“Today, is a giant step for your community. Some of your people had a vision to see what could happen and the determination to make it happen,” Governor Gerald L. Baliles said in his dedication remarks at the Louisa County Airport, Freeman Field, Sunday afternoon.
Gov. Baliles commended those who had worked to make it happen and the community for supporting the project. “We soared like eagles from Richmond to Louisa. It took us just 15 minuets. It’ll take most of you longer than that to get home,” the Governor said.
As a crowd of several hundred watched, the official first landing touched down on the airstrip. Accompanying the Governor on the flight aboard the Beech King Air twin-engine turbo were Delegate V. Earl Dickinson, Admiral Dewitt L. Freeman, retired, Chairman of the Airport Commission, Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors, G.B. Duke, Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority, and James R. Chung, former member of the Airport Commission and IDA chairman. The plane was piloted by Kenneth Rowe, director, and co-piloted by John Fuller of the Virginia Department of Aviation.
Arriving minutes later was a Cessna Citation twin-engine jet bearing Admiral Donald Engender, retired, administrator, William L. Whittle, manager, Washington Airports District Office, Carol DeLodovico and Terry Page, all of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Making the third official landing was a Lockheed Electra flown by Pete Bryce. This aircraft is a sister ship to the one Amelia Earhart disappeared in 50 years ago.
James H. Bell Jr. of Louisa Aerial Survey, has awaited the opening of the airport with his hangar in place for almost two years. He was the fourth and final airplane participating in the ceremonial first landings.
In opening the ceremonies, Freeman recognized members of the Airport Commission, Industrial Development Authority, and Board of Supervisors, past and present, for their contributions and support of the project. He also gave credit to Faulconer Construction Co. and Bruce V. Boxley, project engineer, for the exceptional construction job. Appreciation was expressed to Ron Price and Mike Churchill of CH2M Hill for their engineering contributions and to the FFA and Virginia Aviation Department for supporting the project with more than $1.2 million in funding.
Admiral Engen praised Louisa County for their perseverance in getting the facility built.
Price presented Freeman and Duke asphalt cores from the airstrip, mounted and engraved.
In introducing the Governor, Delegate Dickinson tagged the airport, “Louisa County’s best new idea.” Dickinson told the gathering that “when Governor Baliles was in Louisa 16 months ago to celebrate the county becoming a certified community, he told me he wanted to return for the airport opening.”
Following the ceremonies, the Virginia and FFA delegations returned to their aircrafts for the return trips.
A short time later, the first aircraft denoted that the airport is now open for public use. Local real estate agent Curtis DeCatur landed his single engine 1947 Taylorcraft followed shortly by two visitors from Chesterfield.
The Louisa Fire Department and Louisa Rescue Squad were on scene and will be acquiring equipment and training to handle aircraft emergencies.
W. James McCoy handled on site arrangements for Sunday afternoon’s ceremonies. Others assisting were Douglas F. Miller, Beverly H. Sims, Paul Brier and most welcome refreshments [were] furnished by Pepsi.
Reprinted from The Central Virginian, Thursday, June 4, 1987