EXPLORE THE AIRPORT’S STORIED PAST
Check out this timeline highlighting many of the defining moments that established Iowa Municipal Airport’s place in aviation history.
Captain Baldwin flew his plane, Red Devil, at the Johnson County fairgrounds in front of a large crowd and landed at the future location of the Iowa City Municipal Airport.
FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL AIRMAIL FLIGHT
Planes began delivering mail across the states. Limited to flying only during the daytime, early airmail at first was not an advantage over train-delivered mail.
A PIG TOOK FLIGHT
Iowa City became the only stop during the very first airmail flight from Chicago to Omaha. On the return journey, the pilot flew with a live 10-pound piglet (the very first piece of mail).
With the goal of having a coast-to-coast airmail system that would connect the country, Jack Knight was part of a relay team that flew 2,629 miles, guided by gasoline drums, railroad flares and the burning light of day. Knight ushered in a new era of progress by proving that airmail could travel through dark of night and bad weather.
To learn more on the history of Jack Knight’s historic night, please visit the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum’s website.
image courtesy of The Smithsonian National Postal Museum
FIRST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT
In 1927, Boeing flew Jane Eads, a reporter for the Chicago Herald and sole passenger, from Chicago to Iowa City. This started the era of commercial aviation for the Iowa City Municipal Airport.
To learn more about the first commercial flight, please visit Boeing’s website.
image courtesy of Boeing, boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2002/july/i_history.html
WW2 AND PAUL SHAW
From 1939-1944, Paul Shaw, the owner of the airport, along with his flight instructors, helped the war effort by training over 2,500 pilots. With a strong relationship with the University of Iowa, they were able to train a generation of pilots. The last cadets entered pre-flight school on May 11,1944. The school closed in August 1944.
To learn more about Eastern Iowa’s impact on aviation and WW2, please check out this book.
image courtesy of The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
images on right courtesy of Eastern Iowa’s Aviation Heritage By Scott M. Fisher
During the dawn of the Jet Age, United Airlines left Iowa City in favor of consolidating its presence in the Cedar Rapids Airport. After United left, Ozark Airlines took over as the primary commuter airline. Ozark held on for 13 years, but struggled to remain profitable. In 1972, the U.S. Postal Service pulled out of Iowa City to consolidate in Cedar Rapids.
images courtesy of worldairlinenews.files.wordpress.com
THE E.K. JONES YEARS
E.K. Jones helped save the airport after commercial aviation left the field. The airport became a general aviation airport, as it is today, offering services like flight instruction, charter services, and maintenance.
images courtesy of newspapers.com
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
After a few years in flux between different owners, Jet Air Inc., became the FBO of the airport. Currently, the airport is thriving. With a great array of services, including medical flights, pilot training, aircraft repair, and charter services, we’re looking forward to serving the greater Iowa City community, businesses and families for the next 100 years and beyond.