Airport History

History of Sidney's Airport

by Eric Kindig

The Sidney airport at the current location began operation in 1957 and was started by Robert Willman. There had been an airstrip on the west side of Sidney, where Folkerth Avenue is now, and an airfield north of town at the Korn field, where Creative Plastics is now located south of Jackson Center. When these two closed, Mr. Willman started a north/south grass strip approximately 2,500 feet long where the t-hangars are now located.

The first paved all-weather runway was 2,600 feet long and was built in 1959 and is the current taxiway. The ownership of the airport was passed to Paul Clark in 1962 and a short time later Mr. Clark donated the runways to the City but maintained the rest of the grounds. In 1964 the current Runway 5/23 was built (3,200 feet long) using privately raised funding. Paul Clark operated the airport until 1972 when the plane carrying Copeland executives he was piloting crashed, killing all on board.

Runway 10/28 was built in 1970 and was 4,000 feet long using public and private dollars. The runway was lengthened to 4,800 feet in 1999 using City funds.

The City of Sidney has continued to purchase surrounding real estate parcels to meet the growing needs of the aviation patrons.

There have been several Airport managers through the years, most notably: Don Pummel, Paul Mast, Oscar Adams, Kent Miller, Eric Kindig, Terry Dunlavey, Patrick Beatty and now, Mike Chappie.

The most recent runway relocation/expansion project had been on the drawing board for 30 years in one form or another.

This project extended runway 10/28 to 5,013 feet and was funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, the ODOT Office of Aviation and the City of Sidney.