly Completed
High intensity lights, ILS okayed at local airport; installed by October
Work Advances On Airport ILS
Bradford on Airline Map After Years of Work
Bradford Era September 8, 1948

Commercial Airport Idea First Conceived In Minds of City Officials 12 Years Ago

Today Bradford is on the map of one of the country’s great airlines. But behind this milestone of progress in the history of the city, lies a stirring saga of men with grim determination, indomitable spirit and foresight to see this public service through to the finish.

It was not a simple task. It was a thankless job that covered a span of 12 years of dogged work, headaches, setbacks, criticism and opposition from various quarters.

But the spirit of the men who achieved this goal is commensurate with the spirit of the early oil pioneers who sparked Bradford to its great position in the petroleum world of today. With men of their caliber, the future of this city will always be assured.

But let’s leave the present and go back 12 years when the commercial airport idea first was conceived in the minds of city officials.

It is a cold February day in February of 1936, when a crew of men, headed by City Engineer J. Henry Quirk, undertake a survey of a possible airport site on a snow-covered hilltop four miles northwest of Bradford near the head of Bennett Brook on city-owned property.

The project was to be financed by the Work Progress Administration and the WPA had requested a survey of the site so an estimate of cost could be determined. However, the WPA funds were not furnished to carry out the work and the site was temporarily abandoned.

In the next three years, an Airport Committee representing McKean County, had turned up with several probable sites. On the evening of June 28, 1939, the Airport Committee presented the airport problem in McKean County to J. J. Quinn, aviation inspector of the Pennsylvania Division of Aeronautics and Albert H. Wessel, district airport engineer for the CAA. The various sites were suggested.

Later Mr. Quinn and Mr. Wessel personally inspected the proposed sites located at Lafayette, Mt. Jewett, Lantz Corners, Kane, Zella Hills and Marshburg. An original copy of their report was sent to Raphael Kessler, chairman of the county airport committee. The county committee had, in addition to a Bradford committee, been scouting for an airport location.

The local committee consisting of Ralph Zook, Frank Brewster and Barney Kirsch was informed of the county’s efforts in June 1940, in a letter from Mr. Wessel. Mr. Wessel outlined the inspection trip of suggested sites the previous summer. Mr. Wessel’s letter followed a trip by Mr. Quirk to Harrisburg to discuss with Mr. Wessel the possible construction of an airport for Bradford and the finding of a suitable site. Mr. Wessel said he would be glad to inspect any other sites offered by the committee and reassured the local group that his office would cooperate in the development of an airport in this vicinity.

The original Bennett Brook site was proposed to the CAA. But the CAA rejected the location because it was not centrally located in the county.

By a stroke of luck, Mr. Quirk discovered the Mt. Alton site a short time later. Flying over the county in a plane piloted by Joseph Fields, manager of the Harri Emery Airport, Mr. Quirk spotted the Mt. Alton site, and quickly appraised its excellent possibilities as an airport location.

The local committee submitted a possible layout of development at the Mt. Alton location to Mr. Wessel who concurred that the site offered good opportunities for the establishment of an airport.

By August 1940, the city committee had joined forces with the county committee to determine the most suitable site and to determine if the property could be secured at a reasonable price.

Early in 1941, Mr. Quirk had contacted Col. Robert Olds, of the Air Corps as to the position of the northwestern Pennsylvania and the Grade Crude oil region in the national air defense picture. The War Department later informed Mr. Quirk that his brochure of the area would be studied and considered.

The support of business and industrial leaders of the county came on June 16, 1941, at a meeting in the Bradford Club. The group unanimously resolved that McKean County should avail itself of the opportunity to obtain the airport tentatively approved by the CAA, The group requested the County Commissioners to furnish $25,000 for the purchase of the necessary site.

The next day, City Council, by resolution, agreed to furnish a suitable airport site and sponsor the project if federal funds were made available for the airport. The resolution was contingent on McKean County’s purchase of the land, later approved by the commissioners.

Two months later, City Council named the city engineer, Mr. Zook, Otto Koch, Mr. Brewster and Mr. Kessler as a committee to acquire a site for the McKean County Airport “under terms and conditions to be approved by Council and the McKean County Commissioners and proceed to acquire same by condemnations proceeding it necessary.”

On Oct. 20, 1941, City Council passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of 600 acres of land near Mt. Alton for transformation into the airport at a total cost of $25,013.06. The property was acquired from the following interests: Bingham Petroleum Co., Anna Gates, Mt. Jewett Catholic Church, South Penn Oil Co., Sylvania Corp. (gas lease) Erie Railroad, F. W. Paul Estate and Byron W. Pierce.

First inspection was made by Col. Herbert D. Vogel, executive officer, and Col. Hooper, district engineer, then from the office of U. S. Engineers, Pittsburgh. Later Col. Vogel succeeded Col. Hooper as district engineer.

The plans called for clearing and grading and were prepared by the U. S. Engineers at Pittsburgh. The work commenced on April 17, 1942 and was carried on under adverse weather conditions through summer and fall of that year. The completed work included the clearing and grubbing of 305 acres and the excavation of 400,000 cubic yards.

In June 1943 the city of Bradford was notified by the CAA that the completion of the grading, additional clearing, drainage installations and the paving of two runways was to be completed under the design and direction of the U. S. Army engineers with offices at Baltimore, Md. The Mt. Alton airport was to be a standby defense field.

The work was got underway on July 4, continued under favorable weather conditions and was completed by Oct. 13, 1943. The project included two one hundred foot wide runways 4,500 feet long, one taxiway and a warm-up apron. Also, 5.12 miles of drainage pipe was laid, shoulders were prepared and dressed extending 200 feet on each side of the edge of the runways. The entire area between the runways was also graded adjacent to the proposed administration building area.

Col. William C. Sale, area engineer from the Baltimore office was in charge during this phase of the work.

By this time the total cost of the entire work had approximated $900,000.

While Mr. Quirk was in the service during World War Two, Acting City Engineer Sam Heffner was in charge of the airport expansion.

The first news that Bradford would get regularly scheduled passenger-mail-express service by air came late in 1943.

Bradford was named as an air line stop on one of five applications which United Airlines had filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington for added service to areas adjacent to its present transcontinental airways in the East, Eastern Canada and Midwest. United’s officials, in a conference with Mayor Hugh J. Ryan, commented on the fine layout of the Mt. Alton site.

The Bradford Aviation Commission was appointed in August 1944, by act of City Council to control, maintain, and operate the airport following its transfer to the city by the United States Army. Members of the commission are Mayor Hugh J. Ryan, chairman, ex-officio, Mr. Zook, vice chairman, H. W. Loveland, treasurer; Guy L. Hughey, director of public property; Orville Scott, county commissioner and Hector P. Boncher, director of construction.

At present there is one vacancy on the commission caused by the resignation of B. M. Kirsch. He resigned due to the small portion of his time now spent in Bradford.

Since its establishment, the commission has accomplished the following:

1. An area survey completed in 1945 to justify the airport expansion program.

2. Solicitation of funds totaling $178,000 of which $128,000 was donated by private citizens and industry, $25,000 by the city of Bradford, and a like amount by McKean County.

3. Erection of three hangars: one in 1946, the second in 1947 and the large executive-type hangar in 1948. These two smaller hangars are the t-type.

4. Completion of an overall or master plan to be realized in four stages, the first stage of which is now underway.

5. Completion of detailed plans for an administration building.

6. Securing of north-south and east-west air line service by All American Aviation Inc., and the United Airlines, respectively.

7. Establishment of a GI school of instruction.

8. Securing of the necessary funds to provide the adequate facilities for the launching of main line air service today.

Funds for the present construction at the airport have been supplied from the following sources:

The CAA, $200,000; Pennsylvania Aeronautics Commission, $100,000; and the City of Bradford, McKean County and Aviation Commission, $100,000, each paying one-third, over a period of three years starting in 1949.

Work underway now includes entrance road paving, construction of a service road, taxiways, aprons, sewage, public utilities, a modern administration building.

A small, but handsome temporary terminal has been erected to handle passenger service until the administration building is completed. The terminal houses the waiting room, ticket office, two-way radio system, United’s teletype system, and offices.

Completion of the first stage of the administration building is expected within one year. The building will be expanded over a period of 10 years.

On July 20 of this year, the Bradford Aviation Commission was notified by United that passenger operations would be inaugurated here in September. About a month later the starting date was pegged for Sept. 8.
return to top
McKean Airport Wins Praise From Federal Board
McKean County Democrat April 19, 1951

Nearby Airport on Paying Basis: 8,800 Passengers Last Year

Bradford-McKean Airport at Mt. Alton has been spotlighted as one of the most outstanding small air operations of its kind in the East.

This high acclaim comes from the New York regional headquarters of the Civil Aeronautics Authority and was revealed last week by Albert Wessel, district engineer of the CAA, on the occasion of a visit to Bradford.

According to Mr. Wessel, CAA officials in New York have been amazed by the record of the Bradford-McKean Airport in its brief history.

"Frankly, there were some doubts when this Bradford Airport was constructed." stated Mr. Wessel. "Recently in New York they were looking around at small airport operations and were unanimous in their selection of Bradford as the most outstanding example of unusual success."

Mr. Wessel also said that CAA officials from New York plan to visit Bradford soon for a first-hand study of what has been happening since the start of commercial aviation on Sept. 8, 1948.

In this respect, Mayor Hugh Ryan of Bradford pointed out that during the year 1950, the Bradford-McKean Airport handled a grand total of 8,800 passengers. The peak month was August, with 1,140. And since the erection of additional safety features, the percentage of landings jumped from 50 in March of 1950 to 93 in March of 1951.

Mayor Ryan also announced that the airport now is paying its own way. "In fact," the mayor said, "we now are showing a small profit of about $500 a month on our operation at Mt. Alton."

While in the figure department, the mayor pointed to the airport as a $1,371,000 project at the moment. Bradford contributed $55,000 of this, the county $79,277, public subscription $175,000 and the balance from state and federal funds.

Runways, administration building and other facilities at Mt. Alton all have received high praise from visitors. A delegation of officials and other leading citizens of Beaver, Pa., flew to Mt. Alton in a chartered airliner last week to inspect the airport.

The field now it being served daily by two commercial airlines.

Construction of the landing lights, halted during unfavorable weather, will be resumed soon and J. Henry Quirk, Bradford City Engineer, predicted last week that the lights will be in operation before many months.
return to top
United Completing 3 Years Service At Mt. Alton Port
McKean County Democrat August 2, 1951

Nearly three years of passenger-cargo service by United Air Lines at Bradford-McKean County Airport will be climaxed Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11-12 with the dedication of the field's new terminal building.

On Sept. 8, 1948, a United DC-3 landed at the then brand-new Mt. Alton airport to begin a period of constantly expanding operation between the Bradford area and United's nationwide system.

The beautiful, modern terminal building is a testimonial to increased air traffic through Bradford-McKean Airport and corresponding need for improved ground facilities.

Passengers boarded at Mt. Alton during the first six months of 1951 totaled 1,346, a marked increase over the 995 figure recorded for the same period in 1950, according to Station Manager Robert Wahlquist.

Walquist listed the following figures for outbound air cargo during the first half of 1951:

-1,084 pounds of air mail
-6,888 pounds of air express
-3,286 pounds of air freight

These figures indicate substantial cargo volume increases in mail and express over 1950, and a slight freight decrease.
On Oct. 1, 1950, air service to the Bradford-McKean County Airport was further improved by establishment of the Philipsburg-Bradford Airway in cooperation with the Civil Aeronautics Administration. The new airway permits United Air Lines planes to make flights to and from the Mt. Alton airport by instrument navigation, thereby increasing dependability of United's service.

United's current Bradford-McKean schedules offer one flight daily each way, connecting with cross-country service from the Atlantic seaboard to California, the length of the Pacific Coast, and to Hawaii.
return to top
Additional Airline Service Here Gets CAB Authorization
McKean County Democrat April 16, 1953

New vistas of air transport utility were envisioned for Bradford-McKean Airport at Mt. Alton in wake of two significant Civil Aeronautics Board authorizations announced in Washington Monday. CAB authorized Allegheny Airlines to inaugurate a new Cleveland-New York City route which will also offer area residents alternate direct service to Harrisburg, among other communities, for the first time.

Also approved, was an application by Mohawk Airlines to extend its present service in New York State to Mt. Alton.

These moves were hailed in Washington this week by David L. Miller, Allegheny Airlines vice president for traffic and sales, as "bringing within realization the long hope that Mt. Alton would become one of the most important air transport hubs in the Northeast."

Jamestown Remains

At the same time, CAB granted the AA petition suspending service at Dunkirk-Fredonia, N. Y., new on its two-state Buffalo-Pittsburgh route through Bradford-McKean Airport. Another request to eliminate Jamestown from the same route was not granted.

Mr. Miller stated the CAB earlier was made effective not late than June 9. Initially, at least two daily flights in each direction over the new East-West route will be made. He said the airline expects to announce the new schedule soon.

It was emphasized that the new service will not disturb the present routings from Bradford-McKean Airport, with the exception of the Dunkirk-Fredonia suspension.

The new route would link, in order, Cleveland, Erie, Jamestown, Bradford, Williamsport, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre and New York City. Summer service will also be available to and from Stroudsburg as soon as airport facilities are provided.

New Service

Mr. Miller also revealed that some of the flights over the same route will be diverted at Williamsport to Harrisburg, Lancaster, Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia and Atlantic City, giving this area direct AA service to those places for the first time.

The CAB authorization for Mohawk Airlines to operate from Bradford-McKean Airport extends to Elmira-Corning, N. Y., joint airport.

However, Mohawk now services Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse and Albany, and it is presumed that Mt. Alton will be added to that belt to supply direct service to those New York cities.

Elimination of the Dunkirk-Fredonia stop will speed up service between Bradford and Buffalo. Mr. Miller said AA will renew its efforts to remove Jamestown from the route, an eventuality which will provide non-stop service between Mt. Alton and Buffalo.

The addition of Mohawk will give Bradford-McKean Airport its third airline. United Air Lines will continue its once daily flights in each direction along its Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Bradford, Philadelphia and New York route.
return to top
New Device to Guide Aircraft Into Field
McKean County Democrat August 20, 1953

Located on United States government property at the highest point in Mt. Alton, exactly one air-mile northeast of Bradford McKean Airport, is a strange-looking structure known as an "Omnirange."

When the installation of equipment is complete within the next five weeks, the Omnirange will be able to guide aircraft coming from all directions safely into the airport - no matter how dense or stormy the weather.

Constructed By CAA

Otherwise known as a very-high-frequency radio navigational aid, the Omnirange is one of about 400 now set up throughout the country, according to John J. Minchik of Bridgeport, Conn., the installation supervisor. The aids are financed and constructed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration for the benefit of commercial and private planes, he said.

Mr. Minchik, who works out of the CAA regional office at Idlewild Airport, New York City, said yesterday that of all the Omniranges he has supervised, "this is the smallest community to get one." A crew of three CAA men began installation Tuesday morning.

There are two basic features of the Omnirange, the supervisor explained: (1) D.M.E., or distance-measuring equipment; and (2) V.O.R. or very-high-frequency Omni-range. Each feature is transmitted to the airplane pilot through two dials.

One of the distance-measuring dials in the plane would tell the pilot his exact distance - in miles - from Bradford-McKean Airport. The other dial would tell him whether he is approaching or leaving the port.

One V.O.R. dial in the plane is pre-set for the direction - in compass points - of the local port in relation to the previous port encountered. The other would tell the pilot whether he deviates either to the right or left of his course.

In addition, continued Mr. Minchik, the V.O.R. transmits at 30 second intervals the code name of the airport that the Omnirange serves.

Here is an illustration of how the Omnirange works:
A pilot is approaching the Bradford field at a distance of 15 miles. Dial "A" would indicate 15 miles. Dial "B" would read "to." Dial "C" would be pre-set, for example, at 20 degrees. And Dial "D" would show with a vertical needle that the plane is "on the beam."

If the airship deviates from its course one way or the other, the vertical needle would swing to that side, and the pilot would correct his path of flight. Every half-minute, the pilot would receive by radio the code name for the local port, possibly "BRA" in Morse code.

Mileage Needle Explained

As the craft nears the airport, the mileage needle would show in continually-diminishing numbers the exact distance. As the plane passes over the port - if not stopping there - the "to" needle moves over to indicate "from." And as the plane heads away from the field, the mileage needle would indicate in continually-increasing numbers the exact distance.

Assisting Mr. Minchik with the installation are Sian Salamon of Schenectadv, N.Y., and Thomas Twomey of the Bronx, N.Y.C. Both are radio technicians for the CAA. During the installation period, Mr. Minchik and Mr. Salamon are quartered on Elm St., and Mr. Twomey is living at the YMCA.

The Omnirange is housed in a two-room building, one containing the radio equipment and the other housing an emergency gasoline motor-generator in the event that outside electric power fails. In the radio room, two transmitters will be installed - on automatically taking over if the other fails.

Two CAA maintenance men, Mr. Minchik related, will be assigned to periodically check the equipment. Eventually, he said, it is hoped to have alarms installed at the airport indicating any trouble at the Omnirange.
return to top
Bradford-McKean Port to Add Small Fire Truck With State Aid
McKean County Democrat January 14, 1954

Bradford-McKean Airport will add modern firefighting apparatus to its facilities later this month, the Bradford Aviation Commission was advised Tuesday. It was reported to commission members meeting in Bradford City Hall that the Jeep fire truck, ordered by the Commission and recommended by the Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Pennsylvania Aeronautics Authority, would be delivered before the end of January.

Cost of the truck, which includes dry chemical equipment, will be about $3000 - half of which will come from state funds.

Nears 60,000 Mark

As of the end of the year, Bradford-McKean Airport recorded passenger travel of 59,162 people boarding or leaving planes since the inception of commercial airlines service in the fall of 1948. In making that report, David Scott Jr., executive vice chairman of the aviation group, said that 1953 had been a record-breaking year.

During the 12-month period, 10,136 boarded commercial planes here while 8,977 deplaned at the area airport for a total of 19,113 passengers. That compared with a total of 12,026 boarding or leaving planes at Bradford-McKean in 1952. Of that number, 6,600 emplaned here while 5,426 arrived.

December, 1953, totals were somewhat less than double of 1952, Mr. Scott added. Last month, 883 boarded planes here while 830 had Bradford-McKean as their destination for a total of 1,713 passengers. In December of 1952, the totals were 557 boarding and 423 arriving for a total of 980 passengers.

94 Pct. Operations

Of the 3,776 flights scheduled at the area airport in 1953, there was 3,542 operated, for a percentage of 94. That compared with a 1952 showing of 90.9 percent based on 1,969 flights operated out of 2,165 scheduled.

In December of last year 352 of the 416 flights scheduled were operated for a percentage of 84.6. That compared with a December, 1952, rating of 87 percent with 162 out of 186 scheduled flights being operated.

Mr. Scott said that the low December 1952 figures were the result of weather conditions, in some cases at terminal points of the flights rather than in the Bradford area.

"In no case," he said, "was the drop-off in percentage of operated flights due to the condition of the runways here but it was caused by air conditions at the time of the flights.

Cited As Record

These would either be low ceilings or ice conditions in the air. So far as the yearly operations are concerned, the 1953 percentage of 94 percent operation is the best we have had at the Bradford-McKean Airport."

R. C. Schumn, United Air Lines station manager in Bradford, commended Airport Superintendent Frank Stack and his associates for their efficient snow removal operations and general airport maintenance.

Mayor Joseph L. Hinaman introduced a newly-appointed member of the commission, Councilman John L. McCutcheon. Mr. McCutcheon, commissioner of parks and public property, pledged his full cooperation in airport activities. Also introduced was the other new members of City Council, David J. Kreinson, a guest at the meeting.
return to top
Airport Has Become Municipal Field In 19 Years
McKean County Democrat November 24, 1960

It has taken 19 years for the Bradford-McKean Airport to grow from a World War II defense landing strip into a $2.2 million modern municipal airfield.

Tuesday night those who made this progress possible were honored at the Pennhills Club. Their contribution helped put Bradford and McKean County on the aeronautical map.

On hand for the event were state, county and city officials, representatives of the Federal Aviation Agency, Allegheny Airlines, both aviation boards and the honored guests.

The airport donor list includes:
D. T. Andrus, Bradford Producing Co., Bovaird & Co., Bradford Supply, Bradford Motor Works, Bingham Petroleum Co., Bovaird and Seyfang Manufacturing Co., E. W. Bisett & Son, Clark Brothers and W. R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co.

Also on the donor list are: Dresser Manufacturing Division, Charles H. Duffy, Forest Oil Corp., Hugh A. Grant, Mrs. Elizabeth George, Hanley & Bird, Kendall Refining Co. and Otto Koch Sr., and Kayes Motor Sales.

Others who were saluted:
Lloyd Smith Co., Minard Run Oil Co., Myron W. Malson, Northeastern Container Corp., Pennsylvania Electric Co., Quaker State Oil Refining Corp., Mrs. Marian Rohrer, Reclamation Supply Co., H. A. Rich and South Penn Oil Co.

Also saluted Tuesday were:
Sloan & Zook Co., Mrs. Laurie Satliff, Speer Carbon Co., Stackpole Carbon Co., Mrs. Ida Sloan, Tide Water Pipe Co., United Refining Co., Van Der Horst Corp. of America, Zippo Manufacturing Co., Ralph T. Zook and Michael Baker Inc.

The history of the airport dates back to the late 1930's. Otto Koch Sr., Ralph T. Zook, and J. Henry Quirk, then Bradford's city engineer, along with a number of business leaders, were advocating the benefits of air transportation to the community.

In 1940 an aviation committee had been organized and in October of 1941, less than two months before the outbreak of World War II, Bradford City Council authorized the purchase of 693 acres of land near Mt. Alton at a cost of $25,940.

The money was appropriated by the city of Bradford and McKean County.

U.S. Allocated Funds

The same year the federal government, under the Civil Aeronautics Authority's defense landing area program, allocated $981,000 for clearing, grading and construction of two 4,500 by 100-foot runways.

Work was started at the airfield by the U.S. Corps of Engineers in April of 1942 and completed in September of 1944. The field was never used by the armed forces and was eventually turned back to the city.

The Aviation Commission was appointed in 1944 to control, maintain and operate the airport. At the end of the war, when the airfield was turned over to the city, all that the commission had to work with were the two paved runways with one taxi strip.

Since that time, however, the airport has continued to grow. Federal and state governments have put $1,730,000 into the airport. Public subscriptions raised $200,000, the county has contributed $150,000 and the city $120,000.

Hangars Built

Since the day at the end of World War II the commission has constructed two metal "T" hangars, a brick "executive type" hangar, the administration building, field lighting (high and low intensity), a complete sewage system, a 50,000 gallon water supply, a paved apron for loading and unloading, parking facilities, gasoline services of 80-90-100 octane, grass and brush cutting equipment, snow removal equipment and fire fighting equipment.

In 1958 the primary runway was extended 500 feet to a total of 5,000 feet to accommodate larger planes and the loading apron was enlarged and two additional taxi strips were constructed.

In 1959 the primary runway was resurfaced and additional field drainage was installed.

This year the secondary runway was repaved and reconditioned. No major work was necessary on either of the runways during 10 years of use by the commercial and private planes.

Paid for by FAA

Navigation and landing aids have been installed at or near the airport, and in all cases, except for the rotating beacon, paid for and serviced by the Federal Aviation Agency.

Present operation of the airport amounts to approximately $75,000 per year. This operation had been on a break even cash basis until the last two years. The commission has never had to use monies received from any governmental body for the operation of the field.

Landing fees, rentals, airplane repairs, gasoline and oil sales and gasoline servicing, car storage and parking and concessions account for the income earned by the field.

About 90 percent of the income earned is from outside of the area, while 95 expenditures are made in the area.

Regularly scheduled commercial airline service started at the airport on Sept. 8, 1948, with United Air Lines furnishing two flights a day - one east and one west.

Control Tower Planned

In 1949 the All-American Airlines, now Allegheny Airlines started operations at the airport with two flights a day - one north and one south. Flight service has grown from the two flights a day to 21 flights by Allegheny each day. In 1959 there were 52,929 passengers carried on flights from the local airport. During the 12 years of operation the airport has accommodated over 325,000 passengers.

Currently the Bradford Aviation Commission is working on plans for a control tower as well as an instrument landing system which would mean better flight operations as well as additional safety at the airport.
return to top
AF Delegation May Visit City Next Month to Inspect Airport
McKean County Democrat April 26, 1956

Mayor Hugh J. Ryan of Bradford has been informed that an Air Force delegation may visit this area about May 25 to inspect Bradford-McKean Airport as a possible location for the Air Force base which will be moved from the Greater Pittsburgh Airport.

In a telephone conversation with Col. John C. Kreiger of Salamanca, Mayor Ryan was told that Col. Kreiger has personally contacted Major Gen. Roger J. Brown, commandant of the First Air Force at Mitchell AFB, Long Island.

The general has been notified of local interest in the installation being moved here and has indicated he desires to inspect the airport.

Gen. Brown is schedules to visit Niagara Falls Air Force Base on May 24 and it is expected he will be able to arrange to visit the local airport the following day.

Mayor Ryan said he has been notified the unit to be moved from Pittsburgh is a very large one, perhaps too large to be moved entirely to Bradford-McKean Airport.

He said there is a plane under consideration to break the installation up into two or three segments in which case there is more than an even chance that the local airport will receive favorable consideration.

Mayor Ryan has called a meeting of the Bradford Aviation Commission at 4:30 p.m. today at City Hall at which Col. Kreiger will outline more detailed information on the proposition.

In the meantime, Rep. Leon H. Gavin of Oil City has conferred with Air Force headquarters in Washington and has recommended Bradford as a possible site for the base.

Mayor Ryan said that as soon as he receives definite word as to the date for Gen. Brown's visit he will submit the names of a welcoming committee to City Council.
return to top
ILS Tested at Airport Here
Bradford Era February 7, 1964
By: Agnes Palazzetti
Era Staff Reporter

Bradford-McKean Airport officials answered without hesitation when the Federal Aviation Agency asked: “Can we borrow your airport to test out some new ILS equipment?” The reply was a quick “yes” because as past performance has proved, local airport personnel are anxious to do all possible when it comes to expansion and improvement of facilities.

ILS (instrument landing system) has been used at large airport for several years but its cost of about a quarter of a million dollars made it prohibitive for smaller ports. However, the new ILS device, if proved successful, could conceivably be installed for about $50,000.

Why ILS testing and why at Bradford? Simply because the Bradford port with its heavy traffic (there are some 6,000 scheduled flights annually from the local facility) and its variety of weather, plus the fact there was another small port nearby with considerable traffic and certainly comparable weather—Jamestown, N.Y. This offered the FAA the ideal set-up for accumulation of competitive test data. An ILS test program is being carried out simultaneously at Jamestown.

George Lawrence of Atlantic City, N. J., project manager in charge of the installation, says the new ILS device could prove to be the aid that would permit plans to land under advert weather conditions. It is anticipated that at least 30 percent of the existing over-flights could be eliminated resulting in a more dependable flight schedule.

Mr. Lawrence, who is with the FAA’s research and development division, was quick to point out during the interview that “ILS is only an aid. It will help bring the pilot to the airport, center his plane with the runway through the localized and by means of the glide slope indicator, establish a glide angle for the airplane to descend. The final decision to land must still be made by the pilot together with advice from the local flight service station.”

The new system will be tested exhaustively at both Bradford and Jamestown for about a year and a half to two years before the FAA reaches its decision as to whether or not it should be made available for general use.

Test period will be worked out utilizing planes from probably seven of the smaller airlines (all without passengers) as well as a specially equipped FAA research plane.

Presently, standards call for visibility of 400 feet and one mile. ILS is expected to reduce the ceiling requirements to 200 feet and a half a mile.

Another facet to be examined during the test period is the standards required of a port before installation of ILS. Established standards call for the airport to have runways of 150 feet width, 500 feet length plus another 100 feet of length for each 1,000 feet of altitude, a control tower and no obstructions within 350 feet (trees, for example).
return to top
Local Port High In Passenger List
McKean County Democrat August 12, 1964

Bradford-McKean Airport ranks among the highest in the nation in supplying passenger traffic for local service airlines, an extensive survey by Flight Magazine indicates.

The area airport is second in originating passengers for Allegheny Airlines among all airports on the system where local service airlines are certified exclusively. With 19,958 boarding passengers in 1963, Bradford-McKean is exceeded only by Erie Airport, with 34,961.

Bradford-McKean is the 13th greatest passenger traffic producer among airports served by Allegheny. First is Philadelphia, according to 1963 totals, with 161,758. Next four in line are Pittsburgh, Washington, New York (Newark) and Harrisburg.

The area field has the unique distinction of being the 17th greatest traffic producer in the entire nation among airports served exclusively by local service airlines during 1963. Utica, N.Y., a city of about 100,000 population, if first, with 66,877 passengers.

Of all cities in the nation served by airlines, Bradford-McKean rates 97th in number of originating passengers. Chicago is first with 569,823. New York is second and Washington is third.

Pittsburgh is fourth and Buffalo, N.Y. is 28th. Olean, N.Y. is in 452nd place.
return to top
New Airport Device Helps ‘Lost’ Get ‘Found’ Again
McKean County Democrat February 2, 1967
By: Joe Sweeney

“Bradford Radio, where am I?”

This place – in many different forms – will be heard from more and more these days from pilots who lose their way in northwestern Pennsylvania or western New York.

The pilot will be calling the man operating the Doppler DF (VHF-UHF direction finder) which was installed recently at the Bradford-McKean Airport and commissioned Thursday, Jan. 19.

At the airport, a pilot will find himself in touch with one of seven air traffic control specialists (flight service specialists) who are directed by Malcolm Wakefield, chief of the flight service station. They are James F. Huff, Richard O. Slover, Benjamin J. Hummel, Neil W. Hoffmier, William E. Hurrle, Gerald O. Crowell and Paul E. Gibbons.

The flight service operation goes around the clock, seven days a week, of course. And that calls for a lot of maintenance, which is performed under the direction of Robert Zande, chief of the airwave facilities sector (electronic maintenance). His staff of three technicians includes Robert Patton, Richard Hardy and John Hordubay.

The equipment itself costs $90,000 including installation. The direction finder antenna sits upon a 75 foot-high tower, which is done up in the traditional airport red and white, candy stripe pattern.

The Doppler DF is installed, financed and operated by the Federal Aviation Agency.

The Doppler DF works with radio waves and the receiver resembles a small television set. A pilot who loses his way calls the man at the Doppler DF and asks for a steer or bearing. Then by simply pressing the button on the radio transmitter the pilot sends a signal to the receiver. This beam is picked up on the set and – zing – a strobe light flashes across the screen from the center (antenna) to the plane (direction). This, of course, establishes the direction of the plane from the airport.

So now we know the plane is, let us say, due south of the airport. But how far?

The direction finder can tell us a direction in a hurry, but the distance is another matter. To fix the position another procedure is called for. One method – the best – is for Bradford-McKean to call in another airport with the direction finder equipment and ask them to get another bearing on the lost plane. Two airports in the area used for this procedure are Phillipsburg, about 65 miles south of Bradford-McKean, or Buffalo about 90 miles in the other direction. Thus planes in a radius of 75 to 100 miles from the airport can be assisted by the DF.

Another method of finding the position can be done by the Bradford-McKean radio. This is done by telling the pilot to make a 90 degree turn and fly a certain distance at a known speed and then make another right turn establishing a new heading. And by calculating the distance between the two courses it is possible to figure the plane’s distance from the airport.

Thus, with course and distance both calculated, the plane’s position is known. Then, the pilot can be given instructions which will bring him to Bradford-McKean if he must land, or he can continue on toward his destination.
return to top
New Doppler DF Makes a ‘Save’
McKean County Democrat February 2, 1967

Bradford-McKean Airport’s new Doppler DF system made a “save” Thursday afternoon.

A pilot, en route from Florida to Canada, called in at 4:01 saying he had flown into a valley “and the weather has closed in around me.” Caught between two layers of clouds, the pilot was unable to determine his position.

He added he had only 40 minutes of fuel left in his Beechcraft, which was carrying three passengers too.

The pilot sent a radio transmission and there he was (the plane, that is) on the DF screen, off to the northeast. The operator sent him through a quick 90 degree turn for a certain distance, turned him back towards the airport, and came up with the distance – 12 miles.

At 4:25, the plane was safely on the Bradford-McKean Airport runway. And the four decided to stay overnight before continuing their trek.
return to top
Local Airport Runway Job Is Nearly Completed
McKean County Democrat November 21, 1968

The 1,500 foot extensions and 50 foot widening of the main runway at Bradford Regional Airport are completed to the point where the additions may be used in emergencies, Frank E. Stack, airport manager, said Sunday.

Begun last May by the F. M. Brown Construction Co. of Clearfield, the $693,220 project entailed extending the northwest end of the runway by 1,000 feet, the southeast end by 500 feet, adding 25 feet to each side of the runway for a total of 50 feet widening, resurfacing the entire runway and installing the required high intensity lighting systems.

“The construction work on the runway itself is finished,” said Mr. Stack. “We expect to have the extensions to the runway officially opened for use sometime next week,” he added.

“The recent bad weather has delayed work on some of the grading and the installation of lights,” Mr. Stack said, “but the entire project should be finished by spring.”

F. Wayne Fesenmyer, chairman of the Bradford Regional Airport Authority, said the runway construction work is now “ready for its final inspection and acceptance.”

The upgrading of the Bradford Regional Airport runway began when the airport authority accepted the Federal Aviation Authority’s offer of $402,000 early last year. The offer was made on the condition that the five interested counties – McKean, Cameron, Elk, Potter and Warren – would raise $200,000 and the State of Pennsylvania an equal amount.

It was agreed that the five counties would bear the division of their $200,000 in direct proportion to the amount of air passenger and freight traffic they generated at the airport. Based on that premise, following percentages were drawn up for the counties: McKean – 44.5 per cent; Warren – 24 per cent; Elk – 22 per cent; Potter – 5 per cent and Cameron 4.5 per cent.

At the same time it was agreed that the authority would be composed of 10 members, again each county to be represented in proportion to the amount of airport business it generated. McKean was allocated four positions, Elk and Warren two each and Cameron and Potter on position each to make up the body.

The completed construction work on the runway has, in effect, nearly doubled the original strip’s size. The added width is needed to handle aircraft with larger wingspans and the 1,500 feet of additional length brings the strip up to requirements laid down for the high speed jet and turbo jet planes now using the airport.

The runway now measures 6,500 feet by 150 feet or 975,000 square feet of black-topped surface capable of handling the latest feeder airline type aircraft.
return to top

High intensity lights, ILS okayed at local airport, installed by October
McKean County Democrat March 6, 1969

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen Hugh Scott and Rep. Albert W. Johnson announced Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration has promised to install an instrument landing system at Bradford (Pa.) Regional Airport and a high-intensity light system as well, all by October, 1969.

SEN. SCOTT said "I am profoundly relieved that Bradford (regional airport) has, at last, been promised a high-intensity lighting system for its runway approach. Perhaps as important, " he continued , "is the ILS systems will be installed, not after another winter of storms, danger, and suspended air traffic, but by October, 1969."

The Bradford Airport was originally scheduled to receive a medium-intensity lighting system, but Rep. Johnson and other area leaders and aviation officials felt that the medium-intensity lighting system was insufficient for the airport due to the adverse weather conditions to which the area is frequently subjected.

REP. JOHNSON announced that he has been informed by the FAA that a $681,643 contract has been awarded to the Airhorne Instrument Laboratory, a division of Cutler-Hammer, Inc., at Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y., for 10 complete instrument landing systems (ILS).

"I expect the ILS to be installed at Bradford Airport by the Fall of 1960," Rep. Johnson said. "I am sure this system will be a great asset to a fine airport, and the entire area will benefit."

HE CONTINUED, "The Bradford Regional Airport is now the number one airport in the United States as far as instrumental landing approaches is concerned, and I am very pleased that this airport will receive the equipment which it deserves."

In his Friday announcement, Sen. Scott also said, "I give credit to the combined efforts of citizens and the Bradford Regional Airport Authority and its chairman, F. Wayne Fesenmyer, and to Rep. Albert W. Johnson and the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce Aviation Committee under the direction of former Bradford mayor Dr. Hugh J. Ryan. I was pleased to have been able to play a role in getting this vital equipment. I think it is an outstanding example of citizen participation in government, and I am highly pleased with the results."

ON FEB. 18, Rep. Johnson, members of the Airport Authority, and various other area leaders met with D. D. Thomas, (continued on page 6)

return to top
Work Advances On Airport ILS
Bradford Era August 21, 1969

Work is progressing on installation of the instrument landing system (ILS) at Bradford Regional Airport, Mt. Alton, under supervision of the Federal Aviation Agency
Frank Stack, airport manager said Wednesday that the system should be functioning by October.

Workmen under supervision of the FAA have constructed a wood and steel platform at the northwest end of the main runway. Localizer antennae will be installed here.

The antennae will send out a vertical radio beam that will direct airplane to the runway.

Near the platform is the transformer that will supply power to the antennae.

At the other end of the runway, preparations are being made for installation of apparatus that will send out a glide slope radio beam. The transformer for this has been installed.

Mr. Stack said the beam from this apparatus will fan out horizontally. Pilots staying on the beam will descent at the proper angle for landing. Mr. Stack said tests by the FAA show this beam will reach out as far as 30 miles southeast from the runway.

Pilots will use the guide slope beam to keep their airplanes at proper altitude and the localizer antennae, at closer range, to line up directly with the runway.

Marker beacons are being installed out from the runway to further aid pilots about to land. One such beacon will be a mile out, the other about four miles out.

Also to be installed are approach lights, at the southeast end of the runway. The lights have arrived and will be installed soon, Mr. Stack said.
return to top