The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

September 22, 2012

First private planes delivered locally in 1927


Franklin, along with Arden M. Jones and Warren Eaton of Norwich, with Joseph Bennett of Sidney as the plane’s pilot, left Curtis Field in Mineola at 3:34 p.m. Monday. They touched down at what was called West End field at 5:39 p.m. It was also known later as Keyes Airport, found in the area where New York State Electric & Gas, Ioxus and other businesses are on Browne Street today.

“It was the first flight that Mr. Franklin had ever made and he got his first real thrill as the plane made a low bank after circling the landing field at West End,” The Star said.

Franklin bought the plane for business purposes. On Tuesday, it was flown to Norwich, to be used in the interests of Central New York Airways Inc., an organization Franklin had interests in. The company was ready to have its own plane delivered in the next couple of weeks, so Franklin let his plane be used for the time being. Central New York Airways also became the sales agent for Fairchild airplanes in a 23-county region in upstate New York.

Franklin then planned to bring the new plane back to Oneonta. The West End field was not yet officially an airport, as a committee in Oneonta was on a search for a suitable site. Franklin was the chairman of that search committee.

“Mr. Franklin plans to erect a hangar ... as soon as he is convinced of the most desirable site for a landing field and as soon as it is established where the principal airport of the city is to be located.” As it turned out, West End field eventually became the new airport. It was officially dedicated in 1930.

On Monday: Bendix employees on edge in Sidney in 1982.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at

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