Hapkido Online

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aviation Memories: My Childhood Airport part 2

Folks recently I spoke with Mr. Norman Haerr who is the man who built and owned my childhood airport and still owns the property today(my parents managed the airport in the 1980's).  He kindly shared some newspaper clippings he had folded up in his logbook.  They are from the Quincy Herald Whig Circa 1966.  I have transcribed the written text below:

Caption: Three of four planes housed in Haerr's hangar sit in front of gasoline pumps near end of runway. Alfred (Bus) Schaller, operator of Tic-Toc Motel, south of Taylor, sits in cockpit of plane in foreground. Airfield is now in use, although Norman Haerr says some final "touching-up" is still in progress.

Caption Reads:
Norman Haerr watches panorama ahead as he flies plane above Missouri bottomland west of Misissippi river and Quincy (upper right corner). Haerr and his father, Rudy Haerr, Marion county farmers have built airstrip and hangar on farm on north side of Route 24 between Taylor and West Quincy. Light plane operators can be in downtown Quincy in few minutes after landing at Haerr field.

Caption Reads: Haerr airport as it appears from air showing northwest-southeast runway as white path diagonally across field.  Rudy Haerr home is south of hangar; home at left is that of Noel Smith.  White path across lower photo is Route 24.  Hangar can accommodate eight small planes.

On Haerr farm east of Taylor

 Quincy has a new landing field near its front door.

Known as Haerr airport, it is located five miles west of Quincy on Route 24 and is designed to give owners of private planes quick access to the city.

Haerr airport, owned and operated by Norman Haerr and his father, Rudy, prominent Marion county farmers, is only a few minutes' ride from downtown Quincy.

Using no government funds or public subscription, the little airport was built by the Haerrs on their farm three quarters of a mile east of Taylor, MO.

It has a smooth, sod northwest - southwest runway, 3,100 feet long and 250 feet wide, and a hangar that will accommodate eight small planes.  Gasoline pumps have been installed near the runway.

* AFTER a little "touching up," the Haerrs say, final approval of the federal aviation agency will be given.  Officials of the Kansas City office of the FFA[sic] reviewed the air field to see there was no conflict with air routes and have given tentative approval to the project.

Construction of the hangar was started last November and completed this spring.  Relatives assist father and son in the work.

"I paid some of them for their help by giving them flying trips," Norman Haerr said Saturday, with a smile.

The building is of the usual type aluminum[sic] siding with sliding doors and concrete floor and conforms with hangar standards.

Four planes are now housed in it.  One is owned by the Haerrs.  Another is the property of Leeser and Stauffer Trucking company of West Quincy.  A third belongs to Alfred (Bus) Schaller, operator of the Tic-Toc motel, south of Taylor, and a fourth is jointly owned by a group of four or five fliers.

* Norman Haerr takes a realistic view of his pet project. "You never know just how something like this will go over," he said.  "If it is used extensively, the hangar is so constructed that additional wings can be added to either side to accommodate more planes, and we can blacktop the runway.  If it is not used, we can use the building to store machinery and grain, and plow up the landing strip and put it back into crops."

The new field will not be in competition with Quincy Flying Service at Baldwin field, Haerr explained, but will actually implement the facilities of the big airport east of town.

Norman Haerr is a sub dealer of Fred Schott, manager of Baldwin field, for Cessna airplanes, and refers all service work there.

Haerr said as soon as possible a lounge, with rest rooms and other services will be installed.  He said lights will be added to the field in the near future.

Wilbur Boehl of Palmyra and Alden Shipp of Quincy will be instructors.

"I have enough hours to be an instructor, but I haven't taken my test yet," Haerr explained.  He was taught to fly while attending the University of Missouri at Columbia.  He has a private pilot's license and about 45 hours' flying time.

* A Crop-Spraying plane from Kansas used the field several times recently, and the pilot told Haerr he was convinced a DC-3 could land and take off here."

The soil is a sandy loam that dries quickly.  Haerr said that even after a good rain of an inch or more, the field could be used within 10 hours.

Flying is becoming increasingly popular, Haerr said, and farmers have "taken to the air" in increasing numbers.  He has worked with Flying Farmers Clubs, and though not yet a member, he plans to join soon.

*Rudy Haerr is not a flier but he enjoys flying and likes to look over crops and other farming operations from "upstairs".

"Doc's Airpark," operated in West quincy[sic] area from 1947 untill 1955, was largely conducted as a flying school.  It's owner and operator was Dr. J. E. Haffner, Quincy dentist.  Since 1955 all aviation activities have been centered at Baldwin field.

Authors Note:  I would like to thank Norman Haerr for providing his article clipping and Shannon Haerr for digitizing it for me.  It is my honor to preserve this little slice of your family history here.  Article was orginaly published in the Quincy Herald Whig in 1966.