The facilities of the Aeromarine Plane & Motor Company were constructed in 1917 on the east side of Keyport, and an unpaved runway ran in between the factory buildings & the water. The airport closed around 1937, and the buildings were converted into warehouses and other related types of businesses came in. The field was described as having a single 1,000′ northeast/ southwest runway. The 1934 Department of Commerce Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy) described Aeromarine Field as having two sod runways oriented in an “L” shape, with the longest being an 1,800′ northeast/southwest strip.
New York businessman Inglis Uppercu founded the Aeromarine Plane & Motor Company in New Jersey in 1914. Initially the Boland Aeroplane Company, Uppercu renamed the firm Aeromarine when Boland died in a crash & his widow sold Uppercu control. Focusing on mail delivery, these aviation innovators successfully delivered mail to a ship at sea in 1919. Aeromarine manufactured landplanes, flying boats, engines, and propellers. Aeromarine employed 900 employees at peak of the First World War.
They produced 200 39-A/39-B aircraft for the USN beginning in 1917, converted Curtiss /Navy F-5lL & HS-2L flying boats into airliners,built 25 Martin MB-2’s as NBS-1’s in 1921-22, designed & built a number of other landplane & flying boats models in small quantities, and in 1923 built the first all-metal flying boat in the US. Aeromarine’s Inglis Uppercu was also credited with invention of the inertial starter. Aeromarine Airways Inc, began operations in 1919 between NYC & Atlantic City.
They also operated between Key West & Cuba, NYC & Havana, and Cleveland & Detroit, all in Curtiss Flying boats. Aeromarine Airways ceased operations in 1923. The Aeromarine-Klemm Corporation operated from 1928-32, license building the German Klemm. The Upper-Burnelli Aircraft Corporation operated from 1929-34. Uppercu was Vincent Burnelli’s backer in his development of lifting body aircraft, that culminated in the Burnelli CBY-3 Loadmaster built in Canada.
The Keyport Yacht Club had plans in 1997 for a modest portion of one building to be dedicated as a museum to the Aeromarine Plane & Motor Company, but summer 2005 will see the complete demolition of all buildings to make way for luxury townhouses. This goes against the wishes of local residents, judging by signs of protests on local lawns. All that remains is the hangar, which is clearly in very bad shape.
An undated view of F-5L converted by Aeromarine (courtesy of Tom Beamer).
As seen in the circa 2000 aerial photo, the former Aeromarine factory buildings are still standing.
A 2003 aerial view by Rich Galiano, looking northeast at the former Aeromarine factory buildings.