History of the Bridgeport-Sikorsky Airport
The history of Bridgeport Sikorsky Airport goes back further than many people realize. The airport has been known by several different names during its long history. Prior to 1937 when the City of Bridgeport purchased the airport, it was known as Mollison Field. This name came from Captain James Mollison's crash landing in July 1933 during his attempt to fly across the Atlantic from Wales, England to New York. During the 1930s many now-famous aviators visited the field. Names such as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Howard Hughes, and Juan Trippe can be found in the airport logbooks documenting their arrivals.
Previously the airport was called Avon Field - originally a racetrack and favorite destination of aviators landing on the grass infield. On September 28, 1911 the country's first air show was held at this airport. Airport's most famous tenant (and namesake) arrived in 1929: Igor Sikorsky picked Stratford, CT as the site for his expanding Sikorsky Aviation Company. Sikorsky immigrated to the US in 1917 from the Russian Empire, in part to escape Bolsheviks’ takeover. Initially his facilities were located on a Long Island farm where he built several different models of aircraft, the last of which (the S-38 amphibian) proved to be very successful. Upon moving to Stratford Sikorsky designed larger, long-range aircraft known as "flying boats”. That year Sikorsky Aviation Corporation became a subsidiary of United Aircraft & Transport Corp. Ten years later UA&T Corp. moved its Chance Vought Aircraft Division to Stratford and merged it with the Sikorsky Aircraft Division to become the Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division. This new division was responsible for the production of the first helicopter, the VS-300, which first flew on September 14, 1939. Also that year Chance Vought Division tested a prototype of a new fighter, the XF4U, which eventually became known as the Corsair. The Corsair was fast, powerful, and a favorite of the pilots who flew it and saw much aerial combat action in the Pacific Theater of Operations while flying in the Navy and the Marine Corps squadrons. One of the few remaining Corsairs was brought from El Salvador in the late 1960s and restored to be put on display outside the airport in 1971. In 1972 the final rededication took place when Bridgeport Municipal Airport became the Bridgeport-Sikorsky Airport.