SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – It’s easy to miss the fact that the second longest runway in Vermont is right here in Springfield – with a part in Weathersfield – at Hartness State Airport. Perhaps you’ve walked across the dam and seen some activity though the fence, but most people know very little about Hartness Airport and its economic contribution to the region.
Even with limitations due to the ongoing pandemic, the summer of 2021 was busy at Hartness. The Civil Air Patrol Catamount Squadron was involved with two weeklong glider academies for youth and introduced over 25 teenagers to aviation. The National Glider Flight Academies are sponsored by CAP National and the U.S. Air Force, and are operated by the Northeast Region Civil Air Patrol. The academies included over 600 flights with several first solos – teens can solo a glider at age 14. Youth activities like this can inspire the next generation of military and commercial pilots. The academies used local hotels for “staff” and local caterers such as the Route 106 Deli.
The New England Soaring Association hosted the Women Soaring Pilots Seminar. This weeklong event brought more than 30 participants and volunteers from as far as California to work on their piloting skills both through classroom sessions and flight instruction. There were over 150 flights for the week. Participants stayed at the Best Western in Springfield and the Fullerton Inn in Chester; catering was provided by the 371 Restaurant and by JC’s Market & Deli in North Springfield.
Finally, the three-day Green Mountain Aerobatic contest brought competitors and aircraft from all over New England, supporting local accommodations and restaurants. The closing banquet was held at the Inn at Weathersfield, just across from the airport. This weekend activity had a documented economic impact of approximately $60,000 to the region. The annual event, which has been going on for nearly three decades, has drawn some of the finest pilots throughout the country and Canada. Many aspiring pilots recall their experience during this contest as a final and positive push towards pursuing a career in aviation. The General Aviation sector, of which the Springfield-Hartness Airport is classified, is the greatest employer of aviation professionals throughout the country.
The everyday operations at Hartness State Airport include everything from corporate jets that service the region to powered parachutes, ultralights, gliders, and small single-engine aircraft. Springfield Aviation is the Fixed Based Operator that rents hangar and tie-down space for planes as well as selling aviation fuel and staffing a maintenance shop for aircraft inspections and repairs. In addition, Hartness has several independent flight instructors plus airport operations and maintenance personnel to maintain the runways and plow in the winter.
Between the business operations and employment, the organizations and events, Hartness State Airport serves as an economic, educational, and recreational engine within the region.
For more information about Hartness State Airport, contact Brian Shepa at Springfield Aviation at 802-886-2647 or firstname.lastname@example.org.