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Airport History

Paul D. Eyster established the Tri-State Airport in 1930 at its current location five miles west of Angola on U.S. Highway 20.

Improvements were steadily made during the 1930s and the airport grew. During the Depression years, the airport’s small diner helped the sometimes struggling airport survive by selling meals to travelers on  U.S. Highway 20. In 1940, the airport’s iconic round hangar was constructed.

Steuben-Airport-Biplanes-1940sThe arrival of World War II in 1941 put the airport firmly on solid footing, as it became a busy primary pilot training facility for the government. Additional instructors were hired and many young men got their initial pilot training here before advancing to additional training that would prepare them for war.

After the war, Paul sold the airport and several different managers ran it. In 1950, Paul resumed active management of the airport and several years later his youngest son Jim joined him. In late 1956, Jim and his older brother Bill formed a partnership to purchase the airport from Paul. After Jim moved to Auburn to run the airport there, Bill and his wife Margie became the sole managers of Tri-State Airport.

In 1960, the airport’s first hard surface runway was built with cooperation from the local highway department and other local entities. The airport prospered through the 1960s and 1970s with an abundance of flight training, charter flying, scenic rides, aircraft storage and maintenance activities. For the airport to make necessary improvements, an aviation board was formed in cooperation with the Steubenpaul-eyster-founder-1930
County Commissioners and the airport became a municipal airport eligible for county, state and federal funding. More significant improvements were made, including a longer, wider runway, a parallel taxiway, a larger parking ramp and other structural necessities.

Bill and Margie continued to manage the airport until 1997, when the business operation was sold to Bill Gettig. He ran it for a number of years until the management was turned over to John Kline. In 2012, a large modern hangar/terminal was build and the old office building built in 1930 was razed. In late 015, Steuben County government assumed full management of the airport and it continues to be a vital piece of the county’s economic infrastructure.

“Paul D. Eyster established Tri-State Airport at its current location 5 miles west of Angola on US Highway 20 in 1930. Improvements were steadily made during the 1930s, and the airport grew. During those depression years, the airport’s small diner helped the sometimes struggling airport survive by selling meals to travelers on US 20. In 1940, the airport’s iconic rounded hangar building was constructed.

airport-late-30sIn 1960, the airport’s first hard surface runway was built with cooperation from the local highway department and
other local entities. The airporprospered through the 60s, and 70s with an abundance of flight training, charter flying, scenic rides, aircraft storage and maintenance activities taking place.It was realized that for the airport to make necessary improvements which woul be quite costly, an Aviation Board was formed in cooperation with the Steuben County Commissioners and the airport became a municipal airport eligible for county, state and federal funding. More significant improvements were made, including a longer, wider runway, a parallel taxiway, a larger parking ramp, and other structural necessities.

Bill and Margie continued to manage the airport until 1997, when the business operation of the airport was sold to Bill Gettig, who ran it for a number of years until management was turned over to John Kline. In 2012, a large modern hangar/terminal building was built, and the old offie building that had been built in 1930 was razed. In late 2015, Steuben County assumed full management of the airport, and it continues to be a vital piece of the county’s economic infrastructure.”

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