Pearson lands on historic list

Airfield to be honored, preserved by national aeronautics group

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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After serving pilots for more than a century, Vancouver's Pearson Field will officially be designated a Historic Aerospace Site on Sept. 8.The honor was announced by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The Sept. 8 ceremony will be at 2 p.m. at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St.; it is free and open to the public.

Pearson Field is "one of the oldest continuously operating airfields in the country," said Laureano Mier, manager of the air museum, which is adjacent to the airfield.

Pearson has played a significant role in the evolution of aviation in the Pacific Northwest.

The first aerial crossing of the Columbia River was in 1905, when the dirigible Gelatine lifted off from the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland and landed at the Fort Vancouver Polo Grounds.

The first airplane landed at Pearson Field in 1911.

In 1912, Pearson Field was the landing site for Silas Christofferson, who launched his plane from a ramp on the roof of Portland's Multnomah Hotel.

Pearson was part of the first interstate air mail delivery sanctioned by the U.S. Post Office.

Pearson Field generated worldwide news in 1937 when three Soviet aviators landed in Vancouver, ending the first transpolar flight.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics established the Historic Aerospace Sites program to preserve accomplishments in aviation aerospace and share those stories.