Our History

1960 -1970

County court began airport feasibility study in response to business requests.

Court okayed action on airport.

Deferred further action until next term.

A/P construction assured by $168K federal grant.

Land acquired 2 miles east of town square.  $96K for 162  acres.

In 1962, with a grant from the federal government, Sumner County built an airport on this spot.  It had a 3500 foot runway and one hangar. For the next fifteen years, the airport existed in a period of what might best be called “benign neglect.”  Traffic at the airport increased and businesses began to make more use of the airport, but the general citizenry of the county remained unaware of the growing importance of this asset.

A runway of 3,600 feet by 75 feet wide was built along hangar for maintenance with a lean-to built adjacent as an office.  Gallatin Flying Service chartered with Harold Chamber as F.B.O.  Principal reason for the airport construction was to attract industry to Sumner County.

3500 ft. lighted runway and two 2000 gallon avgas tanks installed (7 based aircraft).  Harold Chambers conducting flight instruction.

Chambers incorporated as Gallatin Flying Service, Inc. (12 based A/C, including one multi-engine).   Harold Chambers was the Manager, President & Flight Instructor, and remained so until he sold the company in 1987 to d’Accord Company.

There were approximately 11 single engine aircraft based at the airport, 1 multi-engine, approximately 6 operations per month.  The F.B.O. was a Piper dealer.

In 1968, Judge Bethel Brown and several forward-looking members of the County Court decided to appoint a commission of citizens who were knowledgeable about aviation and who were interested in furthering its growth in the county to advise the Sumner County Court about its airport.  Over the next several years, this Sumner
County Airport Commission, under the leadership of the late J. 0. Templeton, was able to secure almost a million dollars in improvements to the physical facilities at the airport.  These included an extension of the runway to over 5,000 feet, the addition of a 10 unit T-hangar, and the expansion of the parking ramp.

The airport had a Skymaster that was used for business.  I didn’t know much about the operation until I started to work in August, 1966.  At that time there were 11 single engine planes and the one multi-engine Skymaster based here. The airport sold 80 octane and 100 octane fuel, 2000 gallon capacity for each type fuel.  There were approximately 600 operations per month.  Population of Gallatin was approximately 8000.  I only worked part time for the next three years. The business became a Piper aircraft dealer. This was not a satisfactory dealership for several reasons that do not contribute to this outline.

Maintenance hangar and full-length lean-to constructed.

The airport continued to grow.  The VA Program made possible flight instruction beginning with student up to instructor level.  The F.B.O became a Cessna dealer.

was a boom time for the airport.  The VA program was certified for business.  We were able to take a student from Private to Multi-Engine and then Instructor.

We had become a Cessna Aircraft Dealer. You could obtain an aircraft for a signature and a good job.

1970 -1980

There were approximately 18 single engine and 3 multi-engine aircraft based at the airport with 1,800 operations per month.

Approximately 19 single engine aircraft, 2 multi-engine and 1 amphibian based at the airport.  Approximately 1800 operations monthly.

VOR/DME approach approved (18 SE and 3 based aircraft.). Approach later de-activated due to inaccuracies.

July 1973-1975
All of the above mentioned businesses came into Gallatin. This increased the number of corporate aircraft
using the airport (don’t have the number of based aircraft).

A row of 10 T-Hangers was built. A jet fuel depot was installed. The runway was lengthened. The Gallatin Airport Commission was formed with Harold Duffer as the Chairman.  Ramp was expanded.

Ten T-Hangars were built, the County signed the note to finance, the Gallatin Airport business made the payments and kept the monies collected and at the end of ten years the T-Hangars were to belong to the County and now they do.  Donnelley Printing Company wanted jet fuel, so they loaned some money to the County to help pay for the installation. The jet fuel was added in 1984. This debt was paid back to the county by a $.03 on the gallon of jet fuel that was sold monthly. The County in turn paid Donnelley. The runway was strengthened to permit G-2’s and G-3’s to land here.  This was the year the Airport Committee was formed.  This committee works independent of G.F.S. or the present operations.  Harold Duffer was the first Chairman of this Committee.  He did an outstanding job, but took himself off because he felt he had a conflict of interest.  At this time Duffer stated the improvements made had added 3 quarters of a million dollars to this airport.  98% of funding came from Federal and State.  The Committee working with the Bureau of Aernautics planned for a terminal building and paved parking.

VASI lights were installed.  The VA program was phased out by the Government resulting in a contraction of instruction operations.  At this time the managers of the Sparta White, Cookeville, Portland and Bowling Green airports had had their training at Gallatin.  One of the pilots for the State of TN had taken his Multi-Engine training here.  Also, Corporations based locally came to Harold Chambers for pilot recommendations.  HENNY PENNY, SHONEYS, MEL TILLIS, L & C.

Runway was lengthened to 5000 feet to accommodate jet aircraft and strengthened to handle Gulf stream II’s.  Also additional ramp space was added.  Gallatin Airport Commission formed. Harold Duffer – first chairman.

Bowling Green and Portland still sending students to Gallatin.

1980 -1990

First jet fueled was Citation owned by Donnelley Printing.

Jet fuel farm installed with financial assistance from City of Gallatin and R.R. Donnelley Printing Co.

The County Commission decided to turn the Airport Commission into the Sumner County Airport Authority and to allow this group to guide the future of the airport.  This group, under the able leadership, first by Mr. Art McClellan, and since by Col. Harold Duffer, decided that its top priority was to secure an administration building for the airport. Over the next several years, a complicated funding consortium was arranged between the State of Tennessee, Sumner County, and the cities of Hendersonville and Gallatin.  The result of this hard work is the building you see before you today. During the time this project was in the planning stages the Authority was able to secure jet fueling facilities for the airport and to secure funds to re-seal the runway and ramp areas.  Another accomplishment was to correct the name of the airport.  In the early days of the airport, the FAA assumed the name to be “Gallatin Municipal” and this name has appeared on the navigational charts ever since. The name is now officially the “Sumner County Regional Airport” and appears as such on the charts and other state and federal publications.

Sumner County Airport Authority formed with five members. (32 based A/C).

The Sumner County Municipal Authority was formed.  There were originally 5 members. Original members included Harold Duffer, Frank Scott, Arthur McClellan, Don Goss, and Don Mercer.  Frank Freels subsequently replaced Frank Scott.  Mr. Freels represented the county as a permanent member.  There were 32 aircraft based on the field with approximately 19,000 operations per month.  Runway was strengthened to Single Engine gross weight 16,000#.

The VOR approach (BNA_ was lost due to interference of the VOR signal by new construction around Berry Field. This was critical for Air Charter Business.  The aircraft could not get into Gallatin if weather was down.
I’m not sure, it’s been too long, of the equipment that was added; you can fill in here.  The ramp was extended south and a new rotating beacon was installed.

The Sumner County Airport Authority was renamed to Sumner County Regional Airport Authority.   We became a Port-A–Port dealer.

New terminal and new parking area were dedicated.  There were 48 aircraft based on the field with 2,100 operations per month.  The runway was resurfaced and the parallel taxiway was extended south.  There was an increase in ramp space.  The Sumner County Airshow was hosted on the 5th of October.   Airport name changed to Sumner County Regional.

48 aircraft based here, approx.  2091 operations monthly.  Airport renamed Sumner County Regional Airport.  This name change also changed the approach plates.  Pilots had a difficult time knowing where they were going.  We had a Charter Plane in one day that thought they were in Sevierville, TN.   I’m sure he never made that mistake again. Runway resurfaced and when I left in 1988, it still looked new.  Parallel taxi way to South end was started.  Also started installing NDB Approach.   Additional Ramp space added.

The installation of Port-A-Port Hangars was begun.  The Airport Authority was extended to 7 members, all pilots with backgrounds in general, commercial, and military aviation.  New members included Felix Tormes, Johnny Odom, and Ed Cameron.  Harold Duffer retired.  An Emergency Plan for the airport was devised.

Partial parallel taxiway to the south constructed.  First of several, privately-owned, P-hangars erected.  About the same as 1985.  The Jet Fuel was installed.

There were approximately 55 aircraft based at the field with approximately 3,000 operations per month.  The tie down space was increased on the field.  The Gallatin Flying Service was bought by Tennessee Valley Airways, subsidiary of D’ACCORD Corporation.   Peter Prater was added to the Sumner County Regional Airport Authority.

Airport Authority received “Award of Excellence” from the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

D’ Accord Corp/Tennessee Valley Airways purchased FBO operation from Harold Chambers, who retired from his commercial aviation activities after 25 years. (55 based aircraft).

Notes: I forgot the Air Ambulance, it was a big operation and interesting.  Don’t remember when it was started, perhaps 1985.

The NBD became operational.  A new sign was installed at the front of the airport and the signs were replaced in town directing traffic to the airport.  The taxiway was extended south.  Dana Faulkner was added to the Authority, replacing Don Goss.   Leon Moore, local businessman, based first jet at Sumner County Regional.
First air show/open house held.

Windsock relocated to east side of runway and segmented circle added.

1990 - 2000

Airport is awarded “Most Improved” award by T.O.A.

Plans were begun for a major project involving runway widening (to 100 feet), upgrade in lighting to a medium intensity system.  Preparations of the approach ends of both runways of safety areas approximately 700 feet on the north and 1,000 feet of the south end.  Plans were made to install a new rotating beacon.  Sail-plane operations were conducted on a trial basis.  Plans for land acquisition south of the airport were considered.

Sumner County Regional designated a reliever airport.

Large improvement project completed including: widening runway from 75 ft. to 100 ft., acquiring additional 14 acres to the south, installing 1000 ft. safety overrun to the south, adding 200 ft. safety area both sides of runway, upgrading runway and taxiway lighting to pilot – controlled, medium intensity, erecting new rotating beacon tower, replacing VASI with 4-light P.A.P.I., and upgrading the REIL’S.

Airport Layout Plan updated and G.P.S engineering study completed.

Authority acquired additional 14 acres north of the airport across Cairo Road.

Began landfill work southwest to present T-hangars in order to accommodate additional T-hangars.

Fourth consecutive “Front Door Award” given to Sumner County Regional.
Discussion started with Sumner County Commission to turn over airport property to Airport Authority and to relocate School Bus garage off the airport property.

Tennessee Aeronautics Commission awarded “Airport of the Year” and “Airport Manager of the Year” to Sumner County Regional and Jan Esterling, respectively.  (72 based aircraft, including 3 jets, 2 turbo props, 13 multi-engine piston and 2 amphibians)

3rd airshow and 3rd Hangar Dance held.

2000 - 2010

Built new T-Hangers

Terminal Renovation – County Funded

Main T-Hanger Renovation – County Funded
Bought Starstruck Hanger

RSA –  Project – 90/10  1.25mil

Wall & Drawings Project  90/10   35,000 Total

Add spaces to tie down acres

Fuel farm new & removal of old underground tanks


Currently     $74,600.00 – North end drainage work

Runway extension to 6500′

June 2013
New authority members appointed by County Commission