NIAGARA CENTRAL DOROTHY RUNGELING AIRPORT
Where aviation’s strong current presence is a reflection of the past and a vision of the future.
We appreciate and thank our current pilots, commercial operators, Air Cadets, aviation enthusiasts and volunteers who are devoted to the love of flying.
We honour those who have supported this airport and had the spirit and passion to make it succeed over many years.
We dedicate our resources to future aviators and likeminded groups that share our vision of a prosperous aviation environment for our local communities and beyond.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT AT THE AIRPORT
The airport was originally built by the Royal Canadian Air Force as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was associated with the Dunnville airfield that was doing similar training during World War 2.
After the war various entities operated the airport and it became known as the Welland-Port Colborne Airport.
In a period during late 1970’s the airport fell on hard times with most operations ceasing.
At the time, Welland Attorney, Geoffrey Brooks, QC was chairing the airport commission and he contacted H.Bruce Macritchie, a highly accomplished pilot, aviation businessman and former Vice President of Fleet Industries to explore the potential of the airport. Mr. Macritchie answered the call and operated the airport successfully for over 32 years. Many called it the “Golden Years” for the airport with a flight school producing numerous professional, private and recreational pilots every year as well as operating charters, an air ambulance service, sightseeing, aircraft mechanical services and banner towing.
The airport continues to operate under the original governance of the Welland - Port Colborne Act and the commissions entrusted to its operation.
WHO WAS DOROTHY RUNGELING?
Dorothy Rungeling was an iconic pioneering female aviator from Fenwick Ontario.
She was born in Hamilton Ontario May 12, 1911. She became a legend in aviation, leading women into the fledging world of flying that was predominantly male at the time.
FACTS ABOUT DOROTHY RUNGELING:
- Was a member of the 99’s, an all-female group of aviators
- Participated in many air races
- Held various licenses and certifications including private, commercial and instructor
- Was an accomplished writer, publishing her own works as well as writing for newspapers
- Had a commemorative stamp issued in her honour
- Received the Order of Canada for her aviation accomplishments
- Was honoured by the community in her hometown of Fenwick, naming the local airport after her
- Passed away at the age of 106 on February 17, 2018
The following groups are the heart of our airport. Without their volunteer support it is hard to imagine where our airport would be. The next time you’re around the airport give one of these people a salute or tip of the hat. After all, they are the reason you’re here.
This group of dedicated aircraft owners, pilots and aviation enthusiast have been a staple at our airport since 2009. Led by their Captain, Adrian Verburg, this selfless group has donated a tremendous amount of time and effort along with personal funds to promote the betterment of this facility. They have collaborated with the airport commission to complete many projects at the airport. A large part of their operation is dedicated to flying children and others who otherwise would not have had the chance to experience the magic of aviation.
More than anything, COPA 149 represents the spirit of cooperation, are a steward of the airport and continue to promote the future of aviation.
87 Eagle Squadron
The Air Cadets have flown the skies of Niagara for decades. Who hasn’t looked up in amazement to see but not hear the majestic sight of a glider, riding mother nature’s warm breezes. The time, effort and cost to get a young person prepared and trained to handle an unpowered aircraft and eventually a powered one is almost unmeasurable. The volunteers that make this happen repeatedly, year after year make it look easy. The investment they are making in our future aviators and youth in general is about as honourable act of dedication that can be imagined. The Niagara Central Airport Commission has partnered with the squadron for many years and will continue to do so in their promotion of guiding our youth on a path where the skies are the limit.
We salute the 87 Eagle Squadron for all you do.
H. BRUCE MACRITCHIE
Since 2003, Mr. Macritchie has provided a scholarship to a deserving Aircraft Technician Program student at Centennial College, honouring his brother Doug who died in a plane crash in 1980.
In 2019 Mr. Macritchie made the single largest donation by an individual to Centennial College’s Aerospace and Aviation Program, including cash and aircraft, totaling over one million dollars.
Mr. Macritchie donated several WW2 aircraft that were restored by him and his volunteer group to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Foundation.
In 2022 the Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport received a sizeable bequest from the estate of the late Dorothy Rungeling.
As her wishes for its use was not stipulated the Commission is dedicating funds to the improvement of the airport and strategic initiatives to better position the airport financially.