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History of Sikorsky Memorial Airport

Provided by The City of Bridgeport Website

1954 Ariel Photo of Air Show

The history of Sikorsky Memorial Airport goes back further than many people realize. The airport has been known by several different names during its long history. Prior to 1937 when the City of Bridgeport purchased the airport it was known as Mollison Field. This name came from Captain James Mollison's crash landing in July 1933 during an attempt to fly across the Atlantic from Wales, England to New York. During the 1930's, many now-famous aviators visited the field. Names such as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Howard Hughes, and Juan Trippe can be found in the airport logbooks documenting their arrivals. 

Previously the airport was called Avon Field - originally a racetrack and favorite destination of aviators landing on the grass infield.

On September 28, 1911 the country's first air show was held.

The airport's most famous tenant (and namesake) arrived in 1929. Igor Sikorsky picked Stratford, CT as the site for his expanding Sikorsky Aviation Company. Sikorsky immigrated to the US in 1917 to escape the Bolshevik's takeover in his home country of Russia. Initially he set up shop on a Long Island farm, and built several different model aircraft, the last of which (the S-38 amphibian) proved to be very successful. Upon moving to Stratford, Sikorsky designed larger, long range aircraft known as "flying boats”. That year Sikorsky Aviation Corporation became a subsidiary of United Aircraft & Transport Corp.

Ten years later, UA&T Corp. moved its Chance Vought Aircraft Division to Stratford and merged it with the Sikorsky Aircraft Division to become the Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division. This new division was responsible for the production of the first helicopter, the VS-300 that first flew on Sept. 14, 1939.

Also that year, the Chance Vought Division tested a prototype of a new fighter, the XF4U, which would eventually be known as the Corsair. The Corsair was fast, powerful, and a favorite of the pilots that flew it and saw much action in the Pacific flying in Navy and Marine Corps squadrons. One of the few remaining Corsairs was brought up from El Salvador in the late 1960's and restored and put on display outside the airport in 1971. In 1972 the final rededication took place, when Bridgeport Municipal Airport became the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport.


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