Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Virginia: Norfolk area

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 3/17/14.

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Dover Airport (revised 3/17/14) - Glenrock Airport (revised 5/6/13) - Monogram NAAS (revised 5/7/13)

(Original) Norfolk NAS / Chambers Field (revised 12/10/13) - Norfolk NAS Seaplane Base (revised 12/10/13)

South Norfolk Airport (revised 10/27/13) - Whitehurst NOLF (revised 8/25/10)

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Norfolk Naval Air Station Seaplane Base, Norfolk, VA

36.95 North / 76.28 West (Northwest of Norfolk, VA)

The Norfolk seaplane base, as depicted on the 1932 Washington-Hampton Air Navigation Map #4.



The “Naval Air Detachment, Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads” was established in 1917,

with a complement of 5 officers, 3 aviators, 10 enlisted sailors, and 7 aircraft.

The aircraft, all seaplanes, were flown across the James River from Newport News,

and moored to stakes in the water until canvas hangars were constructed.

The new location offered sheltered water in an ice-free harbor, perfect for seaplane landings,

good anchorage on the beach front, accessibility to supplies from Naval Station Norfolk, and room for expansion.

Its mission was to conduct anti-submarine patrols, train aviators & mechanics, and run an experimental facility.



When the United States became involved in World War I, the size of the the Navy's air component was eagerly expanded.

The training of aircraft mechanics began in January 1918 at the Norfolk detachment & the first patrol was conducted 5 months later.



By now, the air detachment was recognized as one of the most important sources of trained naval aviators.

In recognition of its importance, on 8/27/18, the detachment became Naval Air Station Hampton Roads,

a separate station under its own commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. P.N.L. Bellinger.



As World War I came to an end, the former NAS Hampton Roads saw erratic growth,

growing to nearly 167 officers, 1,227 enlisted men and 65 planes.

But, it was after the war that demobilization had threatened the future of naval aviation.

Within seven months of the war's end, Navy manpower fell to less than half its wartime highs.



On 7/12/21, the name was changed again under the command of Capt. S.H.R. Doyle, to NAS Norfolk,

with direct reporting to the Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, D.C.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Norfolk seaplane base

was on the 1932 Washington-Hampton Air Navigation Map #4.



The Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described the Norfolk Naval Air Station as having a seaplane landing area

in Willoughby Bay to the east of the field.



A 1935 Navy Aviation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted Chambers Field as a “Landing Field”,

with the buildings to the southeast being labeled “Naval Air Station”.



In an aerial photo looking southeast at Chambers Field from a 1934 Navy Aviation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

the original seaplane base was visible behind the airfield.



During World War II, Naval Air Station had a direct combat support role in the area of anti-submarine patrols.

President Roosevelt's response to the start of the war in Europe was the National Emergency Program of Sept. 8, 1939.

It resulted in fantastic growth for all Navy activities in the Norfolk area.

The combat support role began on 10/21/39,

when a 600-mile-wide Neutrality Zone was declared around the American coast.

Four Norfolk-based patrol squadrons, VP-51, VP-52, VP-53 and VP-54 were among the first units to enforce the zone.



The Hepburn Board had made recommendations to Congress in 1940 that would also double the size & workload of the station.

Since Chambers & West Fields were encroaching on the activities of the Naval Operating Base, it was decided to expand to the east.



East Camp, with an area of about 1,000 acres between the east side of Naval Station & Granby Street,

had been sold off by the Army at the end of World War I.

Congress authorized its repurchase in early 1940.

On June 29 of that year, a contract was signed with the Virginia Engineering Company for the expansion of the station.

The cost of expansion and construction was to reach more than $72 million.



Hangars, a new dispensary, 3 runways, magazine areas, warehouses, barracks and docking areas were patterned after similar existing airfields.

The plan was revised and approved by Capt. P. Bellinger, returning as commanding officer 20 years after first holding the job.

Bellinger insisted that as many structures as possible be permanent ones.

The air station was still largely composed of temporary hangars & workshops left over from World War I.

Many were unsafe & costly to maintain.



Some 353 acres were eventually reclaimed at a cost of $2.1 million.

Two large hangars, ramps for seaplanes, barracks, officer quarters and family housing were built.

This construction cut off Mason Creek Road & the Navy compensated the city by improving Kersloe Road between Hampton Boulevard & Granby Street.

Norfolk responded by renaming the road, Admiral Taussig Boulevard, in honor of the retiring commander of the Naval Operating Base.



In July 1940, the Federal government began dredging Willoughby Bay

and the Naval Air Station seaplane operating area at Breezy Point was constructed from reclaimed marshlands at the mouth of Mason Creek.

By the time President Roosevelt visited at the end of July,

the station was clearly reaching the point where it could support ships engaged in war overseas.



The July 1941 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted Chambers Field as well as the adjacent seaplane base.



In 1941, the possibility of U.S. involvement in the war looked more likely.

Construction of more new facilities was pushed forward to match increased requirements.

These new requirements led to enlarging the construction project to 5 times its original scope.

At the completion of the first round of construction, Breezy Point's capacity was estimated at 72 seaplanes.



Locally, Fleet Air Wing 5 units flew under its operational command of the 5th Naval District.

Wing 5 units involved consisted of scouting squadrons, 12 Kingfisher seaplanes, and VPs 83 & 84 equipped with PBY5A Catalinas.

By 1942, NAS Norfolk was home to 24 fleet units.



From January-April 1942, the Eastern Sea Frontier recorded 82 sinkings by U-boats.

During the same period, only eight U-boats were sunk by U.S. Forces.

Eventually, coastal convoys were instituted & more aircraft became available.

German U-boats moved elsewhere & sinkings decreased.

To move closer to their patrol areas and free up space for the training of new squadrons,

NAS Norfolk-based patrol squadrons transferred their operations from Breezy Point to Chincoteague and Elizabeth City.



An undated photo of a Grumman F4F-3S Wildcatfish – a version of the Wildcat fighter mounted on Edo floats,

which conducted rough-water landing tests from Norfolk in June 1943.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) depicted “Norfolk NAS (Seaplane) (Breezy Point)”

as having 3 large hangars, with 4 seaplane ramps.



An undated (WW2 era?) National Archives photo of Martin PBM Mariners on the Norfolk seaplane ramp.

 

An undated (WW2 era?) Navy aerial photo showing Chambers Field at the top left, the new East Field at the bottom center,

and the seaplane base at the top right.



“Chambers (Navy)”, “East Field (Navy)”, and the Norfolk seaplane base were all still depicted as active

on the April 1946 Washington Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1950 USAF Pilot's Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted the “NAS Norfolk (Breezy Point Anchorage)” seaplane base.



A September 1960 aerial view by Thomas McManus looking southwest at the Norfolk Breezy Point seaplane base,

with several VP-44 Martin P5M-2 flying boats (and what appears to be one R4D) on the ramp in the foreground,

and Chambers Field in the background.

Photographed from a VP-44 P5M-2 shortly after rotating.



Norfolk Sectional Charts through 1961 (according to Chris Kennedy) still depicted the “NAS Norfolk (Breezy Point)” seaplane base.



A May 1961 photo by Thomas McManus looking north at a VP-44 Martin P5M-2 flying boat on the ramp at Breezy Point.

Note the open bomb bay doors, aft of the engine.

Thomas recalled, “This was the last P5M in service with VP-44,

as we were in the process of transitioning to the P2V-5F Neptune.

All of our P5M's had all been reassigned to NAS North Island, CA, for service with Pacific fleet squadrons.

November 1961 we deployed to Sigonella, Sicily

and at the completion of our deployment in May of 1962 we returned to CONUS,

however not to Norfolk, but to NAS Patuxent River MD, where we were the

first VP squadron to receive the P-3 Orion.”

Thus 1961 was the end of seaplane operations at NAS Norfolk.



However a 1963 aerial picture depicted 9 aircraft on the ramp of the seaplane base.

It was not evident whether they were seaplanes or landplanes, though.



By the time of the 1964 Norfolk Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy),

the Norfolk seaplane base was no longer depicted at all.



Perry Rotzell recalled, “In 1978, there were still landing lights in Willoughby Bay.

They were mounted on pilings, in the exact same arrangement you see on an IFR field.

They were parallel to the current main runway at the naval station. The lights were gone in 1983.

I once rode me bicycle on the seaplane ramp (oh, the freedom of those long-ago days!).

I stood on one of the ramps & noticed how time and water had eroded large chunks of concrete out of seaward end.

That ramp would not hold, say, a P-5 Mariner even then.”



As seen in the 1990 USGS aerial photo, although seaplane operations were no longer conducted at NAS Norfolk,

the former seaplane ramp remained intact, along with the 3 former seaplane hangars.

A dozen E-2 Hawkeyes were visible parked on the ramp, along with a number of helicopters.



A May 7, 1995 Navy aerial view by Robert Sitar,

looking southeast at the old PBY/PBM seaplane ramp & hangars at the Norfolk Naval Air Station,

with several Navy MH-53E helicopters parked on the ramp.

A circa 2005 aerial photo looking north at 2 MH-53E helicopters on the former NAS Norfolk seaplane apron,

with one of the former seaplane ramps leading down into the water at the top of the photo.



A 2006 photo by Scott Shea of “The Old SP-31 Hangar (the last squadron that occupied the spaces is HM-14).

They are about to demolish this hanger very very soon (maybe next week!).”



Scott Shea reported in 2006, “Hangars SP-1 & SP-2 have been completely torn down.

That was the hangars that housed the PBMs & PBYs.

SP-31 (which is one of the last of the hangars on the seaplane line) will be torn down this week.

I was stationed with HM-14, who have been in that hangar for over 10 years.

They were previously in hangar LP-14, which will be torn down as well.

Most of the original hangars on base are either being torn down or have been converted into warehouses.

The HM-14 Vanguards (an MH-53E squadron), is now in a new hangar where SP-1 & SP-2 once stood.

A lot of history went away with those hangars being torn down.”



A 2006 photo by Scott Shea of the Norfolk flightline.

Scott reported in 2006 that the location previously occupied by hangars SP-1 & SP-2 are “now occupied by 1 aircraft hangar (now building SP-36)

and next to that on the right in the photo is the new Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) Building

to house the minesweeping gear & the Seabees for HM-14.

The Hangar on the left is SP-31 that is about to be demolished. The new hangar (SP-36) is HM-14's new hangar.

They operate 12 Sikorsky MH-53E Sea Dragon Helicopters. I am a crew chief for that squadron.”



Scott Shea reported in 2006, “The seawall is now all helicopters.

There are 2 other squadrons that operate H-60s on that line as well that are obscured behind the old SP-31 hangar.

They are HSC-4 & HCS-2. HCS-2 is the Fleet replacement Aircrew and Pilot squadron for MH-60Ss.

To the end of the line is the new AIMD Norfolk building

where they rebuild electrical components & engines for the aircraft based here at Chambers.

HC-4 (also a MH-53E Squadron) for the time being is working out of MILVANS in between the 2 new buildings shown in the picture.”



Scott continued, “This new line also has 3 different helicopter pads,

the 'Dragon pad' (to the left of the MK-105 Magnetic Mine Sweeping gear that can be scene on the old seaplane ramp),

the 'Wolf Pad', and the 'Angel Pad'.

The 'Dragon pad' now has pad lights that were added in 2003, prior to that, we used to have to land at Chambers field & taxi over the taxiway

that connects the airfield to the seaplane line whenever we landed at night.

Currently that taxiway is being used as a road as the bridge that is on A street has been closed due to it being dangerous.

The Wolf & Angel pads are to the left of the picture.”



Scott continued, “The 2 new buildings that you see in the picture were built in 2005

and opened just this year (March 2006) after the old hangars were demolished in 2004.

The new hangar for the MH-53E is only large enough to accommodate maybe 3 (definitely 2) spread MH-53E inside the hangar.

The rotor arc is 79' long, so add maybe 20' to either side of that & that's how large the hangar is.

We could put 4 spread MH-53E in the old SP-31 hangar.

The old SP-31 hangar also has some sort of elevator, presumably for loading ordinance to the old PBMs & PBYs.”



Scott continued, “Right now SP-31 & the small COMHELTACWING building at the end to the right

are all that is left standing of the old seaplane base.

The buildings behind the seaplane line areas are still there, including barracks & schoolhouses.

The old seaplane ramps are still somewhat used today.

One shown in the picture is used for our 'Sled Ops', when we use the Mk.105 minesweeping gear.

This one is located near the 'Dragon Pad',

the boat crews use another ramp to launch the boats for the Sled Ops.

Both of the ramps do not look in great condition

and they definitely couldn't support the weight of much more than a truck & a boat on a trailer.”



A July 2011 photo by Paul Freeman looking along the former Norfolk seaplane flightline.



The site of the Norfolk Seaplane Base is located northwest of the intersection of 5th Street & A Street.

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(Original) Norfolk Naval Air Station / Chambers Field, Norfolk, VA

36.95 North / 76.3 West (Northwest of Norfolk, VA)

The Norfolk Navy airfield, as depicted on the 1932 Washington-Hampton Air Navigation Map #4.



The use of this site in Norfolk for aviation dates back to 1917,

when the “Naval Air Detachment, Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads” was established.

However, initial operations here involved seaplanes.

The date of construction of the Chambers Field landplane airfield has not been determined.



NAS Norfolk was credited with developing an arresting device

to train pilots for deck landings aboard the fleet's first aircraft carrier, USS Langley (CV-1).

At the same time, the station also began work on the development of the catapult.



In January 1923, the Secretary of the Navy ordered a detailed study

of the capacity of the bases & stations during war & peace.

In comparing the development of the fleet & shore establishments, only Hampton Roads met the requirements.



Lighter-than-air operations, important for off-shore patrols during the war, ceased in 1924.



In an effort similar to base closure struggles the military has today,

civilian employees of the Assembly & Repair Department (forerunner of the former Naval Air Depot)

joined the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in successfully fighting the planned suspension of aircraft overhaul work.

The training of air groups from newly-commissioned aircraft carriers such as Langley, USS Saratoga, and USS Lexington

demanded expansion, but appropriations were meager for shore establishments.



The Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described the Norfolk Naval Air Station as being located as the east end of the Naval Operating Base, opposite Fort Monroe.

It was said to consist of a 103-acre rectangular sod field, measuring 2,500' x 2,200', with a single 2,000' cinder runway.

A hangar was said to be marked with “USN Norfolk”.



The expansion of shipboard aviation in the 1930's brought renewed emphasis to Naval Air Station Norfolk.

Reverting back to its experimental roots, development & testing of catapult & arresting gear systems took the highest priority at the Air Station.

The commissioning of the aircraft carriers Wasp, Ranger, Yorktown and Hornet

increased the tempo of routine training in navigation, gunnery, and aerial bombing as new air wings formed prior to World War II.

This demanded expansion, but appropriations for shore activities were meager.

Although congressional approval was gained in 1934 for the purchase of land

that would expand the airfield by 540 acres, the matter was dropped.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Norfolk Navy airfield

was on the 1932 Washington-Hampton Air Navigation Map #4.



A 1935 Navy Aviation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted Chambers Field as a “Landing Field”,

with the buildings to the southeast being labeled “Naval Air Station”.



The earliest photo which has been located of Chambers Field was an aerial view looking southeast

from a 1935 Navy Aviation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It described the “Hampton Roads Naval Air Station” as consisting of a 2,500' x 2,200' sand loam field.

A hangar was said to be marked with “U.S.N. Norfolk”.



The January 1, 1936 Department of Commerce Airway Bulletin described NAS Norfolk as a nearly square sod field, measuring 2,500' x 2,400'.

It was said to have one 2,200' cinder runway.



A circa 1938-39 aerial view looking north showed the original Chambers Field,

shortly before the addition of the new East Field or the Seaplane Base.



At the outbreak of war in Europe on 9/1/39,

Naval Air Station encompassed 236 acres with 2 small operating areas: Chambers Field & West Landing Field.

The West Landing Field was west of the former exposition boat basin, and was occasionally used for aircraft operations.



The July 1941 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted Chambers Field, as well as the adjacent seaplane base.



In 1941, the possibility of U.S. involvement in the war looked more likely.

Construction of more new facilities was pushed forward to match increased requirements.

Directives from Washington meant facilities had to be developed to operate 5 aircraft carrier air groups,

7-9 patrol squadrons, the fighter director school,

and the Atlantic Fleet operational training program for 200 pilots prior to their fleet assignment.

Further requests were made to provide training & maintenance facilities

for British aircrew from HMS Illustrious & HMS Formidable.



In all, these new requirements led to enlarging the construction project to 5 times its original scope.

At the completion of the first round of construction, East Field was estimated to have the capacity for 410 land planes

while Breezy Point's capacity was estimated at 72 seaplanes.



An 11/7/41 Navy aerial photo showing Chambers Field at the top left, the new East Field at the bottom center,

and the seaplane base at the top right.



The original Chambers Field was closed to transient aircraft during WW2.

Aircraft could taxi from Chambers under their own power directly to carrier piers, to be hoisted aboard ship.



“Chambers (Navy)”, “East Field (Navy)”, and the Norfolk seaplane base were all still depicted as active

on the April 1946 Washington Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The original Chambers Field was evidently closed at some point between 1946-50,

as it was depicted as “NAS Norfolk (Chambers Field) (Closed)” on the 1950 USAF Pilot's Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as having 3 paved runways (with the longest being a 2,580' northeast/southwest strip),

with a large circular paved area in the center.



A September 1960 aerial view by Thomas McManus looking southwest at Chambers Field,

with the Breezy Point seaplane base in the foreground.



A 1963 aerial photo showed a foreshortened set of runways (18/36 & 9/27), perhaps intended only for helicopter operations.

A large number of aircraft of various types were visible on the east side of the field.



A January 1978 DOD aerial photo of the original Chambers Field, showing several remaining runway segments.



A closeup from the January 1978 DOD aerial photo showing a large number of aircraft (A-6s, A-7s, helicopters, etc.) on the original Chambers Field.



Perry Rotzell recalled, “The large building across one of the old runways at the former Chambers field was the Naval Air Depot.

I had some electronics-related training there in 1980.

They rebuilt F-14s & A-6s in those days. There were some heavily damaged F-14's stored there.

Some were obviously striped of parts, while others had torn-off wings & what-not.

And it was exciting to stand in the parking lot and watch H-46's do touch & go's.

They flew about 30' above your car.”



Perry Rotzell continued, “The NAD closed in the mid-1990's.

At that time, the P-2 Neptune patrol bomber, 'Truculent Turtle',

famous for an unrefueled non-stop flight from Australia to Ohio, was stored near the NAD.

I was able to climb into the gutted cockpit & check it out.”



Perry Rotzell continued, “There was a 250' tall communications tower adjacent to the west end of the right hand helicopter runway.

There were some weird looking covers over some of the protruding antennas.

One cover, which looked just like 2 aluminum bowls joined together, had a huge dent in it.

A friend told me a helicopter had damaged the bowl with its rotors.”



Two of the former runways were still depicted on the 1989 USGS topo map,

which labeled the site as a “Heliport”.

A large building had been built over the northeast side of the site.



The 1990 USGS aerial photo showed 2 former runways of the original Chambers Field still remained intact,

but were marked for “Helos only”.

Over a dozen helicopters were visible parked on ramps on the southwest side of the field,

and a ramp to the northeast held a dozen F-14 Tomcat fighters, as well as other smaller jet aircraft.



A circa 2000-2005 USGS aerial photo looking northeast at the original Chambers Field.



A circa 2005 aerial photo looking north at a collection of aircraft at the center of Chambers Field which presumably have been grounded,

including an F/A-18, 2 E-2s, and 2 F-14s.



A circa 2005 aerial photo looking north at a hangar along the southern edge of Chambers Field

with a CH-46 & several MH-60s.



The site of the original Chambers Field is located northwest of the intersection of Hornet Street & Avionics Loop.

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Dover Airport, Wallaceton, VA

36.61 North / 76.39 West (South of Norfolk, VA)

Dover Airport, as depicted on the September 1943 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Photo of airport while in use has not been located.



According to Jamie Smith (who heard about it from a farmer), this airfield was "built in 1938 (or thereabouts)."



It was not yet listed among active airports in The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airport Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo),

and no airfield was depicted at this location on the 1941 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The earliest depiction of this airfield which has been located was on the September 1943 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Dover as an auxiliary airfield.



According to Rodney Johnson, “There were about 4 Quonset hut at Dover Field.

Lake Drummond was used as a practice bombing range.

The field was used to fly in the buoys which outlined a ship in the lake.

The huts were used to assemble the buoys. The buoys were put in the lake by boat.

There was a big path from the back of Dover Field to the lake - it was called Soldiers Path.

Buck McCoy’s cabin was used as the call station for the 'raids'.

Planes that were not on the strike would sit on the ground at Dover or Fentress.”



The only other depiction of the Dover Airfield on aeronautical charts which has been located

was on the 1944 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

The Dover Airport may have been closed at some point between 1944-45,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the 1945 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss) or the 1945 USGS topo map.



The earliest photo which has been located of the Dover Airport was a 1/30/53 USGS aerial view,

which depicted at least 3 unpaved runways. No buildings were depicted at the site.



According to Rodney Johnson, “The buoys were removed from the lake in the 1960s using radar magnets with floats.

Many of the buoys were shot up with machine guns.

There is probably still communication cable in the trees.

Our family had 3 cabins in the swamp with over the 100 plus years in the swamp.

My Dad was the one who had to find the buoys in the lake. He found all but two.

I remember playing in the air field in the early 1960s.

We had a camp where we kept the hunting dogs & our jeeps at the old CCC camp on the northwest corner of the feeder ditch & GW canal.

My family tried to buy the airfield which was then a farm.

My funniest remembrances were using M-80 firecrackers to detonate the smoke bombs

that the planes would drop – you could find them at low water,

and getting the hell shocked out of me wile playing with a magneto which I found in the airfield huts.

The big fire in the mid 1960s wiped out the huts & the CCC camp.”



No airfield was depicted at this location on the 1969 or 1982 USGS topo maps.



Amazingly, the 1989 USGS topo map still depicted a very detailed runway layout of this former airfield,

depicting at least 3 unpaved runways (with a 4,000' east/west strip being the longest runway).

No buildings were depicted at the site, which was also unlabeled.



Jamie Smith reported in 2004, "It's a soybean or potato farm now, but you can still make out the runway tracks."



A circa 2005 aerial photo looking north at a former runway intersection at Dover Airport,

showing that the former runways remain quite recognizable.



After more than 70 years since the airfield was constructed,

a 4/6/10 aerial photo (courtesy of Les Parker) still showed a very distinct runway layout.



The site of Dover Airport is located northwest of the intersection of Route 17 & Ballahack Road.

The airfield is bounded by the Intercoastal Waterway (the Dismal Swamp Canal) on the east,

and by the Great Dismal Swamp on the west.

 

Thanks to Jamie Smith for pointing out this field.

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South Norfolk Airport (W33), Chesapeake, VA

36.76 North / 76.26 West (South of Norfolk, VA)

A circa 1940s-50s view of a line of taildraggers at South Norfolk Airport.



South Norfolk Airport was not yet depicted on the April 1946 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton).



It was opened in 1946 by the Todd family,

according to an article by Norm Crabill in the 10/04 issue of the VAHS Virginia Eagles.



The earliest chart depiction of South Norfolk Airport which has been located

was on the June 1951 Norfolk Sectional Chart,

according to the book "Virginia Airports" by Vera Rollo & Norman Crabill (published by the VAHS).



Jeanne Powell Jordano recalled of South Norfolk Airport, “My father, Louis P Powell was a flight instructor there.

My father's era was late 1940s - early 1950s.

Greenbrier Farms / Nursery kept their charter planes there.

I was an only child & my father took me to the Airport & up in the planes all the time.”

 

The Todd family continued to operate South Norfolk Airport until 1954-55, when Don Wilson took it over.



The 1955 USGS topo map depicted South Nortfolk Airport as having 2 unpaved runways, with several small buildings on the northeast side.



The 1961 Norfolk Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

described South Norfolk as having 2 turf runways, with the longest being 3,250'.



A 3/30/63 aerial photo depicted South Norfolk as having 2 grass runways, with a dozen light aircraft parked on the northeast side.



An undated aerial picture of a large number of planes tied-down at South Norfolk Airport.



South Norfolk Airport, as depicted on the 1965 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).



The Tidewater Soaring Society began flying out of South Norfolk Airport in 1966, before eventually relocating to Garner.

 

The 1970 VA Airport Directory (courtesy of Stephen Mahaley)

described South Norfolk Airport as having 2 turf runways: 3,300; Runway 2/20 & 2,300; Runway 9/27.

An office, hangar, and barn were depicted northeast of the runway intersection.

The airport was said to offer flight instruction (including glider instruction), and charter.

The operator was listed as South Norfolk Air Service, and the manager was listed as D. R. Wilson.

 

Starting in 1971-72, South Norfolk was jointly operated by Don Wilson & Alston "Steve" Stevens.

Stevens later took over the operation of the airport, and continued to run it for the rest of its life.



From the early 1970s onward, South Norfolk Airport operated under a continual threat of impending closure.



Bruce Forr recalled, “I learned how to fly at W33 in 1974 while I was still in the Navy.

I had been persuaded by a buddy of mine, Shannon Ennis, who went on to fly for U.S. Air, to give it a try.

My first airplane ride was with R. Forsythe (2018230 CFI) and I soloed under my 1st instructor, L.H. Tarkington.

I finished up my Private License with Paul Carr, a wet-behind-the-ears 18 year-old instructor, whose CFI still had wet ink on it when he took me on.

If my records can be believed, it cost me about $600 from start to completion of my Private License.

I remember a cigar chomping mechanic that ran the flight school.”



South Norfolk Airport, as depicted on the 1975 Washington Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ed Drury).



Dave Moniot recalled, “I learned to fly out of South Norfolk Airport in 1976 & knew Guy Stevens (Ray's brother).

It was indeed 'The greatest airport in the world'.

You could rent a Cessna 150 for $13 / hour, get a drink out of the old coke machine

and just pay for your time with the honor system by leaving money in an old desk drawer.”



A 3/18/78 aerial view by Kenneth Keeton looking southwest at South Norfolk Airport,

with over 40 light aircraft visible on the field.



Dave Young remarked, “I recalled my early flying lessons at the South Norfolk Airport... ol' Whiskey-33.

How I dearly remember every blade of dew-soaked grass on an early-morning pre-flight

before my wonderful instructor Gerry Putnam showed up (former USAF B-52 driver; Ger was also a fellow SCUBA instructor at the time);

how I recall kicking the squadrons of rabbits up from underfoot just walking to the office to grab an honor-system clipboard with the keys...

rows of C-150's going for $22 / hour; and the thrill of the O-200 coughing to life in the dead stillness of a misty summer morn.

Mostly; I remember Ger's infinite patience with this landlubber learning the secret ways of the atmosphere.

Good bless the wanna-be aviation chile nowadays who still gets to experience anything remotely like that sense of excitement and freedom.

(as opposed to the sterile, codified, rectified, certified, bonified experience they -mostly- dispense at FBOs in 2009).”



South Norfolk Airport, as depicted in the 1979 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

The 1982 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Ed Drury) described South Norfolk Airport as having 2 turf runways,

with the longest being the 3,300' Runway 2/20.

The operator was listed as South Norfolk Air Service.



A 1982 photo of Carol Clements at South Norfolk Airport (courtesy of Jim Jarvis).

Jim recalled, “Mr. Clements was my 1st flight instructor.”

 

At its peak, South Norfolk Airport had 60 general aviation aircraft based on the field.

A main hangar held 3 aircraft, along with a cow barn used as a hangar to hold 4 Citabirias, and 2 other private hangars.

A stolen C-90 King Air was once dumped at South Norfolk, after delivering a load of drugs elsewhere.

 

South Norfolk hosted flight instruction, sales, service, crop dustings, banner towing, and glider flights.

Air shows were occasionally held, usually sponsored by the HRA Club & the Portsmouth Flyers.



A July 1985 panoramic picture of some of the 60 planes based at South Norfolk Airport.



Ray Stevens reported in 2003, of South Norfolk Airport, "My dad & my brothers ran it until it closed in 1985.

It was the greatest airport in the world."

 

South Norfolk Airport was closed on 11/5/85, according to an article by Norm Crabill in the 10/04 issue of the VAHS Virginia Eagles.

The property had fallen victim to rising land values, and was redeveloped.

 

USGS topo map 1986.



In the 1994 USGS aerial photo, the southern portion of the former north/south runway was still recognizable.

However, a new road (Independence Parkway) had been built in a loop over most of the former airport property.

 

In a later aerial photo of the site from approximately 2000, not a trace of the former airport was still recognizable.

 

The site of South Norfolk Airport is located at Independence Parkway, west of Volvo Parkway.

 

Thanks to Jeff Mitchell for pointing out this field.

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Glenrock Airport, Norfolk, VA

36.87 North / 76.2 West (South of Norfolk International Airport, VA)

Glenrock Airport, as depicted on a 1935 Regional Aeronautical Chart.



This former small airport was originally located on the eastern edge of the city of Norfolk.



The date of construction of Glenrock Airport has not been determined.

According to the book "Virginia Airports" by Vera Rollo & Norman Crabill (published by the VAHS),

"This airfield was operating in June 1930 for rides in a Ford Trimotor."

A commercial license was applied for in 3/18/32, approved in 4/11/32 to United Flyers Inc.,

and approved in 12/6/32 to J. C. Hudgins for commercial operations.

 

According to the Norfolk Airport web site, commercial flight operations moved to Glenrock Airport in 1932,

after the Navy had opposed the expansion of Norfolk's Granby Street Airfield

because of its proximity to flying operations at Norfolk Naval Air Station.

However, Glenrock's tenure as an airline airport didn't even last a single year,

as all commercial flights to Norfolk were suspended in 1932 due to the effects of the Great Depression.



Glenrock Airport was not yet depicted on the 1932 Washington-Hampton Air Navigation Map #4.



The earliest depiction of Glenrock Airport which has been located was on a 1935 Regional Aeronautical Chart,

which depicted Glenrock as a commercial or municipal airport.



The 1/1/36 Department of Commerce Airway Bulletin

described Glenrock Airport as a commercial field, consisting of a T-shaped sod field.

It was said to have 2 runways, measuring 2,450' northwest/southeast & 2,250' northeast/southwest.

The field was said to offer facilities for servicing aircraft, day only.



Glenrock was described in The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo)

as being a commercial airport, located on the North side of Virginia Beach Boulevard.

The field was described as having 2 sod & sand runways forming a "T" shape,

with the longest being a 2,600' northwest/southeast strip.

 

Glenrock Airport was depicted as a commercial airport on the July 1941 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

Glenrock was also depicted as a commercial or municipal airport on the 1943 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



However, Glenrock may have been temporarily closed during WW2

(due to wartime security concerns, as was also the case at many other small civil airports during the war),

as it was not depicted at all on an August 1943 Navy map (courtesy of Mark Hess)

nor on the 1944 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

described Glenrock Airport as a 50 acre T-shaped property within which were 2 sod runways, measuring 2,400' northeast/southwest & 1,850' northwest/southeast.

The field was said to have one wooden 70' x 60' hangar,

although the diagram depicted a total of 3 buildings within the airfield property outline.

The field was said to be privately owned & operated.



Glenrock Airport was depicted as an auxiliary airfield on the April 1945 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Glenrock Airport

was on the April 1946 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton).

It depicted Glenrock as an auxiliary airfield.



C.L.Batson recalled, “I was in the Civil Air Patrol at Glenrock Airport in 1952-55.”



The only photo which has been located of Glenrock Airport was an admittedly low-resolution 2/10/55 aerial view.

It depicted Glenrock as having 2 unpaved runways.



The most detailed depiction which has been located of Glenrock Airport was on the 1955 USGS topo map (courtesy of Adam DeLand).

It depicted “Glen Rock Airfield” as having a single 1,700' paved northwest/southeast runway.

The airport property was quite narrow, with 5 small buildings on the southwest corner.



According to the book "Virginia Airports" by Vera Rollo & Norman Crabill (published by the VAHS),

Glenrock's operating license was revoked & the airport was abandoned on 9/20/57.



C.L.Batson recalled, “It [Glenrock Airport] was closed to make room for the Janaf Shopping Center.”



According to an article in the Virginian-Pilot (courtesy of Don Michalek),

"In 1959, Janaf opened as a commercial shopping area.

The name stands for Joint Army Navy Air Force & was an acronym for the original investors,

a group of retired and active-duty military, according to the center's Web site."



The Glenrock Airport was no longer listed among active airfields in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,



A 1963 aerial photo showed the shopping center which had covered the site of Glenrock Airport,

as did the 1965 USGS topo map.

 

As seen in the circa 2001 aerial photo, not a trace of the former airport appears to remain at the site.

The area has been heavily developed with retail shopping & other buildings.

Don Michalek observed, “It is speculated, and does sound logical, that the unusual angle that Janaf [Shopping Center]

sits at compared to the intersection of Military Highway & Virginia Beach Boulevard

has to do with the original alignment of the paved runway for Glenrock.”



The site of Glenrock Airport is located northeast of the intersection of Virginia Beach Boulevard & North Military Highway,

across Virginia Beach Boulevard from the Military Circle Mall.

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Whitehurst Naval Outlying Landing Field, Whitehurst, VA

36.92 North / 76.2 West (North of Norfolk International Airport, VA)

A January 1933 aerial view of the property which became Whitehurst NOLF (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).



This small military airfield was located only one mile north of the present-day Norfolk International Airport.



Whitehurst Field was not yet depicted on the 1932 Washington-Hampton Air Navigation Map #4.



The earliest depiction of the airfield which has been located

was a January 1933 aerial photo of the Whitehurst site (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

Brian observed, “The field is marked (by the Navy) to show what must have been the runway length for the property if used as an airfield

(although I don't believe the field was being used as a landing field at the time the picture was taken).”

The field was marked as measuring 2,250' x 2,150', consisting of 101 acres.

Brian reported, “I have seen reference to the field being used in 1939, and I believe it was used before that time.

I do know NAS Norfolk had auxiliary fields (OLFs) in the early- to mid-1930s (Glenrock Airport was one of those).

I am guessing, but based on this picture, it would not surprise me if the Navy used this field in the mid-1930s for one of those fields.

Of course, it is also possible this photo was taken for survey purposes and that the Navy did not use the field until later.”



According to Brian Rehwinkel, a Navy memo dated 5/8/42 at the National Archives

indicated that Whitehurst "was first leased by the Navy in 1940.

The Navy leased the farm from the heirs of William Lee Whitehurst.

The Navy paid the family an annual rent of $4,000 for the 125 acre parcel.

The documents also said the field was originally scheduled to be used as a LTA (Lighter-Than-Air) auxiliary field,

based on the navy's field at Cape May, NJ.

Obviously, that never happened."

 

The Whitehurst airfield was not yet depicted at all on the 1943 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

nor on an August 1943 Navy map (courtesy of Mark Hess).



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of the airfield which has been located

was on the 1944 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

which depicted "Whitehurst (Navy)" as an auxiliary airfield.



A 6/6/44 aerial view looking north at Whitehurst NOLF (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

The field was depicted to be an open grass field, without any buildings or other improvements.

Brian observed, “Obviously, the [Normandy] invasion didn’t alter the Navy’s schedule in Norfolk on that day.

The caption for the photograph also refers to the OLF as 'Bee Farm'.”



"Whitehurst (Navy)" was still depicted on the April 1945 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Brian Rehwinkel observed, “Since this field was leased, it is very likely the lease was canceled at the end of the war.”

 

The Whitehurst airfield was apparently abandoned at some point between 1945-46,

as it was no longer depicted at all (even as an abandoned airfield)

on the April 1946 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton).



A 1963 aerial photo showed that housing had covered the southern half of the airfield site.



The 9/9/90 USGS aerial photo of the site did not reveal any traces of a former airfield.

 

A 4/7/10 aerial photo did not show any remaining trace of the former Whitehurst airfield.

Brian Rehwinkel observed in 2010, “The location today is covered by a strip shopping center & some nice residential housing.

The site is adjacent to the Little Creek Amphibious facility.”



The site of the former Whitehurst airfield is located southwest of the intersection of Route 170 & Shore Drive.

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Monogram Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Driver, VA

36.82 North / 76.54 West (West of Norfolk, VA)

Monogram Auxilliary Air Station”, as depicted on a August 1943 Navy map (courtesy of Mark Hess).



A 616 acre portion of the Monogram Farm in Driver, VA was leased by the Navy in 1939

to construct an Outlying Landing Field to support flying training at nearby Norfolk Naval Air Station.

The Navy had purchased the property by 1941.



The Monogram airfield had apparently not opened

by the time of the July 1941 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

as it was not yet depicted.



The Monogram airfield at first had only grass runways.

Between late 1941 - early 1942, three squadrons (VB-8, VB-9, and VF-28)

had conducted operational training at Monogram.

Construction of buildings began in late 1942 (although the runways remained unpaved),

and a Carrier Qualification Training Unit commenced operation.



An Acceptance & Transfer Unit relocated from NAS Norfolk to Monogram in early 1943,

and Monogram was commissioned as a auxiliary of Norfolk.

The Monogram airfield proved to be a disappointment,

as the grass runways were closed about 35% of the time due to drainage problems after a heavy rain.

That caused the ATU unit to be transferred to Franklin, VA in late 1943.



The airfield at Monogram was not depicted at all on the 1943 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

which may have been due to wartime security concerns.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Monogram airfield

was on a August 1943 Navy map (courtesy of Mark Hess).

It depicted “Monogram Auxiliary Air Station” as an irregularly-shaped property.



According to Mark Hess, the Civil Air Patrol Tow Target Unit #21 was based at Monogram from 1943-44.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the Monogram airfield

was on the 1944 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



A WW2-era National Archives photo, looking west at Monogram NAAS.

The grass runways are on the left, and the paved catapult runway is on the right.



Monogram had 4 sod runways, ranging in length from 3,900' to 4,500'.

A ramp on the west side of the field had a single 111' x 58' hangar,

with a control tower along one corner of the hangar.

The barracks at Monogram could accommodate a total of 230 personnel.

Monogram operated 2 aircraft for liaison purposes (a GH Howard, NE Piper, or SNJ Texan).

 

Monogram also provided crash crews & work parties for the nearby NOLF Suffolk.

 

Due to Monogram's grass runways, it was the designated landing field for all Navy aircraft in the Norfolk area

with hung bombs or those which had to perform a wheels-up landing.

 

The Civil Air Patrol operated from Monogram from late 1943 - middle 1944.

 The grass runways at Monogram were finally upgraded in 1944,

when the Seabees installed a catapult & arresting system (with a 1,500' paved runway)

on the north side of the grass runways.



A 3/18/45 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

depicted at “Monogram NAAS” as having several runways.

The directory described Monogram as a 616 acre irregularly-shaped property

having 4 sod runways, with the longest being a 4,500' NNE/SSW strip.

The field was said to have a single 111' x 58' wood hangar,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Navy.



The Navy began conducting night Field Carrier Landing Practice at Monogram in March 1945.



Monogram was closed by the Navy on 12/1/45.



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of "Monogram (Navy)"

was on the April 1946 Norfolk Sectional Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton).



Monogram was no longer depicted at all (even as an abandoned airfield)

on the 1961 Norfolk Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

 

The Monogram property was later redeveloped by the Navy as the Driver Naval Radio Transmitting Facility,

which provided radio transmitting facilities & services to support Naval ships, submarines, and aircraft.

 

By 1992 the site contained many HF antennas, some LF antennas,

and some old buildings left over from the NAAS days.

 

The communications facility was shut down in 1994 & the land was given to the City of Suffolk,

which intended to redevelop it into a park.

 

In the 1994 USGS aerial photo,

the remains of the catapult runway could still be barely perceived stretching from center of photo to top-right.

The longest remaining runway segment was 1,500' long.

 

Driver resident Janet Gibbons reported in 2004 that the site of the Monogram airfield has not yet been made into a park,

"but it has several housing developments sprouting up around it & will probably be a park someday."



A circa 2005-2006 aerial view looking north at the remains of the catapult runway at Monogram.

 

Thanks to Tim Tyler for pointing out this airfield.

 

See also:

http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/npl/VA9170022488.htm

http://www.dtic.mil/envirodod/derpreport96/vol2/appx/app-a/nara047.html

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