Friday, March 17, 2023

Sparta Community Airport ─ Hunter Field (KSAR), Sparta, Illinois.

Hunter Field has two runways; An asphalt runway 18/36, a turf runway 9/27 and one Heli-pad. 
Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is one tenth of the magnetic azimuth of the runway's heading in degrees. A runway numbered 9 points east (90°), runway 18 is south (180°), runway 27 points west (270°) and runway 36 points to the north (360°)
The Hunter brothers were the first in Sparta to own an airplane. In June 1924, three young coal miners, John, Albert and Walter Hunter, went to St. Louis to purchase a Curtiss Biplane from the Robertson Aircraft Corporation. They and their other brother Kenneth "Beans," had big plans to use the airplane commercially, and they used the fairgrounds for their landing field. 

By September 1924, they had assembled "Hunter's Flying Circus of Sparta." They owned and operated three airplanes and staged thrilling stunts to benefit the fairground crowd. Their repertoire had wing walking, parachute leaps, changing from one plane to another in mid-air, looping the loops, tailspins and all other sensational stunts. They also carried passengers for $3 ($50 today) each for a seven to ten-minute ride over the city and fairgrounds.
Big-Ben Refueling.

The four Hunter brothers, flying over Chicago on July 4, 1930, completed an air-to-air refueled endurance record of 553 hours, 41 minutes and 30 seconds. THAT'S 23 DAYS ALOFT!

Kenneth and John were the endurance plane pilots, and Walter and Albert refueled from the "Big Ben" airplane.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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