Monday, June 24, 2013

Saving Aviation History -- Pheasant Run Airport in Leroy Twp.

On January 26, 2011 a multimillion dollar gift to Lake Erie College allowed one of the largest vintage aircraft collections to remain in Lake County.  The donor was Gretchen Reed, a retired Riverside High School teacher.  Gretchen and her late husband Chuck were lifelong county residents and flying enthusiasts.  Their careers as pilots began at Casement Airport in 1966 and grew for the next three decades.  Wise real estate investments and Chuck's governmental career path provided funding for their aviation passions.  In 1997, the Reeds acquired 28 acres located at 5782 Trask Road.  Another 40 acres soon followed and by 2011 approximately 128 acres comprised their airport complex.

An E/W runway and Hanger #1 were finished in 1978, both projects done by the Reeds themselves.  A N/S runway and Hanger #2 followed in 1985-86.  Hanger #3 was constructed in 1990.  A 'Tower' was built in 2000 and Hanger #4 was the last structure completed in 2002.  Numerous outbuildings are on site too.  While flying remained their passion, a love of past aviation history led to securing and restoring over 33 vintage aircraft.  Eighteen are hangered and fifteen are flyable.  Chuck Reed passed in late 2008.  Gretchen continued on and sought out a worthy steward for their complex.  Lake Erie College was chosen and now shares Gretchen's passions with the public every Sunday from 1-5pm.   Aviation memorabilia and vintage aircraft such as a Fokker Dr1, Aeronca L-16, and Junkers CL-1 are on display for public viewing.

If aviation is in your blood, another venue will be hosting a special event July 8-14 at Lost Nation Municipal Airport.  The CAF ( Commemorative Air Force Base ) will be landing as part of a LCVB funded program.  Ever fly in a B-17?  Here is Your Chance!  Flight details and other event information may be found at or (602) 448-9415.

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