BIG SPRING - The City of Big Spring and the Airpark Development Board are hosting an 80th Anniversary Celebration Event and Grand Opening of the New Airport Runway at the municipal airport terminal, Saturday, July 25 from 12:00 noon until 4:00 p.m.
This free to the public event will include music, hot dogs, hamburgers, refreshments, vintage and modern aircraft, antique and modern auto, a skydiving event, rides offered in war bird aircraft, and tour of the airport terminal with pictures and memorabilia reflecting the history of the Big Spring Airport.
The Big Spring airport was opened on September 11, 1929. This event drew a crowd of 15,000 people to the new airport. Airmail service was started in 1930. In 1942 the airport became the site of the US Army Big Spring Bombardier School and subsequently trained over 6,000 bombardiers for combat in WW I.I. In 1945 the airport returned to municipal airport status and remained such until 1950, when it became Webb Air Force Base.
As a jet pilot training facility during the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War, over 14,000 pilots earned their wings in Big Spring. Many of the Webb AFB pilots distinguished themselves in combat; many become senior officers in the military, some became astronauts, some politicians, and some governors, including the current Texas state governor. After Vietnam, the airport again reverted to civilian status and became the municipal airport for the City of Big Spring.
In 2005, the airport's primary runway, which was built in 1950, began showing signs of serious deterioration, and major repairs or replacement was deemed necessary. The decision was made, based upon current aeronautical needs and anticipated requirements, to replace the asphalt runway with a stronger, longer lasting, concrete runway.
With major funding and support from TxDOT Aviation and the FAA, work commenced on the 8,800 foot runway in January, 2009 and the $7M project was completed on time, on schedule, and under budget, June 15, 2009.