16 thoughts on “Swan Island Municipal Airport, 1935

  1. In 1927 (July 26), The Oregonian ran a story on page 18: EQUIPMENT AT NEW SWAN ISLAND AIRPORT SOUGHT “Portland will be a port of call for naval and private seaplanes under plans of the Port of Portland commission to equip the new Swan island airport with shops and supplies for that type of flying vehicle….”

    The paper ran an article on page 12 of the November 26, 1934 edition, titled AIRCRAFT FIRM RECEIVES RATING: Portland Shop Approved as Repair Station “Awarding of a rating of approved airplane repair station by the department of commerce for the shop of Commercial Aircraft company on Swan Island airport – the second in Oregon to receive such a rating – was announced yesterday…. NEW EQUIPMENT USED: Equipment valued at $3000, most of it new, has been installed by Commercial Aircraft company…. The plant is now equipped to do all kinds of woodwork, rigging, fuselage rebuilding, and repairs…. Vern St. John, who has mechanics’ licenses, will be in charge of the shop and will personally direct all repair work. He has had several years’ experience in rebuilding airplanes and in motor repairing. SPECIAL ROOM BUILT: Jimmy Conroy and Dudley Williams, both licensed mechanics, are members of the staff. John Alesko, an expert welder, will have charge of airplane welding.”

    [All capitalization is original to the Oregonian’s.]

    By the way, I delved into the “related” stories – one set is particularly interesting — the third one. Rand’s comment about Pancho Barnes led me to fascinating articles about that woman pilot!

  2. woodworker’s tools for wooden planes. and yes – you need to read pancho’s biography! an insane mix of fact, fiction and fun.

  3. anyone have a guess on those circles in the corner? made of metal tube, shaped metal crossbar at one end, with a wooden board attached? and a frame of some type hanging with them, probably related. almost looks like a bike, but must have some function in a workshop for wood-and-cloth aircraft…

  4. thanks for the rankin links…. anyone ever see a book about a local pilot who flew throughout the area 50 – 80s? full of tales of stunts like landing on sandbars in the columbia, crashing a b-17 he just bought, etc. lost my copy, and it’s real hard to buy a new one when you can’t remember author or exact title! had many details about local fields and their operators as well.

  5. Emailed friend Martin Rupert if he had an idea how the hoops on the wall were used. His dad operated Bernards Airport in Beaverton from the early early days and Martin grew up working there.

  6. thanks bob! they almost look like a knock-down dolly for moving a plane, but there is no central axle point, and the hoops seem to have handles at the top like a ship’s wheel.

    and i think the book i mentioned has some flights from bernards.

  7. wl – Any chance the book was about George Milligan? He was the founder of Mercy Flights. Sometimes he had to make landings on whatever was available; sandbars, logging roads, etc. These were not stunts, though. His airplane was a Cessna called the Bamboo Bomber.

  8. i don’t think so – the pilot who wrote the memoir i’m after spends a lot of time worrying that someone will report him to the faa for his flying! i’d read a memoir by milligan, though…

  9. WL – contact Multnomah County Library. One of the librarians might be able to locate the information for the book you are looking for, and who knows they might even have a copy in their collection.

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