1918 to 1948
Compiled by Carolyn Peat
Ithrene Bettis
Miss Bettis         Al. Litzenberger
Ithrene Bettis McGregor

Collection of Carolyn Peat, 9-19-05
  1918  "When Peat was 22..." Across the road from his family's farm on the hill above Dravosburg, Pennsylvania in a cow pasture with a rail fence, a site was cleared on the farm of Harry C. Neel, and made available and open to any pilots who wanted to land.  
  1919  Clifford Ball's chance encounter with Eddie Stinson and his Zephyr Fliers at air field.  
  July 4, 1919  Elmer Best's brother took his first ride with Zenith Flyers.  
  1921  Joe Diamond's Curtiss JN-4D biplane ran into a rail fence.  
  1922  Representative M. Clyde Kelly presented first air mail bill.  
  July 24, 1923  ...huge seven-passenger Junker monoplane unable to land, the plane went to Bridgeville, Mayer Field for a landing.  
  1924  Kenny Scholter, age 14, started spending many hours playing hooky at the air field.  
  1924  Romer Weyant landed William T. "Zip" Richmond's Hisso Standard biplane from the Curtiss factory in New Jersey.  
  1924  When Mr. Peat appeared before Postmaster George Gosser with his idea, "Gosser looked at me and laughed, and almost threw me out," he recalled. "He just waved his hands in the air and said it was a 'foolish' idea," Mr. Peat said. "But he gave me 30 minutes to tell him about it and I sold him on the idea to connect our field up with the air field at Cleveland to bring in mail from the West."  
  February 2, 1925  Air Mail Act signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge. The Kelly Act authorized the postmaster General to
contract with any individual, firm, or corporation for the transportation of air mail by aircraft.
This was the foundation for the domestic commercial airline industry in the United States.
  1925  In the wee hours of the morning, Flora Forbes typed the application letter for the air mail contract on the typewriter of Cliff Ball's secretary.  
  1925  Air Show promoted with the help of Republican congressman Clyde Kelly of McKeesport. The U.S. Army Air Corps brought transports, bombers, and pursuit planes. There was parachute jumping and an air race.  
  June 19, 1925  Pittsburgh-McKeesport Airport Company announced the opening of the air field to the public with D. Barr Peat as Manager. Attending this grand affair was Lieut. Cyrus K. Bettis and the Army Air Corps.  
  October 17-18, 1925  American Legion Air Meet  
  March 27, 1926  Contract Air Mail route #11 was awarded to the Pittsburgh-McKeesport Airport Company.  
  June 3, 1926  Approval of Amendment to the Air Mail Act of 1925 provided for transmission of mail by aircraft at fixed rates per pound, including equipment.  
  July 31, 1926  Russ McIlwain's plane spun out on landing, crashed and burned. (Jamie Dom and Red Shaffer were passengers:  
  August 2, 1926  Clifford Ball sold his stock in Pittsburgh-McKeesport Airport Company and contracted with them for Skyline Transportation Company to use the Field including hanger space.  
  August 23, 1926  Lt. Bettis, while en route from Philadelphia to Selfridge Field in Michigan, leading a formation of three Army airplanes, crashed into Jack's mountain near Bellefonte, PA.  
  September 1, 1926  Lieut. Cyrus K. Bettis died.  
  April 21, 1927  Inaugural flight of Contract Air Mail route #11 into Bettis Field from Cleveland on a rainy day.  
  June 29, 1927  Army Major Thomas G. Lanphier had this surprise landing for Barr, ostensibly for gas, of Charles A. Lindbergh after official greetings at Washington, D.C. and New York on his way to St. Louis to visit William B. Robertson.  
  August 3, 1927  Official visit of Lindbergh on a three month nation-wide tour in the Spirit of St. Louis.  
  May 30-31, 1928  The National Balloon Races.  
  June, 1928  Roscoe Turner landed his First Flying United Cigar Store in a Sikorsky S-29-A with two Liberty 12, 400 HP engines..  
  August 26, 1928  "Clifford Ball's Airline" began the first scheduled passenger service over the Alleghenies from Cleveland to Washington, D. C. via Bettis Field.  
  September 5-6, 1928  National Air Races refueling and timing stop between New York and Columbus, Ohio.  
  June 15, 1929  Pittsburgh-McKeesport Airport Company "Bettis Field" was sold to Aircraft and Airway Corporation of America, Inc., a subsidiary of Curtiss Aviation.  
  1948  Bettis Field sold to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.  

Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory - Updated
via email from Scott Johnson, 1-16-06
     Please pass along to Jo Swanson (Lt Bettis’ niece) that the site of the old airfield named for her uncle is now the home for the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory (in fact we have Lt Bettis' picture in our main hallway). The Bettis lab continues the proud tradition of the Bettis name. It is the birth place of the nuclear navy and is still going strong, supporting our aircraft carriers and submarines.

M. Clyde Kelly
M. Clyde Kelly
Library of Congress Collection, 6-26-08

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