Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Northeastern Pennsylvania

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 5/25/14.

This site covers airfields in all 50 states: Click here for the site's main menu.

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Birchwood Pocono Airport (revised 5/25/14) - Lehighton Airport (revised 1/8/12) Merrill-Ronne Airport / Matamoras Municipal Airport (revised 5/25/14)

Tobyhanna AAF / Betts AAF (revised 1/8/12) - Scranton Municipal (revised 5/25/14)

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Lehighton Airport, Lehighton, PA

40.83 North / 75.72 West (Northwest of Philadelphia, PA).

A 1938 aerial view of Lehighton Airport (courtesy of Chris Kennedy), showing the circular airport symbol in the center.



According to Bob Beck, “Lehighton Airport was established by Martin Jensen in 1928.

After 2 years it was taken over by Jake Arner.”



The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo)

described Lehighton as a commercial airport, “adjacent to fair grounds within city limits to the west”.

The field was said to consist of a 50-acre rectangular sod area measuring 1,800' x 1,450'.

A hangar was said to have “Lehighton” on the roof.



The earliest photo which has been located of Lehighton Airport was a 1938 aerial view (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

showing the circular airport symbol in the center.

The field consisted of 2 grass runways, with a hangar & another small building on the northeast side of the field,

around which were visible at least 2 small planes.



Lehighton Airport, as depicted on the 1943 USGS topo map.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Lehighton Airport

as a 54 acre irregularly-shaped field having 2 sod runways, measuring 1,800' ENE/WSW & 1,400' NNW/SSE.

The field was said to have a single 120' x 80' concrete block hangar.

The airport was described as being owned & operated by private interests.



Lehighton Airport, as depicted on the 1945 Washington Sectional Chart.



A 1952 aerial view showed 5 single-engine aircraft parked around Lehighton's hangar.



A 1962 aerial view by Marv Ritter looking northeast at the snow-covered turf runways of the Lehighton Airport.

Marv flew out of Lehighton in the early 1960s.



The last chart depiction which has been located of Lehighton as an active airport

was on the 1965 Washington Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).

It depicted Lehighton as having a 1,600' unpaved runway.



Bob Beck recalled of Lehighton Airport, “I learned to fly there in 1965 & remember many old pictures on the walls.”



The last photo which has been located showing Lehighton Airport still in operation was a 1970 aerial view,

which showed 3 single-engine aircraft parked around Lehighton's hangar.



Bob Beck recalled, “Lehighton Airport was... operated by Jake Arner until it was closed.

It was closed & replaced by the Carbon County Airport about 1970.”



Lehighton Airport was still depicted on the 1985 USGS topo map with 3 unpaved runways.



The 1999 USGS aerial photo showed that the site of Lehighton Airport had been used to construct a high school.

The slightest traces were still perceptible of the former north/south & east/west runways,

but there did not appear as if any buildings still remained from the airport.



A 5/28/08 aerial view showed no trace remaining of Lehighton Airport.



The site of Lehighton Airport is located west of the intersection of Union Street & South 9th Street.

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Tobyhanna Army Airfield / Betts Army Airfield, Tobyhanna, PA

41.2 North / 75.42 West (West of New York, NY)

Tobyhanna AAF, as depicted on the 1957 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).



This small military airfield was located on the grounds of the Tobyhanna Army Depot.

The military first established an artillery training ground on the site in 1912.

 

Tobyhanna was selected as an anti-aircraft artillery training site in 1941,

but this use did not last for long, as the size of the property was not sufficient for modern AAA guns.

Later in the war, Tobyhanna began to be used as a depot.

During WW2, Tobyhanna had several designations,

including the Army Air Force Service Units Training Center & the Tobyhanna Air Corps Storage Depot.

A variety of supplies & material was stored here,

most notably crated gliders destined for use in the D-Day invasion of Normandy & other airborne operations in Europe.

 

After the end of WW2,

one activity conducted at Tobyhanna was the disposal of excess gliders stored at the installation.

These were made available for sale to the general public & proved quite popular.

More than 450 were sold at a grand total of $75 each.

Ironically, it was not the powerless aircraft which local residents sought,

but the high-quality lumber that made up the glider's storage box.

This wood was converted into home additions, porches, and even small cottages by many area residents.

The gliders themselves often were discarded or abandoned in the woods.

 

The military departed from Tobyhanna in 1945, but then reestablished the base in 1951.



Only a "warehouse" (no airfield) was depicted at Tobyhanna

on the 1952 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe),

and the airfield was not yet depicted on the January 1955 NY Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



According to Frank Zardecki (Deputy Commander of the Tobyhanna Army Depot),

Tobyhanna AAF/ Betts AAF was in operation [starting] from 1957.

The airfield was used to perform retrofit & upgrade of avionics equipment.

The depot airfield had a 1,150' x 50' macadam runway.

The airfield facilities consisted of a control tower, a 60' x 120' Butler-type hangar, lighting, hardstand, refueling and emergency facilities.”



The earliest depiction of the airfield which has been located

was on the July 1957 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe),

which labeled it as Tobyhanna AAF.

It was described as having a single 1,250' hard-surfaced runway & its own control tower.



The runway was located adjacent to the east side of the large complex of depot buildings.

The airfield was built to serve the needs of the depot,

like several other Army depots which had similarly sized small airfields (like the Sacramento Army Depot).

 

A 1957-59 aerial view looking west at Tobyhanna AAF (courtesy of Frank Zardecki).

The airfield consisted of a single northwest/southeast paved runway, with a single hangar.

A total of 9 aircraft were visible on the field: 2 small 3-bladed helicopters at left,

4 larger 4-bladed helicopters at the bottom, and 3 single-engine taildragger aircraft on the right.

The massive depot fills the background.



According to Frank Zardecki, “The peak years were 1957-1959 when over 1,500 aircraft / year received avionics upgrades.

These included H-19s, H-34s, H-21s, H-37 helicopters & L-19s, U-1As, U-8 fixed-wing aircraft & various other aircraft.”



The earliest photo which has been located of Tobyhanna AAF was a May 9, 1959 aerial view (from Penn Pilot).

It depicted the field to consist of a single short paved northwest/southeast runway.

A hangar, ramp, and two light aircraft were visible on the northeast side of the runway.



The 1960 Jeppesen Airway Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Tobyhanna AAF as having a single 1,200' paved Runway 14/32 (with a 177' overrun on the northwest end).

A ramp was depicted on the east side of the field, with 2 small buildings (hangars?).



According to Frank Zardecki (Deputy Commander of the Tobyhanna Army Depot),

On 8/23/61, Cpt. Clifford Betts was killed & 2 crew members were injured

in an H-21 that crashed in heavy fog returning to Signal Corps Depot, Tobyhanna.

Thus the name Betts Army Airfield.”



A 1963 aerial photo depicted the single paved runway, but no aircraft were visible on the field.



The airfield had been renamed Betts AAF by the time of the 1965 New York Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss),

and it had also gained its own NDB navigational radio beacon.



The earliest topo map depiction which has been located of Betts AAF was on the 1965 USGS topo map,

which depicted Betts as having a single short northwest/southeast runway, with 2 buildings on the northeast side.



According to Frank Zardecki, “The NDB code was TSD (Tobyhanna Signal Depot).”



Betts AAF was still depicted as an active airfield

on the 1967 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).



According to Frank Zardecki (Deputy Commander of the Tobyhanna Army Depot),

Tobyhanna AAF/ Betts AAF was in operation through 1967.”



Betts AAF was closed by 1969,

as it was labeled "Betts AAF (Closed)" on the 1969 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



However, Tobyhanna was apparently still used for some aviation operations for at least a few more years,

as reported by Tom Beamer:

"Tobyhanna was / is a Signal Corps depot & overhauled/modified GCA radars for the Army.

I was based at Mt Pocono in 1970-72 & the depot had a C-45 & L-20 at Mt Pocono.

When a GCA radar required calibration the parking lot was closed

and low approaches were made to Betts AAF in both aircraft although only the Beaver actually landed there.

In the spring of 1971 after a severe winter that left 6' snow banks at the edges of the runway

(I remember it as a beautiful day in April) I returned in my E-18S

to see the depot's Beaver on it's back in a snow bank alongside the runway.

Both the C-45 & Beaver were replaced shortly thereafter with a T-42 (Beech Baron)

which landed at Betts AAF a few times prior to closure circa 1972."



The 1992 USGS aerial photo showed that the Tobyhanna runway had been absorbed into the adjacent automobile parking lot.

 

However, showing that you can't always trust the USGS topo maps,

the runway of Betts AAF was still depicted on the 1995 USGS topo map,

even though the USGS aerial photo from 1992 (3 years prior)

showed that the runway had already been covered over by a large automobile parking lot.

 

As of 2003, the only airfield facility still listed as active on the grounds of Tobyhanna

was the Tobyhanna Army Depot Heliport, located 4 miles east of the site of Betts AAF.



A circa 2008 aerial view looking north at the former hangar which remains standing at the site of Betts AAF,

along with the location of the southern end of the runway, incorporated as part of the parking lot.



A 5/28/08 aerial view of the site of Betts AAF.



Frank Zardecki reported in 2010, “Today Tobyhanna is the largest Communication-Electronics depot

in the Department of Defense & has over 5000 employees.

The current helipad, 17PN, is approximately one mile southwest of the old airfield.”

 

The site of Betts AAF is located north of the intersection of Midway Road & McDonough Road.

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Merrill-Ronne Airport / Matamoras Municipal Airport, Matamoras, PA

41.36 North / 74.7 West (West of New York, NY)

A postmark commemorating the 5/31/30 Dedication of Merrill-Ronne Airport.



Merrill-Ronne Airport was located on the western bank of the Delaware River, on the PA-NY border.

A postmark commemorated the 5/31/30 Dedication of Merrill-Ronne Airport.



The earliest directory listing which has been located of this field

was in the 1934 Department of Commerce Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).

It described "Matamoras (Merrill-Ronne Airport)" as having 2 sandy loam runways, with the longest being 1,800'.



The earliest photo which has been located Matamoras Airport was a 4/30/36 aerial view looking northwest

(from the Dallin Aerial Survey Collection, courtesy of Barbara Hall, copyright of the Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE).

The runways were apparently being paved at this point, as several steamrollers were visible along the runways.



The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo)

described Merrill-Rhone Auxiliary Airfield as having 2 "sandy loam" runways, with the longest being 1,800'.



A 5/7/37 aerial view of looking west at the Matamoras Airport hangar & 3 asphalt runways.



The Airport Directory Company's 1938 Airports Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)

described Matamoras Municipal Airport as having 3 macadam runways.



Matamoras was depicted as a municipal airport on the August 1938 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The earliest topo map depiction which has been located of Matamoras Airport was on the 1943 USGS topo map,

which depicted Matamoras simply as an open area with a single building on the northwest side.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Matamoras Municipal Airport

as a 106 acre irregularly-shaped field having 2 bituminous macadam runways, measuring 1,725' northeast/southwest & 1,525' north/south.

The field was said to have a single 100' x 80' concrete block hangar.

The airport was described as being owned by the City of Matamoras & operated by private interests.



Tom McCune recalled, “In July 1952, when I was 16 & on vacation in the Pocono Mountains with my parents,

I began flying lessons at the Dervend Flying School, which was a half-hour drive from our vacation home.

Zeki Dervend was the operator of the airfield & the school, and my instructor was Tony Farrell.

Tony, who I think had been a pilot in WWII, was a very easy-going guy & a good instructor.

The training aircraft was a 2-seat (tandem) Aeronca 7AC Champion powered by a 65Hp Continental engine.

Flight instruments included a magnetic compass, air speed indicator, and turn & bank indicator, but no radio.

The airspace around Matamoras was uncrowded, so it was a good place to learn to fly.

The Champ was a very well-designed airplane.”



Tom continued, “On completing the minimum of 8 hours of instruction, all with Tony Farrell,

I soloed at Matamoras on August 26, 1952.

That was a pretty heady event for a teenager, especially since I was not yet eligible for a driver's license,

the age in New Jersey (where my permanent home was) being 17.”



Tom continued, “The next summer I returned to Dervend Flying School

and under Tony Farrell's instruction, completed the requirements for a private pilot's license.

On my solo cross-country training flights, I navigated point to point, referencing the aeronautical chart tied to my leg.

Because I had no radio, if my destination airport had a control tower,

I had to circle the airfield until someone in the tower saw me & flashed me a green light, indicating I was cleared to land.

On September 7, 1953, Tony Farrell flight checked me

and wrote in my Pilot Log that I was 'capable of Accomplishing the Private Pilot Flight Test.'

I did so the next day under the watchful eye of Zeki Dervend.

So I had my private pilot's license when I was 17.”



Tom continued, “My usual approach was from the northeast over the Delaware River (Runway 4/22)

and roughly the first half of the runway on this approach was turf & the other half, downfield, was paved.

I typically landed & rolled out on the turf, so I had plenty of extra runway if I needed it.”



A 1956 aerial view of Matamoras Airport depicted the field's unusual configuration, with 3 paved runways (including an inexplicably short east/west runway),

along with a grass area on the northeast side.

One hangar was located adjacent to the paved runways,

and another hangar & one single-engine aircraft were visible adjacent to the grass area.



The 1957 PA Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe) described Matamoras as having 3 bituminous or turf runways.

The longest runway was the 3,180' northeast/southwest strip, of which 1,700' was bituminous.

The operator was listed as the Dervend Flying School Inc., and the manager was listed as Zeki Dervend.



A 5/5/59 aerial view of Matamoras Airport (from Penn Pilot)

depicted the field's unusual configuration, with 3 paved runways (including an inexplicably short east/west runway),

along with a grass area on the northeast side.

One hangar was located adjacent to the paved runways,

and another hangar & 5 light single-engine aircraft were visible adjacent to the grass area.



A Flight Simulator scenery re-creation by Richard Finley of a Mooney Mite overflying Matamoras Airport.



The 1962 AOPA Airport Directory described Matamoras Municipal Airport

as having 2 bituminous & turf runways: 3,182' Runway 18/36 & 2,259' Runway 4/22.

The operator was listed as Zeki Dervend.



The last photo which is available showing any aircraft at the Matamoras Municipal Airport was a 1963 aerial view.

It depicted 2 single-engine aircraft parked next to the hangar.

 

A 1965 aerial view depicted a total of 3 single-engine aircraft at Matamoras Airport.



Matamoras was still depicted as an active airport on the 1966 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).

 

However, within the next year, Matamoras Municipal Airport was renamed as "Dervend" Airport

(apparently named after Matamoras Airport operator Zeki Dervend).

The runway configuration had been significantly reduced, however,

as the 1967 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe) depicted Dervend Airport

as having only a 1,500' unpaved runway.

 

"Dervend" Airport, as depicted on the 1969 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



A 1970 aerial view showed that Matamoras' 3 paved runways were all marked with closed-runway “X” symbols,

and “closed” was painted along the primary runway.

There were no aircraft visible on the field.



No aircraft were visible on the field in a 1975 aerial view.



Dervend Airport was still depicted on the 1975 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).

 

It was still labeled Dervend Airport on the 1976 USGS topo map.

 

George Hedinger recalled that "had a little part in the demise" of Matamoras/Dervend Airport.

"In the early 1980's the ultralight aircraft boom began.

A guy started a business known as Mid-East Ultralites at Sussex airport across the river in NJ.

As business grew & we tangled with the regular traffic at Sussex,

he looked for somewhere quieter to move to.

He found Dervend which was largely abandoned, except for one lone Cessna 150 in the hangar.

The old farts living in the houses next to Dervend were used to their peace & quiet.

Suddenly, early every morning, ESPECIALLY Saturdays & Sundays,

they were now awakened by the drone of our noisy 2 stroke Kawasaki engines

(everyone knows the BEST time to fly an ultralight is early when it's calm!).

I believe this was the summer of 1982.

One summer of this was all they could stand

and by 1983 they managed to get Mid-East evicted somehow.

It was not long afterward that they got the town to build the playground & baseball fields across the end of the runway

so it could never be used again."

 

Dervend Airport was evidently officially closed by 1982,

as it was not listed among active airfields in the 1982 AOPA Airports USA directory (courtesy of Ed Drury).



Runway 4/22 was still depicted on the 1983 USGS topo map, but it was labeled simply "Landing Strip".



George Hedinger recalled, "The hangar was still there into the early 1990s.

I know because I stopped by to take a look one summer day.

I was only there about 30 seconds before one of the old geezers

came out of a nearby house yelling & chased me out of there!”



A 1995 aerial photo showed that several baseball diamonds had been built around the former runways at some point between 1975-95.

 

A 2001 aerial picture looking northeast at the remains of Matamoras Municipal Airport by Philip K.

The former paved runways were still largely intact,

although several baseball diamonds had been built around the former runways.

The former hangar remained on a paved ramp just northwest of the former runway intersection.



A 2004 photo by Charlie Helms looking north

along the remains of Matamoras' Runway 4 (with the closed-runway 'X' still visible).

According to Charlie, “The runway is now used for parking & access to 'Airport Park'."



A 2004 photo by Charlie Helms of a "Light that remains near the south side of Runway 4/22;

it may have been in a parking or run up area."

 

A 2004 photo by Charlie Helms of the sign for the park which occupies the site of the old airport.

 

A 2004 photo by Charlie Helms of the front & back side of what "Appears to be the only remaining building from the airport -

this hangar is now used by the Matamoras Fire Department."



A 9/12/12 aerial view looking north at the remains of Matamoras Municipal Airport,

showing the paved runways & hangar which remain,



The site of Matamoras Municipal Airport is located north of the intersection of Interstate 84 & the Delaware River.

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Birchwood Pocono Airpark, Tannersville, PA

41.06 North / 75.25 West (West of New York, NY)

A 1960s photo (courtesy of Don Hamilton) of Don & his wife & Wally Hoffman, in front of a Piper Apache painted in Birchwood markings.



Nothing was yet depicted at this location on a 1963 aerial photo.



According to Tom Beamer, "Birchwood-Pocono Airport was built by Wally Hoffman, who was a Pan Am pilot.

Wally & his wife developed the Birchwood resort & he added the airport in the 1960s.

Prior to opening Birchwood Wally operated Mount Pocono Airport & founded Pocono Airlines with Beech 99s;

the airline eventually moved to AVP."



Constance Woods recalled, “The resort opened in 1953 & Wally built the airport sometime during the early 1960s.

When he was still flying for Pan Am he apparently flew his own plane to JFK to go to work.

The story also goes that he once landed a big twin-engine on that very short runway.

If anyone could have it would have been Wally! He was a character.”



Don Hamilton recalled, “My wife & I spent our honeymoon at the Birchwood resort.

It was a beautiful place in [the 1960s].”

He recalled that Wally Hoffman “took us for a flight over the resort & the Delaware water gap as part of our honeymoon package.”



No airfield was yet depicted at this location on the 1966 USGS topo map.



A 1968 aerial photo showed a single northwest/southeast runway,

which did not yet appear to be paved.



The Birchwood-Pocono Airport was not yet depicted on the April 1969 NY Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



The earliest directory depiction of the Birchwood Pocono Airport which has been located

was in the 1971 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as consisting of a single 2,500' paved Runway 13/31,

with a ramp at the southeast corner with 2 buildings.

 

According to Tom Beamer, "The airport was always a bit challenging but popular.

Sailplane rides were quite popular with the honeymooners."



Michael Demeyer recalled, “I started learning to fly gliders at Birchwood in 1973 as a junior in high school.

My instructor at Birchwood was Karl Nassauer, an ex-Luftwaffe pilot (Me-109) who loved to share stories from the war.

As I remember, the Stearman was usually flown by a burly guy who went by 'Moose'.

They had another towplane, too - I think a Cessna 207.”



The earliest topo map depiction of the Birchwood Pocono Airport which has been located was on the 1973 USGS topo map.

It depicted Bitchwood-Pocono Airpark as having a single paved northwest/southeast runway.



Steve Zimmermann recalled, "I spent a weekend there [Birchwood-Pocono Airport]

in the early days of the glider operation [approximately] in the spring of 1974."

 

"The story is that I got a call from the operator;

he'd been in touch with the folks at Schweitzer Soaring School in Elmira, NY,

where I had completed a Commercial/CFI rating in gliders the summer before, in 1973.

They had recommended me; he was looking for someone to come sign off his new instructor (!)

in the 2-33 & 2-32 sailplanes they were going to start operating.

So I took a weekend away from college to earn a few bucks,

and it turned out to be a very interesting time.

They were using a Stearman as the tow plane, and it was a crosswind day;

we had our hands full keeping the gliders behind the tow early in the takeoff roll,

and the Stearman pilot was having to use a lot of right-wheel braking

to keep it straight on the runway at low speeds."

 

"At the end of a busy day of training & hopping rides,

the tow pilot called down on the radio during the last tow of the day

to say he'd locked up the brakes on his right wheel just as he became airborne.

He flew around for an hour or so to burn off most of his fuel,

hoping his brakes would cool off & the wheel would free up before he had to land.

In the end, he touched down on the concrete runway

(too bad there wasn't enough grass parallel to the strip to land on),

held the locked right wheel off as long as he could;

he finally put the wheel down doing about 20 knots,

and as the locked wheel bit the pavement slowly veered off to the side & nosed over on his back.

A sad sight, the Stearman upside down in the grass.

The pilot was fine & the airplane wasn't badly damaged, however,

and I guess they got it flying again in a few weeks."

 

Lonnie McLaughlin recalled, "In the period between 1974-76,

I saw an advertisement for a course for power plane pilots to gliders.

The deal included a 5 day & 4 night stay at the resort (called 'Birchwood in the Poconos')

including all meals & use of the facilities, use of the glider, tow plane & instructor,

and guaranteed 10 flights - the minimum qualification for the license."

 

"I flew over there from Deer Park, L.I. (another field which no longer exists but where I learned to fly)

with my wife to look into it & discovered that Birchwood was a honeymoon haven

(complete with heart shaped tubs) but also had a miniature golf course, a bowling alley, skeet shooting,

a recreation room, bicycling, dancing, roller skating and other group activities.

The dining room was open for breakfast & supper

and featured all you could eat of anything on the menu.

We discovered that they had an open bungalow

and arranged to stay the night for $75 - including supper & breakfast.

I signed up for the package (cost less than $500),

paid an extra $100 to bring my wife with me when I returned 3 weeks later

(she even got a ride in the Stearman tow plane one of the times it towed me up)."

 

"It was one of the best weeks of my life.

I qualified for commercial glider, ate like a bear and was so busy I didn't gain an ounce.

By the way, being trained at Deer Park's 2,100' runway,

the Birchwood strip was no problem for my 1969 Piper TriPacer."

 

The 1975 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe) depicted Birchwood Pocono Airport

as having a single 2,500' paved runway.

 

Birchwood Pocono was listed in the 1986 Flight Guide (according to Chris Kennedy),

which described the field as having a single 2,535' "rough" paved Runway 13/31.

 

An aerial view looking west at the ramp & hangar at Birchwood Pocono,

showing over 2-dozen light aircraft parked on the ramp.

The photo was on the cover of the 10/87 issue of New England Weekend Flyers (courtesy of Jay Friedman).

 

Constance Woods recalled, “My husband was the General Manager of the Birchwood Resort from 1990-96

and we lived on the property of the Resort.

Wally Hoffman ended up with bad luck after his divorce.

Unfortunately for Wally, the bank ended up taking over the property

which had been heavily mortgaged to support his airline.

This is when my husband was brought in.

We met Wally numerous times as he continued to come back to visit & fly in.”

Constance Woods recalled, “The airfield was in operation when we arrived.

There was a wonderful older gentleman named 'Mickey'

that operated the glider rides & sightseeing tours based at the airfield.

Mickey was German & had amazing stories about his time with the German Army as a pilot.

I think Mickey had been around Birchwood for years & was an old & dear friend of Wally's.”



The 1992 USGS topo map depicted the Birchwood Pocono Airpark as having a single paved runway.



Constance Woods recalled, “On a pretty weekend in the 1990s the Resort still had numerous fly-ins

for breakfast, lunch, dinner or the whole weekend.

It was a sight to see.

I flew with Mickey on a number of occasions & it was always a treat.

I did hear pilots complain though about the crosswind that could kick up from the lake.

The lake was actually dug out to build the airfield.

On a number of occasions we would see pilots circle the runway a couple of times before landing...

I suppose trying to figure out how to deal with the wind.

We had one accident occur while we lived on the property, probably in 1994.

Fortunately all parties on board were unhurt.”



According to Tom Beamer, "Unfortunately the resort & the airport fell on hard times

when the Hoffman's personal honeymoon ended in divorce court."



Constance Woods recalled, “Sadly, the PAA & FAA forced Birchwood to close the airport.

There are trees to one end that are not on Birchwood property.

There was concern that the trees had grown too tall for a safe approach or takeoff.

Despite my husband's attempts to get the neighbors to agree to some pruning

the trees remained & the airport closed. It was sad.

There was a certain charm about a resort with its own airport, etc.

The resort was sold in 1996 & my husband & I returned to the South.



The Birchwood Pocono Airfield was closed by 1998,

as it was not depicted at all on the 1998 World Aeronautical Chart.



According to Aaron Gould, "The last time I flew over it,

it appeared to be a single concrete strip with few signs of maintenance.”



A 1999 aerial picture looking north at Birchwood Pocono Airpark (after the field's closure) by Philip K.

The airfield consisted of a single 2,500' paved runway

(which was still marked with a displaced threshold for Runway 32, halfway down the length of the strip).

A parallel taxiway sat alongside, and a ramp with a single hangar sat at the southeast end of the runway.

 

Jay Friedman reported in 2003, "I flew over the Birchwood Pocono Airport last week.

The prevailing winds favored taking off to the west.

The runway has a significant uphill slope in that direction & points you towards rising hills.

I was told that after a 'few' accidents the resort decided to close the runway due to the liability involved.

The runway today has extensive grass growing through the concrete."



Constance Woods reported in 2005, “Since then it is our understanding that the Resort has fallen into disrepair

and is in fact no longer operational at all.”



As of 2007, the “Former Birchwood Resort” was advertised for sale for $4,500,000.

The description read: “Full service resort on 279 acres. Currently not in operation.

Secluded setting yet easy access from Route 611 & Interstate 80.

Most units with fireplaces & jacuzzi tubs. Amenities include: indoor and outdoor pools, gymnasium,

bowling alley, rifle range, nightclub, airstrip & hangar, plus much more!

Price reflects need for repairs for operation. Perfect for camp/retreat use!”



A 9/9/12 aerial view looking northwest at Birchwood Pocono Airpark.

What a shame to see this aviation infrastructure going to waste.



Birchwood Pocono Airpark had a brief moment of notoriety in October 2014,

when fugitive murder suspect Eric Frein was captured after hiding out on the property.



Birchwood Pocono Airpark is located east of the intersection of Cherry Lane Road & T535.

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Scranton Municipal Airport, Schultzville, PA

41.48 North / 75.77 West (West of New York, NY)

A 4/26/36 aerial view of Scranton Airport, from the Dallin Aerial Survey Collection,

courtesy of Barbara Hall, copyright of the Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE.



This facility opened in 1928 under the name of "Port Scranton".

It was built by the Scranton Airport Corporation.

At one time it also went by the name of Schultzville Airport,

and was eventually renamed Scranton Municipal Airport.

 

The 1934 Department of Commerce Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)

described Scranton Airport " as having 3 sod runways:

2,500' east/west, 2,500' north/south, and 2,000' northeast/southwest.



A 3/5/36 ticket for Scranton Airways Inc. (courtesy of Ralph Balfoort), showing an unidentified biplane.



A close-up of the hangar & ramp at Scranton, from a 1936 aerial view from the Dallin Aerial Survey Collection,

courtesy of Barbara Hall, copyright of the Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE.



A Flight Simulator scenery re-creation by Richard Finley of a Curtiss Condor biplane overflying Scranton Airport.



Aerial view looking northwest at Scranton Airport,

from the Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

The directory described Scranton Airport as having 2 grass runways:

2,500' north/south & 2,000' east/west, although the east/west runway was described as being lengthened to 3,500').

The aerial photo in the directory depicted a single hangar on the east side of the field.



The August 1938 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Scranton as a municipal airport.



An undated aerial view looking northwest at Scranton Airport,

from the Airport Directory Company's 1938 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

The directory depicted Scranton Airport as having two 2,500' grass runways,

and a single hangar on the east side of the field.

 

According to Dick Miles, Scranton Municipal Airport was used during WW2

by the Army & Navy for primary flight training.

 

However, Scranton Municipal was still depicted as a civilian airport on the 1945 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Norman Freed).



The runways at Scranton were evidently paved at some point between 1938-45,

as the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Scranton Municipal Airport

as a 147 acre irregularly-shaped field having 2 bituminous runways & 2 sod runways,

the longest being a 2,420' east/west bituminous strip.

The field was said to have a single 100' square concrete & wood hangar.

The airport was described as being owned & operated by the City of Scranton.



The 1946 USGS topo map depicted Scranton Airport as having 2 paved runways, with a single hangar on the northeast side.



The 1957 PA Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe)

described Scranton as having 2 bituminous runways: a 2,420' east/west strip & a 2,385' north/south strip.

The operator was listed as Scranton Airways,

and the manager was listed as Harold Swank.

 

Scranton Municipal was listed among active airfields in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,

with 2 bituminous runways (9/27: 2,420' & 18/36: 2,385'),

and the operator was listed as Scranton Airways.



A 1966 aerial photo depicted 7 aircraft on the northeast side of the field.



A 10/10/69 aerial photo depicted over a dozen light aircraft parked on the northeast side of Scranton Municipal.

In addition to the original hangar on the northeast side,

it also depicted what appeared to be a newer T-hangar on the west side of the field.



The last aeronautical chart depiction that has been located of Scranton Municipal Airport

was on the 1975 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).

It depicted Scranton Municipal as having 2 paved runways, with the longest being 2,400'.

 

Scranton Municipal Airport was closed in 1979,

when it was replaced by the much larger Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Airport to the southeast.



“Scranton Airport” was still depicted on the 1995 USGS topo map.



A 1998 aerial picture looking southwest at the remains of Scranton Municipal Airport by Philip K.



 

A crowd of more than 100 watches as 80-year-old Jack Race

lands his 1942 Waco UPF-7 biplane at the former Scranton Municipal Airport in 2001.



After 22 years of inactivity, the former Scranton Municipal Airport

opened its runway for one final landing in 2001.

A crowd of more than 100 people turned out to see 80-year-old pilot Jack Race

touch down his 1942 Waco UPF-7 red biplane

on the exact spot he departed from as a first-time flier some 60 years ago.

That ceremonial landing was staged as a publicity stunt to let the public know that a book,

"The Rise & Fall of the Scranton Municipal Airport" by William Hallstead,

was published in 2001 by the University of Scranton Press.

 

Witnessing the flight brought back many nostalgic feelings for some of the older folks in the crowd.

"This brings back a lot of memories", said Ed Widmer,

who took flying lessons at the airport & received his pilot’s license at the age of 15.

"It’s really nice to come back here", said Mr. Race,

a Crystal Lake resident who flew 34 years as a commercial pilot for Pan American Airlines.

"This brings back a lot of happy memories."



As of 2002, the runways & main hangar still existed.

The property was owned by Frank Columbo, used to store concrete highway barriers.



A 5/9/07 aerial view by Philip Kineyko of www.FlyinPhilsPhotos.com,

looking east at the two paved runways which remain intact at the site of Scranton Municipal Airport.



A circa 2008 aerial view looking north at the paved runways, ramps, and hangar which remain intact at the site of Scranton Municipal Airport.



A 9/11/12 aerial view looking southeast at the paved runways, ramps, and hangar which remain intact at the site of Scranton Municipal Airport.



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