1950 Halley Airport in Rapid City


November 4

Aviation History Display Dedication

On November 4, 2015, a dedication was held at Rapid City Regional Airport for a new Aviation History display.

The exhibit was dedicated to Black Hills aviation legends Norma and Vern Kraemer. The Kraemers donated the vintage tri-wing airplane that now hangs from the ceiling of the airport terminal. Home-built in 1952 by Vern, the tri-wing was the first South Dakota-constructed airplane to receive an airworthiness certificate from the Civic Aeronautics Administration.

The display is a series of large, detailed historic photos and accompanying text. They tell the story of how general aviation, military aviation, and commercial air service developed in Rapid City and the Black Hills.

You can see early barnstormers who parked their planes in what is now Robbinsdale. You also see photos of Halley Airport, located about where North Middle School is today, and the original Rapid City Airport, now Ellsworth Air Force Base. The exhibit also includes a number of photos contributed by the U.S Air Force and the South Dakota Air & Space Museum.

“This exhibit is a good reminder of the role that aviation has played in the development of Rapid City and the Black Hills,” said Patrick Dame, executive director of Rapid City Regional Airport. “Tourism and the military are just two of the Black Hills’ important economic influences that owe a great deal to aviation.”