All photography provided by Friends of Myricks Airfield

We are aviation enthusiasts, pilots, and future pilots  dedicated to the preservation of general aviation and the freedom of flying.  

 

Our Mission

Our mission is to not only preserve this wonderful property as open space for the education and enjoyment of the public but to also ensure its perpetual use as a turf airfield. Through sponsored events, continued use for general aviation, education and outreach we will work to ensure this continued use. 

 

Our ideals, laws and customs should be based on the proposition that each generation, in turn, becomes the custodian rather than the absolute owner of our resources and each generation has the obligation to pass this inheritance on to the future.    A quote from Charles Lindberg


History

The airport at 168 Padelford Street in Myricks was built at the sight of the former Brightman Dairy Farm (1932-1946).  The house at the airport was built before 1836, when E. Williams owned this property. In 1858, Elkanah and Hannah C. (Hart) Pierce lived there. At various times this house has been used as a two family house. Tenants included Hephzibah Taylor and Jacob C. Haskins.  This fifty four acre farm was converted into an airport by John Brightman prior to WWII.  John flew a Cub, probably was a J5, prior to the war but flight was prohibited within 50 miles of the coast for the duration.  John disassembled and stored the Cub in a chicken coup.  In that era John and his mother supported themselves providing sparse residence for "state boys" orphaned during the war.  The airport has a 2,200 foot grass runway, a wood frame hanger, a steel quonset style  hangar. and a tee hanger. There were two flight instructors, Ben Rose and John Brightman. From 1946 to 1954, there was an approved primary flying school at this airport. Under the GI Bill of Rights over 300 veterans learned to fly at Myricks where more than a few signed up for flight instruction to convert their legal benefits into cash shared with the airport.  In 1948, airplane rides cost $2. 

 

 Milking stations remain as evidence of the properties agricultural past

Milking stations remain as evidence of the properties agricultural past

The flight school financial flurry of WWII provided John and Irene Brightman the resources to build the Rainbow Motel off the circle on the Cape.  The lumber to build the motel was largely cut from the airfield property.  John bought an early V tail Bonanza with a controllable wood prop, wintered often in Costa Rica, shuttering the motel for the winter.  John's mother continued to live in house until 1972 living to the age of 103.  The house was essentially vacant from 1972 into 1980.

 

 Two silo foundations just north of the barn foundation

Two silo foundations just north of the barn foundation

 

 

The Brightmans sold the Rainbow Motel in the late 1970's, moving to the property across Padelford St..  Irene worked as a local bank office manager while John prowled for skirts.  The Brightmans put the airfield property on the real estate market in 1978, listed at $160,000.  Note, that the house had been vacant for eight years.  There were three serious prospects interested in the property.    Russ Francis, a NE Patriot tight end of considerable repute, a scoring leader for the Pats for many seasons, apparently considered the runway too short.  Fame brushed by and the ignominy of becoming a repackaging and distribution center of the ag chemical Seven for a chemical processing company loomed.  However the town of Berkley would not offer zoning conditions suitable to the company.  Murray Randall was the only one left standing in the line.  

 

 Immediately upon purchasing the field Randall began the tedious process of opening the previously private restricted runway for public.  Within two years Aeronautics Commissioner Arnie Stymest accomplished the task.   Simultaneously the land was opened to the public for recreational purposes.  In 1989 about eighteen recreational planes, were kept at Myricks.  An aerial banner towing business operated for twenty years.  The banner business started as a low income activity developed at its peak into a four plane operation with Murray, Jeff Davis, Paul Merriam, Arlene Meyers, Billy Crooker and even John Greenlaw doing the flying.  The first plane pressed into banner duty was a Piper Pawnee 150 agricultural applications plane acquired from Dart Aviation in trade for a Piper Colt plus $5,000.  That Pawnee was one of two purchased by the US CIA to leaflet Havana during the Bay of Pigs operation in April 1961.  The CIA operatives had constructed a bomb bay door at the bottom of the chemical hopper.  At the completion of its patriotic service, 75Z saw duty forest fire patrol with the state of Michigan and then attempted to tow gliders for Dart Aviation.  As banners morphed from 5 ft hi nylon letters pinned together to form promotional messages to 4,000 sq ft "bill boards" the engine power requirements increased substantially and we responded with a 250 HP Pawnee and two Super Cubs.  As the 150 HP Cubs were marginal the Pawnee was favored.   But along the way a big black dog was unceremonious left at Myricks.  Finding no willing claimants for Paco and an inexplicable willingness to fly and no room in the Pawnees, accommodations were in order.  One of the Cubs was fitted with a 180 HP O-360.  Still no excess power but Paco never missed another banner flight.  

 The Big Black Dog & Mur after a banner in the Cub

The Big Black Dog & Mur after a banner in the Cub

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 Arlene intent on a banner pick up

Arlene intent on a banner pick up

  Over the years numerous aircraft have emerged from the shops at Myricks.  Several Super Cubs, a Volmer Sportsman, a Piper Colt, Fleet, Stampe and on. 

 Fleet Model 16B

Fleet Model 16B

 

     In 2007 a conservation easement was donated to The Trustees of Reservations to insure that land could not be developed while insuring the option that the land could remain an airport indefinitely.  The conservation merits of the airfield land are enhanced as the property north boundary is the Cotley Brook and the wet lands.  As a pleasant consequence north boundary privacy is assured.

 In the early days even commercial accounts used letter bannersThat is Toby Baird's Citabria

In the early days even commercial accounts used letter bannersThat is Toby Baird's Citabria

  • The Myricks Airfield property has served its custodians well over the years.  The following three pages outline the framework of the engineering consulting business that Randall operated from the house for thirty-four years.  Its slow going and not required reading

  


Excerpts from

 Myricks Massachusetts: A Farming Settlement, A Railroad Village, 2009

by Gail E. Terry