In 1937, a future Eastern Airline pilot and avid aviator began what has become the Huntingburg Airport. Forrest May Jones, otherwise known as “Frosty” Jones, took his first flying lessons from Frank O’Neil at the Vincennes, Indiana airport. Interestingly, Frosty Jones attained his license after taking only 7 hours total flying instruction (including 4 hours in Boonville, Indiana.)
After acquiring his license there was not much too slow Frosty, including aerobatic flying. Various cities in the Tri-State solicited him to perform his maneuvers. Many thought he was a fool for his complex aerial stunts. However it was not long he had followers and admirers due to his aerobatic creativity.
Frosty was contacted by Ed Schwartz to start up an airport in Dubois County. The initial plans had been to buy land between Huntingburg and Jasper (county seat) but the cost of land was prohibitive. He finally settled on the brush covered 120-acre Katterhenry farm 3 miles South of Huntingburg.
Local Kiwanis / Businessmen whom where either civic boosters or had a special interest in flying, considered investing in the Huntingburg Airport as a donation. Frosty took controlling interest of the airport when he received Ed Schwartz’s airport stock in exchange for flying lessons for his son Bus.
Maintaining the airport was not an easy job for anyone, as it took hard work and prodding, but issues were getting resolved. Frosty obtained a grant from the Federal Government for the beacon and lights; however there were not sufficient funds available to eliminate the hump in the middle of the turf runway. Local businessman, Ray Olinger was able to bring a bulldozer in and move enough dirt at the last minute to qualify the airport as an emergency landing strip in 1939.
As WWII approached, Frosty transferred the ownership of the airport to the Huntingburg Airport Corporation and went to Florida to train pilots for the military. Cinders replaced the grass strip runway in 1947. In 1948, Ray Duncan was running the airport when the 2900’ East -West runway was paved and the first airshow was sponsored in 1955.
The city of Huntingburg purchased the airport in 1967 with a Federal Grant and matching donations. Part of the Bob Brunsman farm was also deeded in 1967, while in 1969 runway lighting was added. Other improvements through the years included:
1971 - Radio Beacon (NDB)
1973 - 4,500’ paved and lighted runway
1975 - VOR/DME installation
1976 - Construction of equipment shelter 45’x50’
1977 - Ferdinand NDB
1978 - Corporate and private hangar construction
1982 - Metal pole building for storage 30’x45’
In 1983, the Dubois County Airport Authority, a joint venture (government-municipality) with the City of Huntingburg and the County, assumed control of the 176-acre complex and added maintenance equipment.
In 1985 6 dry dams were constructed on the airport property. Raymie Eckerle became the airport manager in 1986. Additional maintenance equipment was added from 1986-90.
In 1991 runway (500’) and apron extensions were completed and the Humer, Inc. property (94 acres) was purchased. In 1992 the AWOS (automated weather observation station) system went online, Jasper Engines and Transmissions Hangar was completed and additional maintenance equipment was added. Best Chairs leased the Westside of Jasper Flight Service Hangar in 1993 and completed their own hangar in 1994.
In 1995 GPS approaches were requested and a mound septic system was completed. In 1996 a PAPI-4 system on Runway 9 was commissioned and the 96-acre Dittmer property was purchased. A new airport road was built and construction of the Jasper Flight Service hangar project was all completed in 1998-1999.
In January of 2000 the Airport Authority hired airport manager Travis McQueen, taxiway A extension was underway and a new T-hangar unit was under construction. Taxiway A extension project was completed along with taxiway A3 to provide access to HNB Hangar, LLC, (T-hangars), new runway lighting system, acquisition of a pickup, backhoe and trim mower were conducted in 2001. In 2002, a pilot control runway lighting system was online and in May of 2003, an aircraft-parking ramp was under construction.
Future construction projects at the Huntingburg Airport may include additional hangars, runway and taxiway expansion, new terminal and maintenance facilities.