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KOSU memories

Gus Custer
Gus CusterGus Custer
 
  • 1964-1981  Airport Maintenance Supervisor
  • 1981-1990  Airport Maintenance Manager
  • 1990-1996  Airport Assistant Director of Operations
  • The Ohio State University Society of Technicians Chair
  • International Snow Symposium Research and Development Committee Member

Richard “Gus” Custer worked at The Ohio State University Airport from 1964 until 1995. As head of airport maintenance, he was responsible for the upkeep of airport facilities and equipment.

One of the most notable things Gus was involved with at the airport was the construction of runway 9L/27R. Custer was responsible for constructing the original grass runway before 9L was paved. Along with this runway, he installed runway lights, taxiway lights, taxiway C, and helped build a fuel farm. The Ohio State Airport had the first runway GPS system and Automated Weather System; Custer helped construct these systems. One of the larger airport projects was the brand new Air Traffic Control Tower. When Custer wasn’t working on building taxiways and towers, he was maintaining airport buildings, roads, taxiways, and runways. All pavement markings were required to be repainted annually in order to meet FAA Part 150 compliance. Custer also witnessed the infamous TWA 707 landing that occurred at OSU Airport in 1967. 
 

As our airport undergoes construction for the new terminal, it is important to remember its legacy and the hard work of all the employees who helped make the airport what it is today.

 

Citation
Michael Fischer
 
During one of the memorial tournaments a CitationAir plane and crew were at the airport and just dropped some people and then they saw me and my two brothers. We were there watching all the jets bringing people into town for the tournament. The two pilots asked if we would want to go see the inside of the plane. So we did. 
 
 
 
Meredith Frederick
Aircraft Dispatcher
Aviation Engineering - 2010

One of my favorite memories from working at the airport happened on a snowy, slow day in the middle of winter. My coworker Cecilia and I had been talking for some time about how much fun it would be to have a go at driving 
one of the snowplows or snow brooms. This particular day saw driving snow, very low visibility, and consequently, no landing traffic. Mark and Dale, airport facilities veterans, were out in the elements treating the runways with the plows and brooms. Cecilia and I watched them go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and had more delusions of snowplow grandeur. Suddenly, the phone rang. We were being summoned to meet the snow equipment! We scrambled out and

snowplow

 chose our respective rides. Cecilia paired up with Mark on the plow, and I paired up with Dale on the broom. Intimidated by all the buttons, levers, and Dale's side-eye, I listened closely to his introduction of how to work the broom. And off we went! Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Feeling pretty confident after a few passes, I had a
 go at running the blower and broom portion of the machine at the same time under Dale's watchful supervision.
   
After a full pass of the taxiway, I was feeling good, until Dale told me to look behind me. All of the snow had blown right back over the taxiway, since my clever self didn't think to take the howling wind into account when directing the blower. Progress undone! That earned me significant more side-eye from Dale, and the advice to stick to airplanes and leave snow removal to the professionals
.
   
We completed a few more pity passes to give me the chance to save face before Dale dropped me off at the terminal and I was reunited with Cecilia. Cecilia and I were all smiles and laughs after our snowplow lessons. My pride took a hit that day, but it was big fun and to this day I still smile when I see the brooms and plows working the runways.
 
 
 
Doug Hammon
Beach StarshipBeach Starship
Ohio State University Airport Director (1999-present)
Aeronautical Sciences (SBS), June 1989


In late 1987 or early 1988, my instructor and I were waiting to taxi from the student ramp to go out to the practice area. We were held in place by ATC as the Beach Starship was on its way in for a demonstration to a local business. Before landing though, the aircraft rolled on its side and flew the length of the runway for all to see. Worth the few extra bucks I had to spend as the hobbs meter kept racking up minutes while we sat and enjoyed the show. The Starship never really caught on, but its successor, the Piaggio, was both designed and housed here at Don Scott. 
 
Margaret JewettMargaret Jewett
 
Margaret J Jewett
Ohio State University Airport
Retired assistant to the director of flight education
1965 to December 1997

I was blessed in being a part of OSU Aviation for approximately thirty years. I saw and remember many fine young people receive their pilot licenses and are now keeping you safe when flying our friendly skies. I have so many fond memories of all of you.
 

 

 

 

Tommy Smathers 
Sales & Operations Manager / AEG Fuels - Miami , FL
Aviation Management / College of Arts and Science 


KOSU sunsetphoto by Tommy SmathersI had the pleasure and privilege of working customer service at KOSU from Spring 2006 until January 2011. While attending Ohio State, these were by far the best and most memorable years I can remember! Sue Riggs (Customer Service Manager) gave me the best opportunity to learn and experience aviation first hand and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I think about my time spent there often and wish only the best for the future of Don Scott Field! Not only does the airport serve as an excellent reliever and general aviation destination, it is among the very few educational establishments that give students, aspiring aviators and enthusiasts of all ages the best first-hand experience anyone could ask. Thank you KOSU!

 

Warren Collmer
Corporate pilot (37 years, retired)
Social sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, August 1973


As a high school student at Worthington High School (now Thomas Worthington), I did a work/study program my senior year and worked in the maintenance department at OSU Airport as a mechanic's helper. I also worked on the line fueling aircraft on the weekends.

Piper CherokeesPA-28 Piper CherokeesIn the spring of 1969, Ohio State Aviation was in the process of replacing the fleet of Piper Cherokee training airplanes to new Beech Musketeers. In late May, Beechcraft invited the Department of Aviation for a two-day factory tour and I was asked to go as well. We flew to Wichita in one of OSUs DC-3s. I remember that Bill Hubbard was the captain and the staff flight instructors (all Ohio State students) took turns in the right seat. Jack Eggspeuhler, Marv Easter, and other admin officers and staff were on board too. We met with Olive Ann Beech, and the tour included a side trip to Liberal, Kansas where the OSU Musketeers were being assembled. We returned home two days later. Great memories that influenced my life in aviation.

I also remember when Jack Eggspuehler acquired a P51 Mustang and buzzed the airport (in the pre-tower days).
 

 
Dick Taylor
Ohio State Department of Aviation, 1966-1988 (retired)
Director of Flight Operations and Training
 

In 1966, Dick Taylor joined the faculty of the Department of Aviation at The Ohio State University. He was the department's Director of Flight Operations and Training from 1981 until his retirement as Associate Professor in 1988. He wrote the following about OSU Airport’s air transportation service in Forty-Seven Years In Aviation: A Memoir; Chapter 16: Books, Helicopters, and Gliders:

One of the Diesel-3s (just one of many nicknames, including Douglas Racer, Gooney Bird, Dizzy Three, and the Grand Old Lady) was an ex-American Airlines airplane built in the late 1930s with 40,000-plus hours of flight time when it was donated to Ohio State. Rechristened N11OSU and repainted in school colors, it was the university's "flying classroom," fitted with 28 airline seats, a movie projector in the rear and a screen at the forward end of the cabin.

DC-3DC-3
 

We flew students and faculty on field trips that were enhanced by visual presentations during their flights to and from various points of interest. The OSU athletic department was a major source of business for the Air Transportation Service; 11OSU transported nearly all the varsity teams except football (too many players and too much equipment) to games at all the Big Ten schools and occasional non-conference venues. As you can see, the airplane was a little worse for wear from a cosmetic standpoint, having spent a lot of time out in the wind and weather because of hangar-space restrictions. But 11OSU served Ohio State well until it was sold in 1974. Our other DC-3 (no photo available) was formerly owned by the Kroger Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was donated to OSU when the grocery giant decided to transport their VIPs in turbine-powered airplanes.

This aircraft was everything a corporate transport should be: luxurious seating for 14 passengers, mahogany cabinets and sideboards topped with living-room quality light fixtures, leather headliners and picture windows on each side, to name just a few of its accoutrements. It had oversized prop spinners, enclosed wheel wells and several power and aerodynamic enhancements that added more than a few knots to its cruise speed. For all practical purposes 77OSU became the university president's airplane -- a "royal barge" to be sure -- but our then-sitting president, Dr. Novice Fawcett, deserved it. Two weeks after I returned from Korea it was the airplane in which I earned my ATP certificate and DC-3 type rating. 77OSU appears in my log books on many occasions until it was sold in 1972.