Copied from the papers of Wilson S. Davis of Clayton, Wilmington, Bishop's Corner and Dover, DE, and Beltsville, MD


Footer

 

 

He Bought the Plane Before Lessons

Evening Journal, Wilmington, Del....Monday, October 30, 1967, p. 30

 

by Deedie Kramer, Dover Bureau

Cheswold -- Floyd Durham bought his first airplane 17 years ago -- before he knew how to fly.

"I'd just always wanted a plane," he explains. "Then I had to hunt around for someone to teach me how to fly it."

Durham's an expert flyer now, has seven planes, and owns and operates the Delaware Air Park near Cheswold, the largest private airfield in Kent County.

It may be that his air park will shortly be the home of the Dover Air Trans, Inc., for a daily shuttle service between Dover and Newark, N.J. If that service goes in, it will be the only regularly scheduled air service out of Dover.'

Durham and Everett R. Hamrick, president of the Dover Air Trans, said last week that a starting date for flights hasn't been set, but they are hopeful it will be this fall.

The airfield started 10 years ago as a backyard landing strip, but Durham found so many fellow plane owners begging for a place to board their planes that in 1960 he converted his private strip into a public one.

There are 32 planes boarding there now.

Besides the airplane hotel business, Durham offers flying lessons and an air-taxi service at the park. There's also a neat brick terminal which is open 24 hours a day for pilots and passengers.

There are coffee, sandwich and candy dispensing machines in the lounge, comfortable chairs, a pool table and plenty of flying magazines.

A new wing provides office space.

Durham said the 2,850-foot, unpaved runway is lighted at nights so planes can land at the field. He said there is not landing fee.

Planes from many places land at his park, and Durham said in one day he could have planes from California, Colorado and West Virginia in and out of his airport.

"It seems as though Dover people don't use the air park as much as people from other places do," he said. "They come here in their planes to visit somebody, find out our strip is here, and land. I have lots of local people come out here to meet friends and tell me they didn't know the strip was here."

This spring, when the idea of a Kent County airport was being tossed about, some people suggested having Durham's park for the county.

"The county airport is a dead issue now," said Durham. "I don't know whether it would have helped me or hurt me."

A Kent County airport is out of the picture at present because of insufficient county funds.

Seven different deeds give Durham ownership to the 50 acres in the park. He made the land purchases in bundles as small as three acres and as large as 14, he said.

"My first idea was to have a small air strip and a place for a few nice homes for people who like flying," Durham said. "But now the strip has take up the home plots. There's land left but it's too close to the strip for homes."

Durham, born in Dover and raised on a farm near Cheswold, suffered from a bone illness as a teenager. While taking treatment at a Philadelphia hospital, he attended high school in that city until the illness forced him to quit school in his junior year.

He says he's a Moor. They are people around Cheswold who trace their ancestors to a clouded mingling of Delaware settlers and Indians.

"My great-grandfather was Irish. That's about all I know about my ancestors," he said. "He married a Moor girl but it's been so long that nobody really knows about the Moors and where they came from. And when some of the old ones were still around and could have told me, I wasn't interested. Now I'd wished I'd asked."

 

Cheswold, Delaware, airport to be sold to state
By D.L. Bonar, Staff writer
Delaware State News 2/14/99

CHESWOLD - Delaware Air Park, a privately-owned airport in Cheswold, will be sold to the state.

Gov. Thomas R. Carper has signed SB 32, which will allow the sale to be completed and the Delaware River and Bay Authority to operate both the Cheswold airport and the John B. Wallace Civil Air Terminal at Dover Air Force Base.

The measure also clears the way for completion of paving at the civil air facility, which will result in 16 additional acres of parking space to handle the overflow crowd of airplanes which fly-in to the civil air terminal during NASCAR races twice a year.

Construction on the expanded apron for parking airplanes will be completed by June, Gov. Carper said.

"This legislation provides the potential for new economic development in Kent County through improved air accessibility and enhancements to the area's transportation infrastructure," Gov. Carper said. "By strengthening air access to Kent County, we hope to increase business opportunities in the region.''

"The management of the terminal by the DRBA brings greater value to the Aeropark," said Daniel Wolfensberger, executive director of the Central Delaware Economic Development Council. "Business executives today want to fly - companies have their own aircraft and they need facilities that can accommodate them.

''Additionally, we expect a growing aircraft presence during the three (also including an IRL race in July) big race weekends in Dover each year," Mr. Wolfensberger said.

Delaware Air Park in Cheswold is an existing airport that is now used by hobbyists, single-and double-engine pilots and the Delaware State University aviation science program. The airport will require substantial upgrades to make it a more viable and well used facility. The airport will be purchased by the Delaware Department of Transportation who will in turn lease it to DRBA for their management.

"Under management by DRBA, we anticipate that the air park will be brought up to speed as we head into the next century," said Delaware Economic Development Director Darrell J. Minott.

Additional provisions of SB 32 include $3 million for expansion and renovation of Sussex Technical High School to build new classrooms, improve library and parking facilities and complete several other repairs and renovations, the governor said.

In addition, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will be authorized to complete the design of a bikeway at Cape Henlopen State Park by the end of June which will connect the northern and southern facilities at the state park, which is located east of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal in S
ussex County.

 

BACK TO ARTICLES MENU

 

 

Footer

 

BACK TO ARTICLES MENU
 
MAIN MENU

 EMAIL US

 

 

MITSAWOKETT

"The History and Genealogy of the
Native American Isolate Communities
of Kent County, Delaware, and
Surrounding Areas on the Delmarva Peninsula
and Southern New Jersey"

 

 

 

Go To E-mail page
All rights reserved.
Not to be used for commercial purposes.
 

 

Footer