Airport Users Rescue Airfield Through Unique Partnership
Tom and Sharon Poberezny with Jack Elliot, a longtime aviation columnist with the New Jersey Star-Ledger. His column about the world of flying ran for 38 years.
September 24, 2009 — Last year, Sky Manor Airport (N40) in Pittstown, New Jersey - “The best little airport in the east” - was in serious financial trouble and foreclosure on the property was looming. So pilots, including members of EAA Chapter 643 decided to do something about it. “All of us pilots that were based there got together and bought the airport, so we’re all owners of the airport,” said Chapter President Dave Harmon. “This was a unique adventure where we bought our hangars, put up the capital that way, and took over the bank mortgage.”
Last weekend, on a beautiful Saturday, September 19, the chapter held its 4th annual fly-in at Sky Manor, celebrating the rebirth of their airport.
Sky Manor, which dates back to the 1940s, features all the dream amenities including: an EAA chapter, a restaurant, maintenance facilities, flight training operations, balloon flights, and the cheapest fuel in the area. After purchasing the property, the new owner group, under the name Sky Manor Partners, LLC., set about making a number of capital improvements, like renovating the restaurant, tearing down some buildings, expanding parking areas, and landscaping. “We’re operating in the black and we’re doing a lot of improvements on the airport.” Harmon said.
EAA President Tom Poberezny, his wife Sharon, and EAA Directors Alan Ritchie and Rich Beebe visited Sky Manor during the fly-in and met with the six principal investors. Poberezny said the event was very successful. “EAA looks forward to sharing [this investor model] with all members, as it could be helpful in saving other airports in danger of closing,” he said.
Harmon was bullish about the event, which drew an estimated 100 aircraft as well as classic cars and motorcycles on display. “No question about it, this was the best fly-in we ever had,” he added.