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Commercial air service to Bloomington began on Nov. 6, 1950 with Ozark’s first flight into Bloomington Municipal Airport. Local officials were guests on the inaugural flight.
The period from Wednesday through Sunday around Thanksgiving is usually the busiest travel time of the year in the U.S. Fortunately for folks flying in or out of Bloomington, local airport facilities have expanded dramatically since 1964!
This 1931 scene at that field shows a local delegation standing before one of Century Air Lines’ 10-passenger Stinson tri-motor “ships.” The occasion was the inauguration of air passenger service to this area.
An estimated 200 area residents were on hand at the Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport) to celebrate the start of scheduled commercial air service to Bloomington. Seen here are Bloomington Postmaster Carter Pietsch (right) and Otto Gerth handing sacks of mail to stewardess Mary Forgach.
The McLean County chapter of Flying Farmers offered free airplane rides to some 70 moms and dads on Father’s Day, June 21, 1953.
Seen here at Bloomington Municipal Airport are Ivel Wade (left) and Art Hill (right) holding ten-month-olds.
This aerial view of Bloomington Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport, or CIRA) looks northwest and shows the main hanger and East Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Today, this old hanger site is occupied by Image Air and the Prairie Aviation Museum.
On the evening of November 3, 1926, Charles Lindbergh jumped out of his U.S. airmail biplane somewhere in the skies far above McLean County. Flying blind and out of fuel at 13,000 feet, a 24-year-old “Lucky Lindy” parachuted into the inky darkness and blowing snow. He landed unharmed at a farm just outside of Covell, an unincorporated community southwest of Bloomington. Meanwhile, his doomed, pilotless aircraft had crashed nearby.
The McLean County Museum of History’s largest artifact, the Tilbury Flash racing plane, has officially arrived at the Central Illinois Regional Airport terminal.