Dare County Regional Airport to celebrate 80th anniversary on September 23

Dare County Regional Airport to celebrate 80th anniversary on September 23

September 7th, 2023

The Dare County Regional Airport will host a free event in celebration of the facility’s 80th anniversary from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at 410 Airport Road in Manteo. 

Admission is free and fly-ins are welcome for this event. Dare County Regional Airport is a nontowered airport with two runways, 5/23 and 17/35, that are 4,306 and 3,303 feet long, respectively. 100LL, Jet A fuel, and major maintenance services are available, as well as parking and tiedowns.

The Dare County Airport’s 80th Anniversary Event promises an unforgettable experience as we commemorate eight decades of aviation. Immerse yourself in the rich history of aviation through captivating historical reenactments, vintage and modern aircraftvintage cars and presentations.

Check out a selection of vendors and food trucks offering aviation memorabilia, locally crafted goods and other delights. Click on the event schedule for a list of presentations that delve into Dare County Airport’s fascinating past and highlight its significant contributions to the region.

This milestone celebration is a true testament to the spirit of aviation and a testament to the enduring legacy of the Dare County Airport. Join us for an extraordinary day that blends history, culture and a deep appreciation for the wonders of flight.

For more information about the Dare County Regional Airport’s 80th anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 23, 2023, please click here or contact Tony Bruno at tbruno164@gmail.com.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the festivities, which are sponsored by The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. 

History of the Dare County Regional Airport

On March 1, 1940, the Dare County Board of Commissioners appointed a committee to acquire property and begin construction of a publicly owned airport in Manteo, and construction soon began at 410 Airport Road. Following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy considered opening a Naval Auxiliary Air Station at Cape Hatteras; however, because airport construction was already underway in Manteo, the Navy selected that site to serve as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station upon its completion. 

Beginning in the fall of 1942, the new facility was initially utilized by the Civil Air Patrol, whose primary task was performing anti-submarine patrols along the coastline in search of German U-boats. The Naval Auxiliary Air Station was officially commissioned on March 3, 1943, and on August 31, 1943, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard took over anti-submarine patrols. 

The U.S. Navy continued special training of numerous squadrons—with the most common aircraft being F4F Wildcats, F6F Hellcats, SB2C Helldivers, TBM and TBF Avengers, PBY Catalinas and F4U Corsairs—until the air station was decommissioned after the end of World War II. In 1947, Dare County asked for the return of the airfield, and the request was granted and it was turned back over to Dare County. 

Since then, the facility has been operated by a fixed-base operator and later the Dare County Airport Authority, which took over the airport in 1983 and continues to oversee the airport’s daily operations today.

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