Airport History

Smith Reynolds Airport History

In 1927, city officials learned that Winston-Salem was a scheduled stop for Charles Lindbergh and the “Spirit of St. Louis” during a cross-country tour to celebrate advances in aviation. Although there was an existing grass strip airfield within Winston-Salem (Winston-Salem Page) at the time, officials felt that an improved airfield would be better suited to accommodate the greatest aviator of the time. As such, a portion of land located approximately 4 miles north of downtown Winston-Salem was identified as an ideal site for a paved airport facility. A contribution of $17,000 was made by Clint Miller to develop the new airport; as a result, the airport corporation named the new airport Miller Municipal Airport. From 1927 to 1933 Reynolds Aviation, one of the airport’s most active users, provided commuter flights to New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Baltimore with weekend taxi service to Wrightsville and Myrtle Beaches.

In 1933, The New Deal developed a program known as the Civil Works Administration. This administration began extending each runway by 500 feet, added concrete floors to hangars, and relocated the airfield lighting system. Additional projects that occurred during the 1930’s included a new administration building, a third runway, and a new airfield lighting system. By 1938, additional property was acquired and a new fourth runway was constructed. In 1940, Eastern Airlines agreed to add Winston-Salem to its North-South route. In support of Eastern’s action, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation donated funds to further modernize and expand the airport for additional commercial service. In 1942, Miller Municipal Airport was renamed the Smith Reynolds Airport in honor of the foundation responsible for its many contributions.

From 1942 through 1945, the airport served as a training base for military pilots but continued its commercial and private airline service. In 1947, the Civil Aeronautics Board awarded Piedmont Aviation a temporary certificate for regional air service of four feeder line routes with DC-3 aircraft. The routes extended from Wilmington, North Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio and serviced twenty-two additional airports throughout the U.S. In 1949, the Forsyth County Airport Commission (Commissioners page) was established to oversee the daily operation and development of the airport. During the span of 1957 through 1960, a fire station and ATCT were constructed, an approach lighting system was installed, and the terminal building was further expanded.

By 1963, the airport witnessed a resounding 129,313 annual operations which made Smith Reynolds the most active airport within the state and the 85th most active in the entire country. During the late sixties and early seventies, the airport experienced steady regional airline service and witnessed flourishing general aviation activity. From 1978 to 1992, the Airport Commission of Forsyth County continued to maintain and improve its facilities by completing several projects such as: new fencing, terminal improvements, and pavement strengthening.

During the 1990s, commercial enplanements continued to decline from 23,000 in 1990 to 7,000 in 1999. In the year 2000, USAir, the airport’s only remaining commercial carrier, terminated service at INT. Since the completion of the 1995 master plan, the ACFC has orchestrated several projects to improve and expand the airport. One notable project includes the construction of a general aviation tie-down apron (south apron) which is located west of Runway 15/33 approximately midpoint of Runway 15/33. The apron has an attached automobile parking area located to the west that was constructed for use by travelers. Another notable project includes the recent overlay of Runway 15/33 which occurred in 2008. In 2010, the airport finished constructing an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) near the approach end of Runway 33 to allow the runway to comply with FAA safety standards.


2010 to Present

Pacing Toward a Fall – 2010
Hearing to Examine Pace – 2010
Pace is Put Under Court – 2010
All Eyes to the Sky – 2010
Pace Didn’t Report 2009 Earnings to SSA – 2010
Local officials have high hopes for Smith Reynolds – 2010
Pace vs. Justice – 2010
Pace airlines criminal case may advance – 2010
Charter service returns – 2010
Bankruptcy judge OKs sale of Pace Airlines assets – 2010
Smith Reynolds plight easing with new airport deals – 2010
Aid on incentives sought from Forsyth board – 2011
NS Aviation to expand at airport – 2011
Forsyth commissioners approve plan for North State Aviation – 2011
Aviation firm to bring 300 jobs to Winston Salem – 2011
Dynamic Airways gets FAA jet approval -2011
Ex-Pace Workers still grasping for closure – 2011
NS Aviation wins contract with United – 2012
Airport gets improvement funds – 2012
Hearing for Pace Airlines co-owner Postponed – 2012
A spectacle in the sky – 2012
Smith Reynolds seeks contractor for $2 million in taxiway repairs – 2013
2013 Pace Airlines saga ends after four years
Landmark Aviation Wants Reynolds hanger – 2013
Airport board votes to fight tower closure – 2013
Smith Reynolds files appeal to keep tower – 2013
RJR plans to lease out corporate hangar at Smith Reynolds – 2013
Ledger a window into airport’s past – 2013
Without spending a dime W-S airport gains a hangar – 2014
Flying High- Flight Instructor Retired Pilot receives FAA Pilot Award – 2014
Bill gives funding to towers at Smith Reynolds Airport – 2014
North State Aviation takes much of airport – 2014
Triad Bracing for Snow – Smith Reynolds Crew (front page) – 2015
Triad Bracing for Snow – Smith Reynolds Crew (page 2) – 2015
On A Higher Plane – Business Journal Cover Story – 2015
Board Debates Airport Relief – 2016
County, Legislators to Discuss Airport – 2016
Stormwater Fees Up For Discussion – 2016
Airport Runoff Fees Top Issues – 2016
Clark Floats Airport Alternative Plan – 2016
City Panel Endorses Airport Deal – 2016
Council Pack Plenty in Meeting – 2016
Aviation Business Journal – NATA Industry Excellence Awards – 2016
An Airfield and an Aviator – The Story of Winston-Salem’s Maynard Field – 2016
Forsyth Tech Aviation Campus – 2016
Panel Outlines Seven Projects to Make Airport Better – 2016
Winston-Salem Journal Opinion: Aviation Campus – 2016
County Plan Could Solve Dispute Near Airport – 2016
Airport Commission Letter to the Editor – 2016
Pre-Christmas Flight / Santa Fly-In – 2016
Job Fair
Triad Airport Left with $1M Hole
Laid-Off North State Aviation Workers Get Help

2000 to 2010

Winston Airport looks for Airline – 2000
Can We Compete? – 2001
Airport Residents Struggle to find Common Ground – 2002
TIMCO Lease – 2002
Flight – 2003
Wright fly-in promise to give state, Trade wings – 2003
A piece of history – 2006
Airport asks to shoot deer – 2006
Smith Reynolds gets new director – 2006
Airshow Challenge to be in Winston Salem this weekend – 2006
Piedmont Flight of the Pacemaker – 2006
A Caring Airline – 2007
Airport operation laid over – 2007
Wings of Freedom – 2007
Taking flight. The history of Smith Reynolds Airport – 2008
A c-17 airlifter was on display at the 2005 Winston Salem Air Show – 2009
Pace having payroll problem – 2009
Airport work is probed – 2009
Airport director, parts ways – 2009
Pace Buckles – 2009
Pace faces second probe – 2009
A once bustling airport tries to find its place in a new era – 2009
Airport panel gets $654,000 to pay Mainline – 2009
Empty promises were fuel for Pace – 2009
Sound and Fury – 2009
Residents, airport in tug-of-war – 2009
Pace employees detail grievances – 2009

1990 to 2000
Successor to Johnston is Named – 1991
A High-Flying Day – 1993
Airline Veterans Branch Out – 1993
Fly-Byes: 3 Time Champ to Retire after Airshow – 1994
New Flyer: Air Star Applies to Run Charters – 1994
Leisure Air Problems ‘systemic’, FAA says – 1994
Flights of Fancy – 1995
The Quest to Build a Great Airport in Winston Salem – 1996
Airport on Hunt for New Carrier – 2000
Mayor would love to Land Airport Panel Seat – 2000

1980 to 1990
3 Contracts Are Awarded For Work at Airport Here – 1980
Sunbird Flies From Winston – 1980
Airlines Will Build Training Center – 1981
Planning for the Future – 1981
Airport Use Highest Ever – 1982
The Sentinel – 1983
The Sentinel – 1984
Piedmont Aviation Plans New Facilities at City Airport – 1984
Local Flying Club Asks Airport for Permission to Build Hanger – 1984
Airline May Announce Plan – 1985
Three New Flights at Piedmont Airlines – 1985
People Express Fares to rise in March I – 1985
American Airlines: Its Official – 1985
American Airlines Will fly Out of Regional Airport – 1985
Airport Panel Picks Manager for Airport – 1985
Morgan Named Interim manager of Airport by Forsyth Commission – 1985
Rankin leaving as Airport Manager – 1985
Manager Quits Job at Smith Reynolds – 1985
Plans to End Subsides May Jeopardize Flights – 1985
County May help Oversee Regional Airport: Bill may Hurt City Airport, Critics say – 1985
Airport to Hold 2nd Aviation Day – 1985
Trade Walk: Piedmont is going to use Sunbird – 1985
Legislation Stirring Up Fears About Future of Airport – 1985
Airport to Hold Aviation Day – 1985
Bill Won’t Rob Winston-Salem Airport, Official Says – 1985
The Airport Issue – 1985
More on the Airport – 1985
Loss of Jet Service – 1985
Piedmont, American Airlines Investigated – 1985
Healthy Airport is Panels Goal – 1985
Sunbird will stay with City: Sunbird – 1985
Board Makes Haste to OK Runway Work – 1985
Smith Reynolds may Get Grant – 1985
Aviation Day – 1985
Airport Confident it Will Find a Replacement for Piedmont – 1987
Bill Doesn’t Fly with Airport Officials – 1987
Airports look ahead – 1988

1970 to 1980

1960 to 1970

Smith Reynolds Airport Ranked 85th in Nation – 1964
Goldwater Jet Makes Airport History Here – 1964
Film Makers Like Airport Here – 1965
Airport Here to Be Used in Aviation Business Film – 1965
Airport Busiest In State – 1965
High Point Pilot Brings Crop-Duster Down Safely – 1966
New York Flights to Begin – 1966
New York Flights to Begin – 1966
Reynolds Gets 4-jet Planes – 1967
Piedmont Readies jetliner To Inaugurate New Service – 1967
Piedmont to Buy More 737 Jetliners – 1968
Reynolds gets 4-Jet Plane/Piedmont Readies Jetliner to Inaugurate New Service – 1967
Airport Traffic Skyrocketing – 1968
New Arrival at Piedmont – 1968
Piedmont Aviation Will Move Into It’s New Building Today – 1968
1969 Plane Lands Minus Wheel
Piedmont Wins Suit Over Jet – 1969
President Carter Lands at Smith Reynolds Airport for his trip to Wake Forest – 1970

1950 to 1960
The Federal Airport Program Should Be Extended – 1959

1940 to 1950
The Quest to Build a Great Airport in Winston-Salem – 1942
A Sketch of Smith Reynolds Airport: Charles E. Norfleet – 1942