Thomasville Regional Airport
Thomasville Army Airfield
|Owner||City of Thomasville|
|Elevation AMSL||264 ft / 80 m|
Source: Federal Aviation Administration
Thomasville Regional Airport( IATA : TVI, ICAO : KTVI, FAA LID : TVI) is a city-owned, public-use airport located six nautical miles (7 mi, 11 km) northeast of the central business district of Thomasville, a city in Thomas County, Georgia, United States. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation facility. The airport does not have scheduled commercial airline service.
An IATA airport code, also known as an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier, is a three-letter code designating many airports around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used.
The ICAOairport code or location indicator is a four-letter code designating aerodromes around the world. These codes, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators, are used by air traffic control and airline operations such as flight planning.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a governmental body of the United States with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding international waters. Its powers include the construction and operation of airports, air traffic management, the certification of personnel and aircraft, and the protection of U.S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles. Powers over neighboring international waters were delegated to the FAA by authority of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
During World War II, Thomasville Army Airfield was a United States Army Air Forces Third Air Force training base for reconnaissance and later fighter pilots.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force,or United States Army Air Force, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.
The Third Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA). Its headquarters is Ramstein Air Base, Germany. It is responsible for all U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa operations and support activities in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command's areas of responsibility.
In 1941, civic leaders applied to the Civil Aeronautics Administration to build a modern airport. A site was selected 8.5 miles ENE of the city. After the City and the County purchased 903 acres, the CAA awarded a $316,000 contract for the construction of two 4,000-foot (1,200 m) runways, fences, lighting, and a hangar. By the time the contract had been completed in September 1942, the City and County had leased the airport to the United States Army Air Forces for $1 per year for the duration of the war.
The Army planned to utilize Thomasville as a sub-base of Dale Mabry Army Airfield, Tallahassee, Florida for Third Air Force dive-bomber operational training. Work continued on extending the runways to 5,000 ft., and adding an apron, taxiways, and hardstands. The AAF purchased an additional 152.5 acres for the cantonment area. Eleven Civilian Conservation Corps buildings were moved from Halo, Florida and erected as the initial barracks and mess hall. Forty additional buildings were constructed to provide accommodations for 340 officers and 1000 men. Essentially, the buildings were shacks with 30# tarpaper on the exterior walls and 90# tarpaper on the roof. The structures had neither central heat nor indoor plumbing, requiring the use of potbellied stoves and outdoor latrines. A 50-man unit arrived from Dale Mabry on December 2, 1942 to guard the rising base.
Dale Mabry Army Airfield, was a World War II United States Army Air Force located at the Dale Mabry Field airport in Tallahassee, Florida. The military airfield closed in 1946 and the airport was returned to civil use.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the first director of the agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner's death. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Through the course of its nine years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 per month.
The Army activated Thomasville Army Airfield on March 1, 1943. Shortly thereafter, the 59th Reconnaissance Group, consisting of the 9th, 104th, 119th, and 126th Reconnaissance Squadrons (Fighter) arrived from Fort Myers Army Airfield, Florida with P-39 Airacobras. The mission of the 59th RG was the training of replacement pilots. In actuality, only two of the squadrons were fully manned. Two of the squadrons were squadrons in name only as they had a strength of one man. In August, the 59th was redesignated as the 59th Fighter Group. In turn, the 9th, 104th, and 119th Squadrons became the 488th, 489th, and the 490th Fighter Squadrons. The 126th was redesignated as the 34th Reconnaissance Squadron and transferred to Peterson Army Air Field, Colorado Springs, Colorado. These changes were administrative in nature and the overall manning of the base remained as before.
On September 26, 1943, the base had an "Open House" attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Due to the distance from town, a local bus line provided scheduled service to the base. "Air Puffs" was the base newspaper. In the autumn of the year, additional construction took place at the area commonly referred to as, "Up on the Hill." This wooded area had been used for hunting by some of the men. The new construction provided headquarters, a mess hall, and barracks for the Base Detachment, which operated and maintained the base. The guard squadron, that had been living in tents, received new barracks as well. In November, the last squadron of the 59th FG, the 447th, formed.
On May 1, 1944, the Army redesignated the 59th Fighter Group as the Thomasville Replacement Training Unit. Support organizations included the 1333rd Guard Sq and 493rd Sub Depot. The same month, the P-39s were replaced by P-40 Warhawks. During mid-1944, a $52,000 project provided some additional buildings. Eventually, Thomasville had 128 buildings plus three hangars. Bombing, skip bombing, and strafing took place on a 6,900-acre leased range, 28 miles ESE near Quitman, Georgia.
In May 1945, all these units were replaced by the 339th AAF Base Unit (Combat Crew Training School, Fighter) which flew the P-51 Mustang, replacing the P-40s. On August 1, the Army held another "Open House" on the base. With the end of the war, Thomasville closed on September 30, 1945.
The former base was used for various purposes after the war including a technical college. The runways were used for drag racing and the "Up on the Hill" area became the local "lover's lane."
Very little evidence of the Army remains. Tucked away in a remote part of the airport can be found a taxiway with the base's former bore sighting range and revetment. Still in evidence is a small pit on the range's taxiway for a P-39's nose gear. The pit has a sloped entry that lowered the P-39's nose to allow the bore sighting of the guns. Taildraggers such as the P-40 and P-51 had to have the tail jacked up to bring the guns to bear. The original Army light beacon was also in evidence in 2004.
Thomasville Regional Airport covers an area of 1,301 acres (526 ha) at an elevation of 264 feet (80 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 4/22 is 5,496 by 100 feet (1,675 × 30 m) and 14/32 is 5,000 by 100 feet (1,524 × 30 m).
For the 12-month period ending August 12, 2010, the airport had 12,500 aircraft operations, an average of 34 per day: 98% general aviation and 2% military. At that time there were 48 aircraft based at this airport: 58% single-engine, 23% multi-engine, 13% jet, 2% helicopter, and 4% glider.
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