Several Golden Age airfields dotted the Greater Pittsburgh area. They are described below in a listing courtesy of this REFERENCE.
Greater Pittsburgh Area Airports, 1937
The Pittsburgh-McKeesport Airport was named Bettis Field in memory of Cyrus Bettis (1893-1926). The photograph, left, is from his U.S. passport application submitted in 1923.
The New York Times, November 3, 1926 (Source: NYT)
Bettis was an Army flier. The accident below was reported in the Kingston Daily Freeman (NY), August 25, 1926. He did not survive his injuries. He died at 9 A.M. on September 1, 1926 in the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC where he had been flown by an Army ambulance plane.
The New York Times of November 3, 1926 announced the naming of Bettis Airfield in his honor, right.
Famous Aviator Found Alive in Penna. Woods
Lieut. Bettis, Army Flying Ace, Missing Since Monday Is Found - Injuries serious But Not Dangerous - Owes Life to Grit - Weak from Loss of Blood.
Bellefonte, Pa., Aug. 25 (UP) - Lieut. Cyrus K. Bettis, army flying Ace, missing since Monday, was found alive in the Seven Sister Mountains today and is now in the Centre County Hospital here in a serious but not dangerous condition.
The flyer's left leg is broken below the knee; his skull is fractured in two places and he has severe lacerations on the face and head.
Owes Life to Grit.
The army officer owes his life to his grit. Buried deep in the thick forest where no one could find him or his wrecked plane, he crawled for five and a half hours through the tangled underbrush until he came to a roadway where he was later found by two state highway employees.
On Way To Michigan City.
Accompanied by two other planes Lieut. Bettis was flying from the sesquicentennial grounds, Philadelphia, to Selfridge Field in Michigan, when he ran into a fog on Monday afternoon approximately twenty miles southeast of Bellefonte and lost his way. In searching for a landmark he crashed against the side of a mountain and fell. This was at 1:15 p. m.
Plane Catches in Tree.
In falling one wing of the plane caught in a tree and the machine wrapped itself around the trunk, breaking the force of the fall. Whether Lieutenant Bettis was rendered unconscious in striking the ground is not yet known as he is in no condition to talk. What information was obtained was given by him to the highway employees enroute to the hospital.
Found on Main Highway.
Bettis was found on the main highway running from Lewistown to Bellefonte. The section of the road where he lay when picked up is under reconstruction and all traffic is detoured three or four miles away. He was discovered in the road at 8:30 a. m. by Ralph Snyder and Russell Sweetwood who were driving along in an automobile on their way to work on the road. He was lifted into the machine and rushed here.
Officer Very Weak.
The lieutenant was very weak from loss of blood and lack of food and water, and the two highway employes did not question him too much. He told them of having managed to crawl from the wreckage of his plane and for hours calling for help. He feared to leave the plane as it was a marker from the air, in the event a searching plane located the wrecked machine.
Two months later, several thousand persons attended the dedication of Bettis Airfield. The airfield is described about halfway down the descriptions above.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY MUNICIPAL AIRPORT
Description of Allegheny County Airport is the second one down in the description above. The aerial photograph below is from this REFERENCE. It is still an operating airport in the Pittsburgh area.
Allegheny County Airport, Pittsburgh, PA, ca. 1933
BUTLER COUNTY AIRPORT
Butler Airport is described in the second entry from the bottom in the 1937 list above. It is still an operating airport north of the greater Pittsburgh area.
Butler County Airport, Pittsburgh, PA, ca. 1933
Bettis Airport Manager
A Ryan aircraft (NC4942, not a Register airplane) is seen at the link on Mayer Field ca. 1931. The important detail about this image is the "MAYER - FIELD" painted on the hangar roof. Note the "keystone" registration number painted on the side of the fuselage, indicating the airplane was registered in the state of Pennsylvania. Note also the obligatory shadow of the photographer. He is wearing a fedora and looking down into the range finder of his camera. From the coat on the woman, it is probably July in Pittsburgh!
Another excellent Web resource for Mayer Field is at the link. This link contains information as well as some excellent aerial photographs of the field. As was the case for many vintage airfields, the site of Mayer Field became the Great Southern Shopping Center in the mid-1960s.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 10/25/10 REVISED: