York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Where was York County’s earliest documented airstrip?

About 50 airports or airstrips have operated in and around York County, Pa., since the 1920s. Kampel Airport in Warrington Township is one of the grass airstrips still in operation. In this York Daily Record/Sunday News file photo from 2006, Bill Luther has just received a ride in a Boeing Stearman PT-17 for his 85th birthday. Luther trained during World War II to fly Boeing Stearman PT-17s. Other posts of interest: First York Airport’s administration building stands today and Just try to resist studying this memory-tugging photograph and U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way, Part III: ‘We would watch the dragsters on trailers head for Thomasville’.

Aircraft still land and take off from many of the 50-something airports that have operated in and around York County.
The York Airport is the best known example.
Some of the airports are now plowed under… .

For example, Spry’s Kelsey Airstrip operated in a field now occupied by the York Township police station and adjoining community park. And Red Lion area’s Dairyland Shopping Center sits on the former Warner Airstrip.
John F.M. Wolfe provided details for about these airports in his “Profile of Aviation.”
He writes at length about the airport along Haines Road that opened in 1930 and the Roosevelt Avenue airport that operated for a decade after 1946.
Interestingly, Wolfe noted that the Stony Brook Army Air Field preceded the Haines Road/Fayfield airport by five years. This is the earliest airport covered in Wolfe’s detailed work.
That early strip ran in the Springettsbury Township region later occupied by Campbell Chain and Motter printing press company.
Barnstormer Karl Ort flew from that field.
“A favorite feat of his,” Wolfe wrote, “was to fly over a town and toss out cigars attached to small parachutes which advertised the ‘Uncle Green’ cigar.”