Martha’s Vineyard’s Workin’ Wacos

Martha’s Vineyard’s Workin’ Wacos

Contrary to a bit of universally accepted fake news, the 1940s are not actually over. The decade is still alive and well, although somewhat disassociated from the main landmass of America, and lagging behind the new millennium. If you don’t believe that, head for Katama Airfield, 1B2, owned by Edgartown, Massachusetts. And don’t plan on driving or taking a bus. Plus, it might be good to pack your life vest, if flying over water worries you. Katama Airfield is located on Martha’s Vineyard, that legendary summertime magnet that attracts the rich, the powerful, and the famous, as well as thousands of us common folk who are just seeking a laidback vacation or a day trip.

When flying into Katama you don’t need your altimeter to give you glideslope information. With a field elevation of 18’4” (yes, that’s eighteen feet and four inches), this is an eyeballs-only airport. When you turn final to any of its three nicely mowed grass runways (usually while still over the ocean), you’ll know immediately that this is an airport devoted to something other than the high-dollar summer crowds that swell the island population from about 14,000 to over 100,000 pleasure-seeking souls. The jet set, however, has its own modern airport located mid-island. Katama has a different clientele, and you’re more likely to see a WACO (or two) in the pattern than any other single type of airplane. This is because, besides the number of threatened bird species for which the airport is a designated sanctuary, this is also where Mike Creato’s Classic Aviators, Ltd. calls home. He and his ancient WACOs represent aviation as it was, and he makes it accessible to thousands of island visitors through his classic biplane ride business. He has been at it for 25 years and may well have the best job in the country.

Read the article from the December 2019 issue of Flight Journal.

By Budd Davisson | Photos by Summer Pramer

Updated: February 25, 2020 — 11:25 AM
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