|By Carmelo Turdo|
Salem-Leckrone Field, host to IAC Chapter 61 and the Salem Aerobatic Contest, has a Midwest Aviation legacy stretching back to before World War II. A walk-through of one of the hangars revealed dates in the concrete floor from 1942, during the period when pilots were being trained by the military at the airport. The airport was named for Salem, IL resident Phillip Howard Leckrone, a local pilot who was one of the original American volunteer members of the Eagle Squadron of the Royal Air Force after training in Canada before the U.S. entered World War II. He was one of the first Americans trained in the Spitfire fighter, and was credited with shooting down or sharing victories for five enemy aircraft while flying patrols over the English Channel. Leckrone was tragically killed in an in-flight collision on January 5, 1941, while serving in No. 71 Squadron. Today, the airport occupies 364 acres, offers a 4,098ft. runway and FBO Tate's Flying Service offers 100LL aviation fuel, flight training and other services. A newly-renovated operations building makes any visiting pilot feel welcome.
Salem-Leckrone Field, owned by the Salem Airport Authority, is an important community asset. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation 2012 Illinois Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study, the airport has a total impact (including within the local community) of 19 jobs, total payroll of $500,700 and total output of $2.2 million. The recent addition of a Cessna 172 for flight training and rental is a tangible example of the expansion of services offered at the airport. Here are some views of the newly-acquired aircraft:
The Aero Experience went up for a flight in a Piper Cub with pilot Kevin Kegin on Sunday morning for a survey flight around Salem. Kevin's smooth flying made the photo flight fun and productive. Here are a few photos and a video from the local flight:
The Aero Experience thanks the Salem-Leckrone Field staff for their hospitality and assistance in preparing this story.