July 2018

302 303 SPARTANBURG DOWNTOWN MEMORIAL AIRPORT SPARTANBURG DOWNTOWN MEMORIAL AIRPORT HISTORY AND COMMUNITY AT A GLANCE SPARTANBURG DOWNTOWN MEMORIAL AIRPORT WHAT: A general aviation airport WHERE: Spartanburg, South Carolina WEBSITE: www.cityofspartanburg.org/airport S partanburg Downtown Memorial Airport is a public-use facility where almost 60 percent of traffic is business related and approximately 40 percent is recreational flying. It is the largest asset owned by the City of Spartanburg, South Carolina. The general avia- tion Airport’s users include corporate jets, emer- gency medical and organ transplant flights, car- go, and military aircraft. In addition, the Airport provides assistance to law enforcement opera- tions, search-and-rescue missions, and wildlife and forestry monitoring. It’s also home to flight schools, the Civil Air Patrol, and the Spartanburg Pilots Association. Opened in 1927, Spartanburg Downtown Memorial celebrated the 90th anniversary of its construction, this past May. “The reason the airport was built was, at that particular time after World War I, there were a lot of pilots coming back from the Europe and a lot of avia- tion was just starting out in the United States,” explains Airport Director, Terry Connorton. “Some visionaries saw the possibility of using airplanes for some type of commer- cial use. So, a mail route was devel- oped from Washington, D.C., down to Atlanta. On May 1, 1928, at 9:00 P.M., the very first mail plane landed here, which made this the very first commercial airport in South Carolina. That’s one of our claims to fame.” A grand opening was held that October, an event highlighted by the attendance of Charles Lindbergh,