WARWICK — On Sunday, Sept. 17, local officials, including Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton and Councilman Floyd D’Angelo, were among the guests at the annual Warwick. Municipal Airport Tenant Appreciation Day.
Guests enjoyed a static display of antique aircraft, musical entertainment and lots of food.
The town, which leases the field to the Pilots Association, owns Warwick Municipal Airport.
Unlike many of the airport’s community events such as the annual Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) Annual Fly-In, this event is geared to thanking the approximately 50 local pilots and their families who base their aircraft at the airport. And more than a few of the tenants are owners of vintage airplanes with historic manufacturers’ designations like Stearman P17, Boeing P23, Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, Ryan PT-22 and Tiger Moth.
According to “Orange County Airports Past and Present,” by June Simpson, Warwick-Wickham Airport, now known as Warwick Municipal Airport, has a history dating back to 1926 when Mary F. Clark deeded farmland to the Wickham Lake Development Corporation, which had plans for the establishment of an airport for early pilots.
In 1932 development of the airport became a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, which was completed in 1938. By that time, the Town of Warwick had already purchased the 86-acre airport for $5,000.
Ed Gorski, who had served as Amelia Earhart’s mechanic, and his wife, Julia, managed the airport in 1942 when it was selected as a Civilian Pilot Training Program during WW II.
In 1967, the Town of Warwick purchased an additional 41 acres for the airport.
During the 1970s the airport fell into disrepair but in 1983 the Warwick Valley Pilots Association leased the field from the Town of Warwick and immediately made dramatic improvements.
The association also initiated its own “good neighbor” rules and regulations for the direction of flight in the local traffic pattern and banned “touch and go” practice landings and take-offs as well as transient night landings.
“We have a lot to offer here,” said Airport Manager Dave MacMillan. “It’s a beautiful small airport. The views are magnificent. The area is fenced in along with a security gate. And we’re all here to help.”
For additional information, call MacMillan at 845-987-1320.
About the airport
The Warwick Valley Municipal Airport is owned by the Town of Warwick. The Pilots Association leases the airport for approximately $12,000 per year and pays an additional $10,000 to 12,000 per year in taxes on its buildings.
No taxpayer money is used to support the operation of the airport.
In addition to maintaining the runways, hangers, parking areas and so forth, the association also maintains 130 acres of pristine open space.
The Warwick Valley Pilot’s Association’s mission is to support and promote aviation interests in this community on a non-profit basis and all revenues are used for operational expenses and upkeep.
Like the vast majority of airports throughout the world, Warwick Municipal Airport is a non-towered field and all activity can only be estimated at approximately 1,000 transient arrivals and 4,000 local landings per year. Practice take-offs and landings are not permitted and the airport is closed to transient traffic from sunset to sunrise.
Traffic patterns are designed to avoid flying over the more populated areas of the town.