All posts tagged 'Bowman Field' - Page 2

Aviation Poker Run to benefit the WHAS Crusade -- JOIN US SATURDAY

[youtube:aBbRhWNzQbQ]

 

Once again, GlobalAir.com and Eagle Aviation are sponsoring an Aviation Poker Run this Saturday at Bowman Field (KLOU). Planes take off at 10 a.m., following a pancake breakfast. They will make stops in Frankfort (KFFT), Lebanon (K6I2), Bardstown (KBRY) and Elizabethtown (KEKX) before returning to Bowman for a Spaghetti lunch, live music and plenty of family-friendly activities.

 

In addition to plane rides and other events throughout the day, there will be a Monte Carlo event to raise money, in addition to a silent auction. Prizes include a golf foursome at Wildwood Country Club, four tickets to the Kentucky Derby Museum and Flight Sim time in a UPS full-motion simulator.

 

GlobalAir.com owner Jeff Carrithers and Eagle Aviation owner John Prestigiacomo sat down with Renee Murphy on WHAS11 News at noon to discuss the event. Watch the interview here and read more of their coverage here.

 

We thank them for helping to get the word out. We also thank the Louisville Regional Airport Authority and LouisivilleMojo.com for its Love is in the Air event.

 

We hope to see everyone there Saturday. Pilots can register in person at the Aero Club of Louisville or online at this page.

Louisville's Seaplanes: History of a landlocked city and its naval aircraft (part 2)

The following is by Louisville historian R. David Schooling. Images are used with implied permission. Read Part 1 here.

 
The Grumman Widgeon was a large, generously appointed, six-place amphibian that Thompson also owned and kept in the Kentucky Flying Service hanger at Bowman Field (LOU), but he frequently flew it into and out of his personal  seaport on the wharf at 2nd & River.

This plane, along with the Piper J-3 and the two Seabees, presented an unusual visual impact attracting curiosity seekers crossing the bridge or entering Louisville from U.S. 41-River Road or arriving or departing train passengers along the elevated track of the Illinois Central atop the wharf  glancing out of their train windows down at the activities on the riverfront. This was an era preceding modern freeways, newer Ohio River bridges and one in which trains still ran.

 
The largest amphibian ever to splash into Louisville's wharf was the
massive Curtiss NC-4 four engine plane. This record setter was the
world's first aircraft to cross the Atlantic. The Nov. 11 & 12  Louisville
visit was 
part of the 1919 goodwill tour.
Photo courtesy the Bowman Eagles Flying Club.

There is some historic record of an earlier attempt to start up seaplane operations in Louisville, perhaps as early as the 1920s. Take for instance the intriguingly named firm dating from July 5, 1920 called the "Ohio River Aero Transport Company."

This company likely was directly connected to a short-lived airmail service using small flying boats operating between Cincinnati and Louisville, mentioned in archived newspaper clips. Further detail about  these  operations  are  unavailable. Thompson’s Seaplane Base operated for a number of years during the mid-to-late 1940s and early 1950s. Details of its closure are uncertain, but Louisville's Seaport and Mr. W.C.Thompson were both widely known and fondly remembered.

 

Without doubt, the largest and most historically notable amphibian aircraft to ever slice her keel through the waters of the Ohio River and pull up to the Louisville wharf was the gigantic, four-engine NC-4 flying boat, which made the first ever Trans-Atlantic crossing.  

Here are some of the impressive statistics for this craft: Wingspan 168 ft.- Power plant- Four 400 h.p. V-12 engines, Fueling Systems Nine 200 gallon fuel tanks with 1,800 gallons of fuel aboard, Operational weight 28,000 lbs. Crew of Six, Dual open-air pilot and navigator cockpits, bow and aft machine gun ports and hatches.

The NC aircraft originally was designed for anti-submarine patrol duties. After its record setting achievement, the NC-4 aircraft was dismantled and shipped back to the States on the USS Aroostook. The crew returned to the United States via the transport USS Zeppelin to the Navy port at Hoboken.

After much pomp and celebratory receptions for the crew’s  achievement, the NC-4 was reassembled and assigned to a schedule of goodwill tours throughout eastern and southern ports. It was flown up the Mississippi to St. Louis, where it officially was transferred by the US Navy to the Smithsonian Institution. After St. Louis, the aircraft made its way to Louisville’s Ohio Riverfront wharf only five months after its achievement at Lisbon, Portugal for viewing by appreciative Louisville citizens at the Ohio River on Nov. 11 and 12, 1919.

Numerous Louisville pilots received water ratings and seaplane training in one of the various Thompson aircraft, flying in and out of the Louisville seaport with W.C."Tommy" Thompson instructing at their side. The wonderful color photo taken under the bridge would have been nothing short of spectacular had all of Thompson’s seaplanes been in a single picture. This story is but one tiny portal into Louisville's long-vanished waterfront, which still holds many similar historic gems.

For posterity sake the research alone has been quiet an adventurous trip.

 

 


W.C.Thompson and friends at the  2nd & River Louisville Seaport

R. David Schooling is a freelance author and historian based near Louisville, Ky., with deep interests in little-known aspects of the area's history. He has written numerous articles and has been published widely, in local and regional publications, especially urban-affairs issues.
An Air Force veteran who served in Japan and Europe, he eventually was assigned and detached to the Royal Air Forces in Germany. Now retired and living just across the Ohio River in Clarksville, Ind., he is working on his latest endeavor, historic electric railways. Inter-urbans, elevated’s and rapid transit were all abundant in Louisville years ago.

Louisville's Seaplanes: History of a landlocked city and its naval aircraft (part 1)

The following is by Louisville historian R. David Schooling. Images are used with implied permission. Part 2 will be posted next week.

 
Piper J-3 Float Plane, photo courtesy Gary J. Nokes co-author of "Wings over the Falls"

 

During the years following World War II, just in the east shadow of the Second Street Bridge, stood the fully operational Ohio River Seaplane Base, with several aircraft making their fascinating water skimming takeoffs and landings.

The owner-operator was St. Matthews resident W.C. Thompson, nicknamed "Tommy.” Much of the following details are from interviews with William Happel, founder of Haps Aerial Services and Haps Airport in Sellersburg, Ind.

During and prior to the war years, Mr. Thompson was happily providing flying "hops" and flying instructions at Bowman Field (LOU). At the time, he owned a Piper J-5 Cruiser, which was a souped-up version of the Piper J-3 aircraft shown above in the floatplane configuration.

In 1942, U.S. Army air forces took over Bowman Field and converted it to Bowman Army Air Base. The biggest assignment for the field was the training of air-combat glider pilots and combat-air evacuation nurses.

This instantly made Bowman one of the busiest airports in the nation. It was suddenly overcrowded, and its new mission of nonstop training activities practically squeezed out civilian operators who had been using the field for some number of years. This issue led to the total destruction of Thompson’s aircraft.

One of the glider pilot trainees managed to crash his glider into Thompson’s Piper, which ended up destroying both aircraft.   

Mr. Thompson’s government reimbursement was to be stretched out for a long time. He did not receive his payout until sometime after World War II.   

It was during this timeframe that Thompson decided to open his "Seaport" on the Ohio River. At one time, he had at least three water-based planes operating: the yellow Piper J-3 floatplane in the bridge picture and two unique and attractive "Seabee" aircraft, shown below skimming along on a water takeoff.

 


Courtesy of the Seabee Owners Club


The excitement of water takeoff and landing was a novelty for sure and a big attraction, especially as far inland as Louisville. The business prospered for several years with only one slight mishap.

While landing one of his Seabee’s, Thompson’s aircraft sputtered, gasped and nearly ran out of fuel. He was forced into an emergency downriver flight over the dam and onto narrow turbulent waters. The unexpected ditch landing did some damage to the aircraft, but it is recollected as being minor.

Least you are thinking, "Hey wait a minute. There is something very familiar about that plane." You are correct. You probably remember seeing the same aircraft in the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun.

The widespread appeal of this aircraft proved long lasting, not only in the 1940s but years later, as an exciting transport gadget for Mr. Bond. At least after his over-the-dam ditch landing, a dwarf manservant serving up bottle of Dom Perignon didn’t greet Mr. Thompson.

This author's recent discovery that Thompson at one time owned other flying boats such as a Grumman Widgeon and even a second "Seabee" amphibian was a quiet unexpected turn. Most of these were stored at local airports rather that at the river location for logistics reasons.  

Aside from the pier and floating dock, the Louisville Seaport also had a small onshore building used for parts storage and maintenance items. It was nothing elaborate, perhaps one of the Municipal Wharves smaller, unused buildings. The municipal wharves complex, however, was quiet elaborate at one time. William Happel of Haps Aerial recalls buying a propeller at this location from Thompson.

 


W.C. Thompson’s Republic RC3 "Seabee" amphibian in the Ohio River

R. David Schooling is a freelance author and historian based near Louisville, Ky., with deep interests in little-known aspects of the area's history. He has written numerous articles and has been published widely, in local and regional publications, especially urban-affairs issues.
An Air Force veteran who served in Japan and Europe, he eventually was assigned and detached to the Royal Air Forces in Germany. Now retired and living just across the Ohio River in Clarksville, Ind., he is working on his latest endeavor, historic electric railways. Inter-urbans, elevated’s and rapid transit were all abundant in Louisville years ago.

 

 

Bowman Field celebrates 90 years

Our offices sit below the control tower at historic Bowman Field (LOU) in Louisville, Ky.

Its historical society cheered 90 years of history at the airport over the weekend. Local news coverage of the event, including video, can be found here.

To read deeper into what once was the busiest GA airport in the country, check out a brief history of the facility here.

Later in the week, we will post a deeper look at the history of amphibious naval aircraft in the area.

Aviation News Rundown: A tribute to a local friend of the airport, plus news on the Boeing 787 and Cessna Citation

Longtime Bowman Field (LOU) airman Richard C. "Dick" Mulloy died Saturday. That is Mulloy above, in an image furnished by the Aero Club of Louisville, which published this about his life:

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Dick distinguished himself by playing in each of the post prestigious New Year’s Day Bowl games: The Sugar Bowl in 1940, the Rose Bowl in 1939 and the Orange Bowl in 1938, all for the University of Tennessee.

 

In addition to his football at Tennessee, he played football and baseball at St. Xavier High School in Kentucky, and was named All-State during his senior year. Once at Tennessee, he earned three letters in football and three in basketball. His 1940 football team was undefeated, untied and never scored on.

 

While at Tennessee he learned to fly, and in 1941, he entered the civilian pilot training program and later became a pilot instructor in the U. S. Army Primary Flying School. Later during World War II, he went to work for Chiang Kai-Shek under contract to the Chinese National Airlines flying “The Hump” across the Himalayas.

 

Following the war, Dick returned to Louisville and formed Kentucky Flying Service at Bowman Field. He built the organization over the years, operating out of the large hangar where they overhauled, maintained and sold aircraft.

 

In addition, Dick is credited with training more pilots than anyone else in this part of the country.

 

In 1987, he sold Kentucky Flying Service, and in 1992, he sold Helicopters, Inc., completing 47 years of operations at Bowman Field.

 _____________________________________________________________________________

 

In the news today, Benet Wilson of Aviation Week cites JP Morgan as saying the business jet market is "still in the doldrums," but recovery may only be a few quarters away. On the commercial side, the ax of poor economy continues to strike, as Reuters reports that Bahrain's state-owned Gulf Air has cut 500 jobs in the past six months.

On the positive side of commercial aviation, something that and can be seen as good news for Boeing's next generation of aircraft, the Gerson Lehrman Group notes that for every airliner cancelling a 787 order, another eager buyer is willing to take its place.

Finally, here are two industry announcements worth noting. Cessna introduced a program yesterday to reduce lead times for interior refurbishments on older Citations by stocking pre-selected, certified interior materials under a new program.

While the NBAA touted a resolution from the United States Senate that applauds general and business aviation for its efforts to provide relief to Haiti following the devastating earthquake in that nation early this year.

GA aircraft made more than 4,500 flights to Haiti during the first month following the disaster — when the airport and infrastructure were in shambles. At the same time, business aircraft performed more than 700 flights, transporting 3,500 passengers and delivering in excess of 1 million pounds of cargo and supplies.

End of content

No more pages to load