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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics



    Pearson Field Designated a Historic Aerospace Site
    Vancover, Washington, Site is the Oldest Continously Operated Airfield in the Pacific Northwest

    September 10, 2012 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has designated Pearson Field, Vancouver, Wash., as a Historic Aerospace Site. A historic marker was unveiled on September 8 during a 2:00 p.m. ceremony at the field, located at 1115 East 5th Street, Vancouver, Wash.

    Pearson Field, named for U.S. Army Lt. Alexander Pearson Jr., a prominent early aviator who died in an airplane crash in 1925, is the oldest continuously operating airfield in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the oldest in the United States. In 1905, the field, then known as the Fort Vancouver Polo Grounds, was the landing site for a dirigible launched from the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exhibition in Portland, Ore. This marked the first crossing of the Columbia River by air, and the first time an airship was used to deliver a letter. In 1929, Pearson Airfield played a role in two important long-distance flights: Soviet pilot Valery Chkalov’s flight from Moscow over the North Pole to Pearson Field, which covered 5,288 miles, and another flight from Russia which traveled to Pearson using a routing over Alaska. Both flights pioneered today’s trans-polar air routes, and were seen as positive steps in U.S. – Soviet relations. In the mid-1930s Leah Hing soloed at the field, becoming the first American woman of Chinese descent to earn a pilot’s license.

    AIAA established the Historic Aerospace Sites Program in January, 2000, to promote the preservation and dissemination of information about significant accomplishments made in the aerospace profession. In addition to Pearson Field, other sites recognized by the AIAA History Technical Committee include Bremen Airport, Bremen, Germany; Getafe Airfield, Getafe, Spain; the site of T.S.C. Lowe’s first balloon reconnaissance demonstration; the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory/CALSPAC Facility; St. Petersburg Yacht Basin; the Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla, and Orroral Valley Tracking Stations in Australia; the Downey Industrial Site, Downey, Calif.; NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.; and Tranquility Base on the moon. For more information about AIAA’s Historic Aerospace Sites Program, contact Emily Springer at 703.264.7533 or


    AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and nearly 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, VA 20191-4344
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551