Greeneville Airport History
Brief Overview of the Greeneville Municipal Airport, Greeneville, Tennessee
as told to Sherry Hensley, by Walt Stone Summer, 2021
The current FBO building at the Greeneville Municipal Airport was built in 1968. The only airport in the area prior to the Greeneville location, was a small airport in Tusculum. It was located in a nice level area behind Tusculum University and operated until the current Greeneville Airport was constructed. Portions of the original runway are still visible although a sub-division and Tusculum University soccer fields occupy the space that was once used for the Magnavox Company to fly corporate folks in and out of Greeneville. The Tusculum Airport was only about 2,800 feet. They flew a DC-3 in and out of Tusculum and the Magnavox folks said to build a bigger airport for their fleet or they were pulling out of Greeneville. The Magnavox fleet consisted of Convairs and other large planes that needed plenty of runway space.
The Malone Brothers operated the Greeneville FBO 1968-69 and American Aviation managed it 1969-70. The oldest T-Hangars were built in the early 1970’s. Walt Stone managed the Greeneville FBO from 1970-1980. He remembers selling fuel for $ .18 per gallon back in those days, with 17 planes based at the airport. He also set up a flight school and worked closely with FAA officials to improve the airport and remembers working with Senator Howard Baker to make improvements and move things forward. The runway was 75 feet wide and 5,000 feet long. Later the runway was widened to 100 feet, with an additional 1,300 feet in length. 1973-75 were strong years at the Greeneville Airport with cargo flights, flight training and it played an important part in building economic relationships with companies located in Greeneville and the surrounding area. Stone recalls certain celebrities flying into Greeneville including Hank Aaron and Tex Ritter. Charlton Heston, various political figures and three US Astronauts have also visited the Greeneville Airport. The ownership at that time belonged jointly between the City of Greeneville and Greene County. Although different managers operated the FBO, including Greeneville Air Service, Diamond G Aviation, and Greeneville Flying Service, it was the Smead family that operated the FBO for the longest period, 27 years.
In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, the Magnavox Company started downsizing, although the need for an expanding airport continued. As general aviation interests grew, so did sky-diving and other aviation related activities such as the Civil Air Patrol and the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association). Currently, the airport ownership solely belongs to the City of Greeneville with a governing body of five members which make up the Greeneville Municipal Airport Authority.