Behind Every Airport is a Story

When Charles Lindbergh visited South Carolina on his tour of the 48 states following his historic Atlantic crossing in 1927, he came to Spartanburg for the simple reason that it was, at the time, the only airport in the state.

Historical Timeline

World War 1 

Local Spartanburg Aviators go to fight in France in 1917


Local WW1 Ace Bob Cates who, in 1920, suggested to the Spartanburg City Council that the city should build an airport


The Council readily agreed—and put Cates in charge of the undertaking.

Oct 12th 1927

Charles Lindberg visits Spartanburg

 May 1st 1928

First commercial airport in South Carolina with Air Mail delivery


1st Air wedding in South Carolina. Robert Turner, marries Doris Bell in Ford Tri-Motor Airplane

over the Spartanburg


Spartanburg Airport Control tower is closed after Air Traffic Controller Union Strike

May 29th 1928

Airport dedicated as a Memorial airport

1932 thru 1950's

Southern Airways, Piedmont Airways, Eastern and Delta Airlines operate out of Spartanburg


An Instrument Landing System is added to the airport, which enables pilots to conduct an instrument approach to landing if they are unable to establish visual contact with the runway.

Nov 14th 1931

Amelia Earhart visited the area and Spartanburg Airport 

October 1962

Nearby GSP Airport opens. Spartanburg becomes a General Aviation Airport


The airport underwent a $4.4 million transformation with renovations to the terminal building and two new units of T-hangars. 


Eastern Airlines begins to operate out of Spartanburg 


The 1970s brought explosive growth in the population of pilots and airplanes as well. 


Completion of a $30.5 million runway project. The runway was extended by 650 feet bringing the total length to nearly 6,000 feet.