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Cortez has a rich and significant Aviation Heritage …
From its beginning in the 1930’s, when “Aviation Pioneers” Polly
and Rollin Usher brought aviation service to Cortez . . .
2009 marks the 60th Anniversary of the August 14, 1949, First
Commercial Airline and Air Mail Service from Cortez.
2009 is also the 50th Anniversary of “The Night the ‘Black Cat’
Landed at Cortez.” The captivating Cold War saga
centers on then Major Hsichan Mike Hua ROCAF(Ret), an intrepid
Taiwanese pilot who landed his CIA U-2 at the Cortez
Airfield the night of August 3, 1959. General Hua will
join us to share his memories of that remarkable
Later, in 1977, Jack Rodd
and Harold Benham piloted the "City of Cortez" Beechcraft
airplane in a World Record Breaking Around The World Flight!
They were honored as aviation heroes, with accolades for
their amazing accomplishment from both national and state officials.
The plane's original propeller and the Rodd and Benham story
will be on display at the Cortez Airport terminal beginning in May,
2009. The former "City of Cortez" airplane, piloted by its
current owner, Mr. Joseph G Melchiorre have graciously agreed to
visit us in mid-September, 2009. For details, see the
"Events Schedule" page.
It would be difficult to imagine what Cortez would be like
without our Airport (FAA designation, CEZ); our local aviators;
local commercial air service, provided by Great Lakes
Airlines; our Fixed Based Operator (FBO)
“Cortez Flying Service;” along with the activities of
the local Chapters of the Experimental Aircraft
Association and the Civil Air Patrol Senior
From its beginning, and through the years that have followed,
all the folks and service providers associated with Cortez
aviation have truly enriched our lives.
In recognition of this, the City of Cortez is
hosting the “2009 Cortez Aviation Heritage Celebration.”
Exhibits . . .