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Home > Archives > Short Stories > Tew-Mac Airport


 

Tew-Mac Airport (B09), Tewksbury, MA

42.59 North / 71.2 West (Northwest of Boston, MA)

Tew-Mac Airport, as depicted on the November 1954 Boston Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Arthur MacLaren applied in 1949 to the Board of Appeals for a permit to use his land to establish an airport.  The permit was granted on July 7, 1949.  Two years of site preparation work then commenced.  A Landing Area was authorized on November 17, 1949, by the MA Aeronautic Commission.  No airfield was yet depicted at the location on the 1950 USGS topo map.

The 20+ acre Tew-Mac Airport was recognized as an Official Airport on March 26, 1951. The first manager was John Hanson. A Civil Air Patrol building was erected in 1952 and the first hangar was constructed in 1954.

The earliest depiction of Tew-Mac Airport which has been located was on the November 1954 Boston Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy). It depicted the field as having an 1,800' unpaved runway.

Gilbert Bergeron recalled, "I was taking flying lessons at Tew-Mac in 1954, receiving my private pilots license in 1956. It was operated by two partners, John Hanson & Frank Teed, who moved their operation from the old Billerica-Wilmington Airport.  The operation was called Four Star Aviation Inc. In 1956, it still had only one runway, (3/21), and was 1,700' of sod, with powerlines running across the approach end of Runway 3, along Route 38."

Clifford Hupper purchased the Tew-Mac Airport in 1959 & became its Manager.  An expansion program included lengthening the runway & adding lights.  

"Somewhere around 1959-61, Four Star Aviation moved its operation to Lawrence Airport, MA, after the crash & death of Ed Zimmney, who had a flight school at the southern end of the field. Ed, I believe, was flying Ted Kennedy around Massachusetts on campaign trips when he was running for the Senate. The crash put Kennedy in the hospital for a long period of time with a broken back. At that time, Tew-Mac was taken over by Clifford Hupper (Warren's father). 

The name, Tew-Mac, comes from Tewksbury, the town, and MacClarren (Arthur MacClarren was the owner of the property and lived in a house at the southeastern corner of the field near Route 38)."



Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe). 

At some point between 1968-72, the second runway was also paved, as the 1972 Flight Guide (according to Chris Kennedy) described Tew-Mac as having two paved runways, of 2,900' & 2,603'.

The 1960 Boston Local Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe) described Tew Mac as having a single 1,850' turf runway.  John Reagan recalled, "I lived on Tanglewood Avenue in Tewksbury and would ride my bike down to the Airport & spend all my free time there between 1962-66.  I use to fly with a lot of the pilots who owned planes there.  On weekends I use to fly with Art Moran, who at the time owned a converted 1938 Piper J-2.  The engine was changed from a 40 HP to a 60 or 65 HP engine & ran great.  We would often takeoff to Plum Island, Norwood, Nashua Airports or just out for a weekend ride."  "Cliff Hupper, Warren Francis Hupper's father (the owner of the Airport) used to give me a job picking up papers or other things and would give me a ride in his Piper J-8 Cruiser or one of the J-3s."

"One morning in the summer, I was riding with one of the other pilots in his Cessna 172 Skyhawk and on final approach the engine stopped. Luckily, he was a very skilled pilot & landed 'Dead Stick'."

"Something I will always remember is a man who use to visit the Airport to show off his special plane. Instead of flying down the runway he would fly across the field & take off over the trees."

"One day, I was just getting to the airport & one of the pilots had just filled up his plane with gasoline and had the tow bar still on the nosewheel as he was getting ready to crank the engine. I ran out to the field with my hands waving & yelling 'Stop!' He saw me & did not start the engine. To reward me he gave me a nice ride & showed me how Omni worked."  "I was about 10 years old & I had a note from my mother that Cliff Hupper kept in the office saying that I could fly with any qualified pilot."  

"Some of the instructors I knew there were Francis 'Waren' Hupper, Dick Johnson, and Don Dover who eventually became an FAA Examiner and Toby Pierson who had his student pilot's license before he got his drivers license."  "I learned a lot about aviation from Curt Harvey & Dick Fetachuck, the gentlemen who ran the Aviation Maintenance shop.  It was fun watching them work on the planes & learn all about aerodynamics as well as how the various tools worked.  As a visitor, I was always treated like one of the family & had free reign over the whole field."

"Cliff was sort of like a Grandfather to me. He use to keep all his change in a bag and on a hot day he would buy me a Coke out of one of the machines in the office."

"Art 'Red' McLaren & his family were also friends of mine. He owned the land that the Airport was built on."

The 1962 AOPA Airport Directory described Tew-Mac as having a single 1,950' sod runway. Tew-Mac was depicted on the 1963 Boston Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy) as having an 1,850' turf runway.




The Aerodromes table on the 1965 Boston Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss)

described the field as having a single 1,964' asphalt runway.

 

Tew-Mac Airport, as 




The above image from the Tewksbury Historical Society Archives shows the field to have a single 
asphalt runway & parallel taxiway, and over two dozen light aircraft clustered around both 
sides of the south end of the runway.



The above image shows a Tewksbury pilot pre-flighting his Cessna.


The Aerodromes table on the 1965 Boston Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss)
described the field as having a single 1,964' asphalt runway.

 

Tew-Mac Airport, as depicted on the 1968 Boston Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).

 At some point between 1968-72, the second runway was also paved, as the 1972 Flight Guide (according to Chris Kennedy) described Tew-Mac as having two paved runways, of 2,900' & 2,603'.

 

A 1989 photo of "The old hangar out back with Fred Dexter's Stinson Reliant, 
Grumman Trainer, and Stearman",

by John Ford of Les Vants Aerial Photos.

A 1991 aerial photo of Tew-Mac Airport from 12,500', by John Ford of Les Vants Aerial Photos.

 

The 1994 Jeppesen Airport Directory depicted Tew-Mac as having two paved runways: 2,830' Runway 3/21 & 2,600' Runway 18/36.

The operator was listed as Tew-Mac Aviation, Inc.

 

 

A beautiful aerial picture of Tew-Mac Airport from 1996 (the year before it closed),

by John Ford of Les Vants Aerial Photos.

A total of 35 light aircraft were visible parked outside.

 

The Tew-Mac Aero Service hangar from 1997 (the airport's last year),

by John Ford of Les Vants Aerial Photos.

 

A 1997 photo of the last plane to land before Tew-Mac Airport's demolition (John Ford's Cessna)

and the last to take off (the airport owner, Warren Hupper's, Grumman Cougar).

Photo by John Ford of Les Vants Aerial Photos.

 

This popular general aviation airport was closed in 1997.

 

A sad sight - the former location of Tew-Mac Airport only one year later, in 1998.

Photo by John Ford of Les Vants Aerial Photos.

Nearly all traces of the airport had been removed, as the site was covered with a retirement community & golf course.  The only remaining trace of the former airport was a short section of the north end of the former crosswind runway (top-left of photo) which still remained untouched.   Gilbert Bergeron observed, "I've shed a tear or two to see the field torn up as I have many wonderful memories of flying there in Cubs & Champs."



Information sourced from:  http://www.airfields-freeman.com/