Business View Magazine November-December 2018

72 73 CHICAGO EXECUTIVE AIRPORT back in the “barnstormer days,” says Jamie Abbott, the Airport’s Executive Director.The landing strip was purchased one year later by two brothers, Frank and Pete Burchard,who dedicated about 40 acres of their adjacent farm to the facility. “It was just a large chunk of grass with no real dedicated runways,” says Abbott.“Aircraft could take off and land in any direction according to the wind. The Burchards built hangers, they bought a plane and hired flight instructors, and they opened a fixed- based operator,which is basically a private terminal building.We have three at the Airport today.They did things like fueling airplanes and cars, back then. It was called Palwaukee Service Station because Palwaukee represents the intersection of Palatine Road and Milwaukee Avenue.” “A group of Lake Forest, Ill., businessmen pur- chased the Airport in 1928 and began investing money to upgrade it”, says Abbott. For the Century of Progress, held 1933-1934 to mark Chicago’s cen- tennial, they built a hangar for the Goodyear Blimp, which later became owned and operated by two amphibious aircraft providers that provided sight- seeing flights. DuringWorldWar II, the then Palwau- kee Airport supported the war effort by taking part in the Federal Civilian Pilot Training Program and creating an active Civil Air Patrol Squadron. “After the war, the Airport was briefly owned by Oliver Parks,who was expanding his operations outside St. Louis where there’s still a Parks flight training school,” says Abbott.“During that time, Palwaukee expanded to 109 acres,with a gravel runway and about 100 individual T-hangars.” After being acquired by the Priester Aviation Ser- vice in 1953, the privately-owned Airport entered a period of growth.Abbott says the Priester family continued to enhance the field over the next 33 years.“They installed lighting, paved runways, and by 1959, the Airport had four runways.They start- ed to do some navigational improvements - a VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range) was established in 1961, new corporate hangars, and then the current Runway 1/6 was installed at 5,000 feet,which we are today. In 1967, the FAA commissioned the first air traffic control tower, and some more parallel runways and taxiways. In 1974, the FAA installed the ILS (Instrument Landing System),which is in use today. Back then, the traffic count was about 200,000 take-offs and landings, annually. It was a real bustling airport at that point.” Prospect Heights andWheeling purchased the Airport in December, 1986, transforming it into a municipal facility.An inter-governmental agreement was established,which created the Board of Direc- tors that governs the facility.The Board is comprised of three members each from the two municipalities, as well as a chairman. Abbott explains that becoming a municipal airport opened the door to being able to receive grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and