Submitted by Our Town Stettler September 30, 2021
In June of 1969, more than 1,000 district residents and crews of 86 aircraft were in attendance at the grand opening of the new Stettler Airport. Mayor Robyn Sloan addressed the crowd on the efforts taken to make the project possible, and Battle River MP Clifford Downey spoke about his satisfaction with the Federal government recognizing the importance of Stettler.
Alberta Aviation Council President Fred Winters also addressed the crowd. He spoke about the Underwood Flying Machine from 1907, built by the Underwood Brothers of Botha. The Underwood Flying machine was made from canvas and farm equipment parts, and although it only left the ground for a few seconds at a time, it marked the first flight in the Stettler district.
A fly-in breakfast then served 455 people, including S.R Lantinga, the Edmonton Regional director of Air Services for the Department of Stettler and Reeve James Baugh of Stettler County. Also in attendance was Edmonton Chairman of the International Ninety-Niners, Eleanor Bailey. The International Ninety-Niners is a women’s pilot association that started in 1929 and is still active today.
Master of Ceremonies at the grand opening was the President of the Stettler Chamber of Commerce, Graham Harle. The Stettler Flying Club President at the time was Tom Armstrong.
It took $6,000 to acquire the field, and another $75,000 was needed to develop the facility with the modern terminal building and 2,000-foot hard-surfaced runway. The Department of Transportation gave $30,000 to the project, and the town and County of Stettler and the Flying Club had to arrange the remaining $45,000.
Carson Ellis, Local Historian
Our Town Stettler