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Buckman Airport

Buckman Airport; From The Delaware County Advocate - October 1940
Photo from The Delaware County Advocate - October 1940; courtesy of Harvey S. Martin

History | Recollections

History: The Buckman Airport originated in the early 1930's on the west side of Highland Ave. It was built and operated by Norman Smith.

Buckman Airport closed some time in the late 1950's.

From the Chester Times Year Book for 1949:

"Buckman Airport lies along Township Line road, in Upper Chichester Township, just a half mile from the western boundary of Chester. It has two 1800-foot runways, from north to south and east to west. There is hangar space for storing 17 planes. Flying lessons are given by accredited instructors, and planes may be rented. Norman Smith is manager; Norville Matthews is assistant manager. Both men are licensed pilots and instructors."


Delaware County Flying Club

Meets 7:30 P.M. first Tuesdays at Buckman Airport, Chester. Solo flight is qualification for membership. William Springer, president;, Phil Larney, Vice-president;, Harry Hladky, treasurer; Paul Nelson, Secretary.

From The Delaware County Advocate - October 1940
Thanks to Harvey S. Martin

Federal Government appropriations for civil airport expansion linked to defense plans, have included an allotment for Chester of $613,500. It is expected that Buckman Airport, shown below, on the northwestern edge of the city, will be the subject for expansion and improvement. It is situated directly on the radio beam of several present airlines, and would be convenient for military as well as civil emergency landings.

Buckman Airport; From The Delaware County Advocate - October 1940

"Buckman Airport was and still is (in memory only) my family's legacy in aviation. Before the airport existed it was farmland owned by my father's great-grandparents, the Boyd's. Norman Smith use to barnstorm there long before the airport. On one of his ferrying trips he stopped there and met a young boy who had been riding his horse through the field. This meeting was the beginning of not only the airport but a great friendship between this boy (the instrument) and the pilot (his mentor). Their chance meeting changed both their lives forever. The boy sold rides for Mr. Smith as well as taking care of his airplane. He later became a mechanic and pilot. When he was able he joined the CAPs and then the US Army were he became a flight instructor. When be returned home Buckman Airport had become very successful and this man had helped to make it all possible for without him the airport property would never have been acquired by Mr. Smith. This man is my father Albert W. Brown (Brownie) and he has a story to be told. He is a wealth of information about those early days when flying was considered a great risk and only attempted by daredevils."

- Sheri A. Brown (daughter)

For more of the history of Buckman Airport, see:

When flying machines were all the rage
an article by Robert F. O'Neill on the Delaware County History website

Recollections: 8/8/2006:

Buckman Airport Recollections 1941-1951
Courtesy of Charles “Dutch” Fehl



"I lived at 912 East 16th in Sun Hill when I was in grade school. Every afternoon I would hear and then see the mail plane that had picked up the mail pouch. I believe that the pouch was suspended from two poles. The aircraft would hook the cable attached to the pouch and just about the time
it went over my house the pouch was just being pulled in the door. This always fascinated me and gave me a life long interest in aviation. I later had a chance to ride in a J3 cub at Buckman, a ride paid for by my uncle. The result of this early exposure to aviation was eventual training as an Air Force pilot, and an aviation career with Pan American World Airways as a 747 Captain."

- Ed Spellacy

"In the fifties, my brother and I used to rent the same J-3 Cub at Buckman that my uncle learned to fly in back in the late 30's. Later on, when Buckman closed, Bob Mills, owner of Essington Seaplane Base, bought it, put pontoons on it and used it for seaplane instructions. I got my seaplane rating in it about six years ago. The seaplane base closed about two years ago. Bob Mills flew it and a few other planes to Lakeland Florida where it is still flying. He has a seaplane operation there."

-  Rodger Phillips, OILEDOUT@AOL.COM

If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about the Buckman Airport in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

© 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 08/08/06