Referencing Articles on Airports, July 18 Edition
Let me begin by thanking The Advertiser for the opportunity to speak to them through their correspondent about the Edgefield County Airport, Yonce Field, Trenton, S.C. and, in turn, have them introduce to their readers a local gem. We would like to take this opportunity to add a little more to the story if we may.
Though this Airport is well known in the area, many may not know much of its history. When Sarah Yonce donated this in honor of her father, Andrew Yonce, this was one of only 4 in the State to be so designated. Throughout the years this little Airport has been used to train pilots, parachute training, military and Civil Air Patrol. The Corleys (Johnny and Voight) built and occupied a hangar for their helicopter repair business which remained the main focus for many years. Many years later, the helicopter business, wooed by Saluda County, moved their helicopter business to Saluda Airport where they remained until they retired the business.
As the story states, in 1994, partners Johnny Anderson and Mike Herlihy bought the vacant hangar from the Corleys and secured a 20 year lease of the Airport where they agreed to bring it back up to standards, provide maintenance and upkeep to the Airport and to build additional hangars. Until 2003 the SC Aeronautics provided maintenance of the runway through a once a month cutting and Johnny cut the runway at least once a week in the growing season. That ended in 2003 when that program was stopped. Trenton Airport is one of the few remaining and most utilized grass strips in SC. When the lease was implemented in 1994, Johnny and Mike met with SC Aeronautic officials and began the process of building relationships and working to bring the Airport back up to standards and move toward improvements. These efforts led to Johnny taking on the role of manager. They bought the old Civil Air Patrol (CAP) building and began constructing T-hangars. As one filled to capacity, they built the next and then the next until today there are 3 T-hangars with 8 individual bays for a total of 24 bays. There are also outside tie-down spaces. All of this, at no cost to the County. Johnny and Mike fully funded all improvements and there are no salaries paid for these efforts. Trenton Airport is home to the Trenton Flyers Club with approximately 60 members and well known throughout the state and beyond. Many Fridays you will see the Flyers gather to fly around the state and surrounding states for lunch or meet at local restaurants. These are the ambassadors of Edgefield County Airport. Through the combined efforts of the partners and the Flyers the CAP building was renovated where dinners/meetings are held and elementary students have seen presentations on aviation.
According to an article dated 8-18-12 in the Saluda Standard-Sentinel, titled Council Approves Airport Improvement Project, Saluda Airport made major renovation and improvement, as is referenced in this Edgefield Advertiser article. Funds are available through the FAA and SC Aeronautics Commission to FAA designated Airports. This is the process that Saluda County used to partner with these groups to first improve, pave and extend the runway. The more recent improvements to Saluda Airport, having taken place in 2012, utilized those funds to build a T-hangar, install a fuel system and purchase 21.7 acres of land at a total cost of approximately $700,000 with the County’s portion being $68,186.90.
Trenton Airport is a general aviation FAA sanctioned airport and functions as the gateway into and out of Edgefield County. Industries in the County utilize this airport for vendors, inspectors for the Nursery across the street and Titan Farms as well as those visiting other entities in the County. Each Airport in SC and around the nation has its purpose. While Trenton may not be home to jets it is home to single engine and twin engine planes as well as experimental. This Airport is also utilized by surrounding airports to train pilots in various procedures.
This is a tale of two local airports, different, yet vital to the communities they serve. They are important parts of our infrastructure that welcomes visitors and businesses to our communities. We thank Judy for the opportunity to introduce the community to their Airport and welcome their visit as well.
Linda and Johnny Anderson