Elkins, WV And The Elkins Airport - Who We Are
Elkins, West Virginia is located in the Tygart Valley of central West Virginia with a valley floor at 2,000 feet MSL and surrounding mountains reaching over 4,500 feet. This area's location relative to the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and its position on the western edge of the Allegheny Mountains often results in weather patterns that vary greatly over short distances.
A small city of approximately 8,000 people, Elkins is centrally located within an hour's drive of several ski resorts. The area is known for its mountains, forests, and festivals. The main industries in the Elkins area are forest products and tourism.
The Elkins-Randolph County Airport is located two miles south of the city of Elkins. The airport was built in the 1930s. In the early days of airmail service, mail was picked up by stringing a wire line between two poles while an aircraft caught the wire on a hook as it flew overhead. The mail to be delivered was then dropped as the aircraft departed. During World War II the airport was used as a US Army Air Corps training base. The cadets were housed in the Halliehurst mansion at Davis and Elkins College. The airport was also used as an evacuation facility for east coast military bases during hurricanes. At those times the airport would be wingtip to wingtip with warbirds.
Lake Central Airways, a predecessor to US Airways, began passenger air service using DC-3s. Even though it changed hands several times, this service continued until 1994.
Being on one of the early airways crossing the country, Elkins has seen a wide range of navigation facilities, beginning with the lighting of fires at night to guide pilots. Later, Elkins became a site on the Airway Beacon System. (The last of which is still operating on Rich Mountain west of the airport.) Then came the Low Frequency Radio Range, which was located two miles north of the airport, the Randolph County Non Directional beacon (NDB) located on the field, and then the Elkins VHF Omni-Directional Range/Tactical Air Navigation (VORTAC) 11.4 miles to the west. Elkins is currently served by several instrument approaches including three Global Positioning System (GPS) approachs.