aerial map showing 199 Turner Field superimposed over 2017 view
aerial map showing 199 Turner Field superimposed over 2017 view

Turner Field

Turner Field
photo of Turner PA 58 Aeronca
Art Turner- owner of Turner Field - in front of his first Aeronca, at Turner Field 1958
photo of Turner PA 58 Aeronca
Art Turner- owner of Turner Field - in front of his first Aeronca, at Turner Field 1958




Art Turner ran a small general purpose airport known as Turner Field in Horsham PA from about 1947-1988.

Turner Field was located just southwest of the intersection of Horsham and Lower State Roads in Horsham. It was one of several small airports in the area, others being Montgomeryville (site of the current Airport Square Shopping Center) which closed between 1986 and 1990, and Warrington (located at 2621 Bristol Road), which was closed around 1991

These were in addition to other airfields such as Pitcairn Field, also in Horsham which became the Willow Grove NAS, Brewster in Warminster which became the Johnsville NAS (both now closed, Doylestown, and Wings Field in Blue Bell which are are both still open.

Turner Field was opened sometime between 1945-47 and closed in 1988. The photo above shows the current area in 2017 with a 1992 map of what was left of Turner Field super-imposed on it. You can see one runway crossing what is now Tudor Drive and another running through the Abramson Center.

Harold Pitcairn started Pitcairn Field quite early, in 1926. Montgomery, Warrington, and Turner began in the 1940s. This area was mostly farmland at that time so there was little friction between homeowners and planes. Planes (and autogiros) also offered a quick and easy way to get around, Pitcairn and Cornell (Warrington) both offered air taxi service to Philadelphia. Wings field ran Wings Airways with up to 22 flights per day to Philadelphia through the 1970-80s (Wikipedia)

1947 NY Sectional Chart showing Turner Field
1947 NY Sectional Chart showing Turner Field
1947 NY Sectional Chart showing Turner Field
1947 NY Sectional Chart showing Turner Field






A 1988 Philadelphia (Inquirer - link not working 11/22/2017 article says that Turner Field was opened in 1948 but Paul Freeman dates it to 1945-7 since the airport is shown on the 1947 NY Sectional Chart, but not the 1945 version.




aerial photo of Turner Field Horsham 1948
aerial photo of Turner Field Horsham 1948
aerial photo of Turner Field Horsham 1948
aerial photo of Turner Field Horsham 1948







The earliest photo which has been located of Turner Field is an aerial view from May 2, 1948, showing 3 grass runways, with several buildings and one light aircraft on the north side of the field. One of these runways was paved by 1958, The Aerodromes table on the 1958 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Norman Freed) described Turner as having a total of 3 runways, with the primary runway having a 1,700' macadam section within a total length of 2,300'. The 1960 Jeppesen Airway Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted Turner Field as having a single 2,050' paved Runway 13/31 a 2,300 unpaved . Runway 7/25, and a 1,900' unpaved Runway 3/21. 3/21 was closed by 1962.

Paul and Jessica Tholey - who later owned part of the property - donated a horse draw road grader to HPHA. This grader is supposed to have been used to grade the runways at the airfield.

photo of horse drawn Road Grader from Front
Antique Horse Drawn Road Grader donated to HPHA by Paul and Jessica Tholey from Turner Field
photo of horse drawn Road Grader from Front
Antique Horse Drawn Road Grader donated to HPHA by Paul and Jessica Tholey from Turner Field

Art Turners son, Bud, was also a pilot, but unfortunately was killed in a accident.

Steve Moyer recalled, “Bud Turner (Art’s son) was my best friend and was killed on 11/22/62 while flying from Avoca to Turner Field.They descended into Blue Ridge Mountain early in the evening.”

The Daily Intelligence reported another crash at Turner on August 29, 1977 in which 3 members of a family were killed.

Tom Bright took flying lessons at Turner Field in the early 1960s, and recalled that Bud Turner was killed in a crash of his Piper Aztec."The newspaper later that week gave the details that his altimeter indicated 2,500' MSL, but the Aztec was found at 1,500', just short of the crest of a wooded hill."
photo of Kellet KC-1A Autogiro at Turner Field
Kellet KC-1A Autogiro at Turner Field 1959
photo of Kellet KC-1A Autogiro at Turner Field
Kellet KC-1A Autogiro at Turner Field 1959




Harold Pitcairn is well known for many reasons, one of them being his long development of the fixed wing aircraft known as an autogiro. In 1929 his company licensed Philadelphia based Kellett Autogiro Corporation to build these aircraft, and their model KD-1/G-1 was the first practical rotary-wing aircraft used by the United States Army. They stopped producing autogiros in the 1940s, switching to helicopters. The photo shows one of their autogyros at Turner Field. The source for this photo says it is a KC-1A but Wikipedia does not list a KC being made by Kellett so this may be a KD-1A. (Wikipedia

photo of Aeronca 65 at Turner Field Horsham PA
Aeronca 7AC Champion N83618 at Turner Field 1965
photo of Aeronca 65 at Turner Field Horsham PA
Aeronca 7AC Champion N83618 at Turner Field 1965

Nathan Sturman took his first flying lesson at Turner Field in 1963.

"It was a crisp Tuesday morning in 1963, and I was on summer vacation when I removed the sum of twenty dollars from my savings account...and bicycled the 25 kilometers from my home in Philadelphia to Turner's Field, now closed. It was a long, hot ride through pleasant countryside, with the occasional fright of being chased by an unfriendly dog. I arrived at Turner's Field at about noon. Instructors Ike Blair & Jim Frankenfield were lounging around the living room/office in the white farmhouse.The airplane I was to get my first lesson in was a chocolate brown & cream 1946 Aeronca 7AC Champion, N83618, equipped with a 65 hp Continental engine & big funny splash guards above its balloon tires."

With the area around them being developed, the air fields were left with no room to expand and the land used by the air fields became more valuable as real estate. The land that was Montgomery Airport, along busy PA Route 309, is now the Airport Square Shopping Center. Most of the 140 acre Turner field, which according to co-owner Bud Moyer was closed "for the money" (Inquirer- link not functioning 11/22/2017) is now a David Cutler housing development and the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life.

photo of Frank Palmer on 68 Cherokee at Turner Field
Frank Palmer on his father's Cherokee 160 at Turner Field 1968
photo of Frank Palmer on 68 Cherokee at Turner Field
Frank Palmer on his father's Cherokee 160 at Turner Field 1968
aerial photo Turner Field 2001
aerial photo Turner Field 2001
aerial photo Turner Field 2001
aerial photo Turner Field 2001

Turner field was closed in late 1988, its 140 acres sold to the David Cutler Group. At the time of its closing it was home to 130 planes, business was good with a waiting list for hangers. (Inquirer - link not working 11/22/2017). Photo shows faint remnants of the runways in a USGS aerial photo from April 2001.

Ned Holteen, a Fort Washington dentist, piloted his planes from Turner for the 30 years, but sold his Cherokee after learning that Turner soon would be closed.

"The sale of the field was a deciding factor," said Holteen, who as a teenager helped Arthur Turner remove trees to clear a path for the airstrip.

"I'm sorry to see it go. . . . It's the end of an era."

Holteen praised Turner as a unique field that was "people-oriented and a place where everyone knows each other . . . It was a super outfit."( Inquirer - link not working 11/22/2017)


Much of the information in this article is from Airfields-Freeman.com created by Paul Freeman used with his permission . Check out this site for more info on Turner Field and other abandoned airfields across the country.




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Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA)
900 Governor Road
Horsham, PA 19044 USA
© 2000- Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
A Community Benefit Organization

Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA)
900 Governor Road
Horsham, PA 19044 USA
© 2000- Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
We are A Community Benefit Organization
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