the many jewels of aviation, Katama Airfield stands out as unique in the United
States. Established in 1924, few similar landing facilities have retained their
original look and utility as Katama Airfield.
still contribute as much to their surroundings as Katama Airfield. Situated on
the coastal plain, the very existence of Katama Airfield is a critical link in
the protection of the environment and maintenance of the ecological balance. Under
the combined control of the Town of Edgartown and the Nature Conservancy, Katama
Airfield is home to 26 rare or endangered species of plants and fauna. It is also
the recreational destination for thousands of persons who travel to Martha's Vineyard
by private airplane.
pastureland owned by the Vincent family, this land has been used since 1924 as
an airfield by the Curtis Wright Corporation, Martha's Vineyard Flying Club, the
Civil Air Patrol, and others. The Gentle family took over operation of the airfield
in 1944 and operated it continuously until 1985.
runways are available to visiting aircraft. Katama is the largest grass airport
in the United States, with three runways; the longest being 4,000' and running
parallel with Herring Creek Road. When aircraft are using this runway, it gives
the public the closest view of general aviation.
planes are restricted and can only land at Katama Airfield with permission of
the manager. No night take-offs or landings are permitted. At any given time,
Katama Airfield has an eclectic collection of antique, warbird and unusual aircraft
parked on its ramp. This always pleases the non-flying public and gives an air
of nostalgia to the place.
Airfield is one of the few places where a pilot can land and taxi his airplane
right up to the beach, park and take-off after a day of sunning and swimming.
moving and burning that is required to keep the airfield open favors the continuance
of species once found all over the island, but now reduced to this one small pocket.
An ongoing fire management program helps preserve the now rare native grasses
and plants by discouraging trees, shrubs, and non-native species.
combined airport/biological sanctuary is unique and is an apparent paradox. The
symbiotic relationship provides the protection to these precious few acres.
is this delicate balance of man and Nature that the Katama Airfield Trust hopes
to preserve for all future generations. Through the support of the trust, Katama
Airfield will always be an active nature preserve and active airport.
TO CLASSIC AVIATORS