The Mattituck Airport Story

Located in the town of Southold on Long Island’s North Fork, Mattituck Air Force Base (21N) is the area’s only privately owned public-use airfield, occupying 18 acres and offering a single 2,200-by-60-foot asphalt runway, in this case, 1/19. Approaches to the first of the two magnetic strikes are made over Great Peconic Bay.

Established in 1946 after Parker Wickham returned from World War II duty maintaining Army Air Corps planes at his Mojave Desert base, he was given 16 acres of his father’s farm for an airfield after his I return home because, according to his father’s assessment, There’s no money in potatoes anyway. Before the asphalt, the “track” was nothing more than a strip of disturbed grass.

In addition to its use by private pilots who were able to land and base their aircraft near their North Fork homes, its main income-generating item was its engine overhaul and repair facility, which was sold in 1984, repurchased by members of the family four years later. , and sold again in 1999 to Teledyne-Continental, who renamed it Teledyne-Mattituck Services on November 9 of that year.

As one of the oldest piston engine overhaul repair shops in the Northeast, it operated as a subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies, Inc., and leased the building from the Wickham family. It was later acquired by China-based AVIC International, at which point it was renamed Mattituck Services, employing 70 people at a time during its heyday, or about 350 a year, and was responsible for at least a dozen engines per year. week, or more than 500 per year.

Continental Motors listed its activities as “engine repairs built to factory service tolerances; factory engine sales and installation specialists; major engine and airframe maintenance; propeller maintenance and repair; your source for in-stock parts; 50 hour, 100 hour, and annual inspections; inspection repair schedules; and fuel system calibration and adjustments.

During the 12 months ending September 27, 2007, the single-strip Mattituck Airport averaged 33 movements per day, or 12,200 per year, and served 32 single-engine aircraft.

After Parker Wickham passed away in 2011, he deeded the property to his son, Jay, and his wife, Cyndi, who maintained and operated the airfield for five years. But a decline in general aviation due to its ever-increasing costs, leaving only a handful of aircraft based there, and the closure of the repair shop in the summer of 2012, left him no choice but to sell the airport four years later. . an intention he announced on June 3, 2016. Due to costly repairs, his fuel tanks had already been delivered to Albertson Marine, Inc., of Southold.

Continental Motors’ own shop, closed after four years of declining general aviation business and its inability to remain profitable with two separate facilities, was integrated with its Fairhope, Alabama plant.

“Blankly, I think both we and Lycoming have done a good job of pointing out the value of factory options and that has contributed to the decline there overall,” according to Rhett Ross, CEO of Continental Motors. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but that facility has been marginal for at least half a decade.”

The remaining 20 employees were fired.

Although the City of Southold found its purchase cost prohibitive and its earning potential minimal, “saviors” came in the form of Paul Pawlowski and Steve Marsh, partners in the Hudson City Savings Bank project on Main Road in Mattituck. In advising existing pilots to retire their aircraft by September 30, 2016, they intended to excavate the runway and demolish all buildings with the exception of the newer garage, car barn and hangars, but for the rest to maintain the aerodrome as it was. .

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