In celebration of general aviation and “first flight” pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright’s connection to the Jim Hamilton – L.B. Owens Airport, Richland County is celebrating National Aviation Week, Aug. 17-23.
National Aviation Week coincides each year with the birthday of Orville Wright on Aug. 19. Wright was the first human to achieve powered, sustained, heavier-than-air, controlled flight, on Dec. 17, 1903. National Aviation Week also focuses on the importance of community airports as well as increasing public awareness, knowledge and appreciation of aviation.
“The benefits of aviation, even if we don’t routinely fly ourselves, are so prolific in everyday life that they’re transparent,” said Airport Director Chris Eversmann. “The proclamation of National Aviation Week reminds us to take time and reflect on this miraculous technology.”
Orville and Wilbur Wright have a unique connection to Richland County in that the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, which was a merger of the companies owned by the Wright brothers and fellow aviation trailblazer Glenn Curtiss, constructed the first hangar at the Richland County airport (then known as Owens Field) in 1929. It is one of the oldest hangars in the nation and one of only five or six Curtiss-Wright Hangars still standing.
In addition to its historical merit, Jim Hamilton – L.B. Owens Airport (CUB) is important to the community in many regards, including providing easy access to business owners, which generates local revenue and economic interest, serving as a base of operation for the Richland County Sheriff Department’s Aviation Unit, and offering flying opportunities to professionals and novices alike.
“Our general aviation airport is among the finest in the State,” said Don Purcell, Chairman of the Richland County Airport Commission and himself a private pilot. “It’s an economic engine that serves business, military, recreation and law enforcement aviation needs.”
Jim Hamilton – L.B. Owens Airport, which is overseen by the nine-member Richland County Airport Commission, is home to the South Carolina Aviation Association’s Aviation Hall of Fame, where visitors can peruse plaques that contain photographs and information about the 50 inductees who have played leading roles in South Carolina’s aviation industry.
To learn more about general aviation in Richland County and the services available at Jim Hamilton – L.B. Owens Airport (CUB), visit rcgov.us
or call (803) 771-7915. The airport is located at 1400 Jim Hamilton Blvd. and is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.