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History

Aviation in Coffeyville

 

The Coffeyville area has enjoyed progress and prosperity throughout this century. The aggressive and hard working people living here engaged in many endeavors and successful activities.

 

This heritage and history warrant recognition of those people and their contributions. Museums provide an excellent avenue to collect and present the activities and accomplishments of past years. Everyone in the area can make their contributions.


A US Air Force plane on display

Coffeyville has witnessed aviation activities as far back as the year 1900. The first flights were, of course, by free balloon. The first airplanes were brought here during the Fair in 1909. One was the Glenn Curtiss-type Pusher Bi-plane powered by a four-cylinder motor, chain driven with two propellers. These early planes were displayed and flown at Forrest Park. Later a few more planes and gliders were flown here and at the city of Parsons.

 

The first Coffeyville-owned airplane was a World War I “Jenny” which was brought here by Roy Good in 1920. In 1925, two barnstormers came with a pair of old “Jennies.” They held forth at Abe Cline’s pasture for a week, charging $3.50 for a seven-minute ride.

 

Aviation developments continued with the location of Old Parker Airport southeast of Coffeyville in 1930. The facility provided many aviation services as well as Airline stops for N.A.T., Safeway, and TWA Airlines. This all ended in 1933 with the dedication of Pfister park Airport north of Coffeyville. Airline flights were discontinued a few years later.


Coffeyville Airport many years ago

During the period 1929 through 1935, the Inman Brothers operated a Tri-Motor Ford airplane to barnstorm around the area and carry passengers on sight seeing trips. Hank and Sally Duncan operated a flying school during this period.

 

In 1942 the United States Army Air Force constructed the Coffeyville Air Base. At the end of World War II, the field became the Coffeyville Municipal Airport.

 

Coffeyville’s past history has seen many aviation activities. Several operators offered aviation services and pilot training at as many as five airports around Coffeyville. Jack Lightstone and Roy Hartwig were the most out-standing Fixed-Base operators in this area.

 

Jensen Brothers established the Funk Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1940 in South Coffeyville at Jensen Airport. They built 240 Funk Airplanes during the years 1946 and 1947.

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