Dansville Airport

Dansville Airport

Dansville Municipal
Airport (DSV)

N42-34.25 W077-42.78

Dansville, NewYork

Operated for the Town of North Dansville by Sterling Airways, Inc

General Aviation Serving America

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Coordinates – N42-34.25; W077-42.78

Waypoint – GEE-108.2 186 degrees 15.6.

Elevation – 662 feet.

Runways – 14-32 3635 x 100, asphalt surface. Lights are PCL. Building at runway 14, trees at runway 32. 18-36 3105 x 100, asphalt surface. Lights are PCL. Building at runway 36, trees at runway 18.

Lights – SS to SR, 123.00 (3 clicks in 5 seconds, low intensity; 5 clicks in 5 seconds, medium intensity; 7 clicks in 5 seconds, high intensity); beacon.

Approaches – VOR/DME or GPS RWY 18

FSS – Buffalo 122.1R, 122.6

Communication Frequencies – Approach control Rochester 123.7, UNICOM/CTAF 123.00

Automated Weather Operating System (AWOS) – 118.325, 585-335-2380.

Charts – Detroit; L12.

Fuel – Avfuel 100LL

Sterling Airways, Inc – 585-335-2076   Fax 585-335-3012   176 Franklin St, Dansville NY 14437. Frequency 123.00. Hours 8:00am to dark.  
Hornell office – 607-324-2742   Fax 607-324-2707   1100 Airport Rd, Hornell NY 14843

DUATS Weather and Flight Planning – for certified pilots only.


AirNav – airport and navigation data.

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Facilities – Public phone, overnight parking at airport. Within walking distance are MacDonalds (100 yards),
Burger King, Arby’s, Subway, Truck Stop with 24-Hour Restaurant and Motel. Taxi – 585-335-5223, 585-335-5595. Car Rental – 585-335-8280, 585-335-2227, 585-335-3810.

Local Attractions – See Dansville Community Home Page

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Airport History

1911 Biplane
A Thomas Headless Biplane is pictured in 1911 near the site of the present-day airport. Walter Johnson piloted the craft for these first airplane flights in Livingston County. Lynn Pickard was among the spectators.

The Dansville Airport was the creation of Lynn E. Pickard (1889-1968), who was 22 years old
when, in 1911, he was witness to the first airplane flight in Dansville. Joining the Army Air Force in
1918, he was commissioned as a pilot with combat rating; later, he obtained a commercial pilot’s

From 1919 on, his Waco biplane was a familiar sight over the skies of Dansville. His hand-picked
landing field was a 50-acre plot of land just off Maple Street. His campaign to make it into a bona
fide airport came to fruition in 1927, and on October 2 a crowd of 10,000 was on hand for the
dedication, complete with an aerial circus and even a mid-air wedding ceremony. The Dansville
Airport was established with federal aid, with the town and village governments sharing the cost of
upkeep. There was, as yet, no hangar on the site, just the words “Dansville Airport” spelled out in
large letters on the ground.

But Pickard’s work was not done. He continued to lobby for the improvement of airport facilities,
warning that, should it not be brought up to Department of Commerce standards, its existence
could be short-lived. In the mid-1930’s a number of federally-sponsored Depression-era work
relief projects were directed at the airport. The landing fields were enlarged; some of the maple
trees that gave Maple Street its name had to be removed for safety’s sake. A hangar was
constructed in 1934, at a cost of $14,000.
Also, in 1933, Dansville Flying Service Inc. was
formed for the purpose of operating and promoting the Municipal Airport; Maxwell Sweet was its
first president.

Main Hanger
The main hanger as it appeared in 1936. The biplane is a 1935 Lockeed Vega. Piloted by Joe Costa, this plane crashed near Rio de Janeiro during an attempt to travel around the globe.

In 1939 the U.S. government okayed the installment of a field lighting system, as well as a weather
bureau station and a teletype system. The World War II years were busy years for the airport.
Civilian pilot training classes were begun in 1940, under the supervision of the Civil Aeronautics
Aviation Authority. 1941 saw $186,000 in federal defense funds spent for runway reconstruction
and an improved surface water drainage system. And Lynn Pickard was among those who led
flight training courses for enlisted men, beginning in 1942.

Some postwar milestones: 1947–Charles Lindbergh makes a brief one-hour stop at the Dansville
Airport. 1948–the first direct air shipment of freight by air from Dansville, a 1000-pound delivery
from Foster Wheeler to a factory in Indianapolis. 1957– the first jet aircraft to land in Dansville, a
Canberra fighter bomber.

For 38 years until his retirement in 1990, James Schwenzer managed the Dansville Municipal
Airport as president of Genesee Aviation Inc. Now operated by Sterling Airways, the Dansville
Airport continues to serve its community, and has become a particular favorite of glider pilots and balloonists. The annual Labor Day balloon rally, begun in 1982, draws many tens of thousands of spectators and dozens of hot-air balloon operators.

– David Gilbert

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Dansville Pilots Association

The Dansville Pilots Association, Incorporated (DPA), was formed in the late 1960’s to
promote general aviation, flying safety, and Dansville Municipal Airport. The DPA helped
develop a master plan and obtain federal funds for improvement of the local airport. Both
runways were resurfaced, a windsock was installed in the center of the airfield, runway lights
were updated, VASI systems were installed, a VOR approach was established, approach
paths were cleared, an AWOS system was installed, and the airfield was fenced-in. The DPA
continues to promote improvements at Dansville Municipal Airport.

The DPA has over 50 members and seven officers. The DPA has sponsored many airshows financed by an annual spring fly-in breakfast. Since 1991 the DPA has held a
second fly-in breakfast during Dansville’s annual Labor Day hot air balloon festival. Recently the
DPA built its own hanger providing rental space for four aircraft, as well as providing a shelter
for the fly-in breakfasts and storage area for the breakfast equipment.
DPA Hanger

With revenue from the fly-in breakfasts, the DPA plans to expand the hanger with an office,
lounge, restroom, and space for a recently acquired walk-in cooler. Construction of T-hangers
at the airport is also planned.

The DPA provided strong support to the National Warplane Museum during the Museum’s early years in Geneseo, with donations of equipment and labor. The DPA also supports the Historical Aircraft Group (HAG), an off-shoot of the National Warplane Museum. Many DPA pilots are active members of HAG and participate in HAG’s annual airshow.

New members are welcome to Dansville Pilots Association. Annual dues are $10.00. Send
check to:

             Dansville Pilots Association
             186 Franklin St. Dans
             Dansville, NY 14437


Fokker D VII was chosen by the German air service as the plane that could outmaneuver the Spad and Sopwith. Fitted with twin Spandau guns, the thick-winged fighter could almost hang by its prop at 45 degrees yet maintain excellent controllability.

Finger Lakes Soaring Club

The Finger Lakes Soaring Club, Inc., was founded in 1949 in Batavia as the Rochester Soaring Club. In 1963 the club moved to Dansville while renovations were underway at the Batavia Airport.

They soon learned that conditions for soaring were much better at Dansville and have been here ever since. In 1994 the club officially made Dansville their permanent home and changed the name to Finger Lakes Soaring Club. The club erected a 60′ by 100′ hangar that is used to house the 6 gliders, two towplanes and one golf cart that are owned by the club. The new building also provides space for maintenance of club equipment, and
storage for some of the more than 15 gliders privately owned by members.

The club boasts nearly 60 members and new members are recruited
continually. The student instructional program is an area of special
interest to The FLSC, whose principal purpose is educational, and all
instruction is free to members and given by a cadre of some 10 certified
flight instructors. Ages of students range from 14 to 65 and over.

Anyone interested in learning to soar, or wanting to just take a
glider ride are encouraged to stop by the FLSC hangar, located on the east
side of the airport in front of Mathews Bus Co, or call 585-335-5849. The
best time is Saturday or Sunday during the season, which runs from April
through November.