A week ago today, the first flight from Denver to Humboldt County landed at the California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport in McKinleyville. About 50 passengers were on board the United Airlines aircraft, which landed to great fanfare in the evening hours.
Two aviation events also brought crowds to local airports four decades ago. Fortuna Aviation, located on the Rohnerville Airport property in Fortuna, held its “Flying ‘n’ Fun” open house on May 17, 1975. The event was hosted by Peggy and Roger Stickler, new managers at Fortuna Aviation, and included an air show and display of seven 1975 Beechcraft planes. Refreshments were also served.
According to a full-page ad in the May 16, 1975 edition of the Times-Standard, Fortuna Aviation offered a bevy of services in its heyday, including air charters, an air ambulance, ground instruction, flight school, scenic cruises and more.
Just a few months prior to the open house in Fortuna, on Oct. 28, 1974, another aviation event was noted in the Times-Standard. Eureka Aero Industries — founded in June 1967 — began providing a new commuter service from Eureka to Santa Rosa and to Sacramento, with both morning and evening flights available.
The company purchased a new 17-passenger turbo-prop aircraft for the flights, which originated and returned to Murray Field in Eureka.
Currently, there are six county-owned and operated airports: California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport in McKinleyville; Dinsmore Airport; Garberville Airport; Kneeland Airport; Murray Field Airport in Eureka; and Rohnerville Airport, according to Humboldt County Director of Aviation Cody Roggatz.
The airport in McKinleyville is the only airport with commercial airline service, he said. The Rohnerville Airport and Murray Field Airport are both general aviation airports.
Heather Shelton can be reached at 707-441-0516.