Belford Airport

This abandoned airfield previously belonged to the J. Howard Smith Fish Factory in Port Monmouth across the Belford Creek. They had a plant there for processing Menhaden, and they used aircraft to spot schools of fish for the boats. It us unknown when it opened, but the The airfield closed sometime in the 1970’s. Belford Airfield is owned by Monmouth County and leased to the Middletown Department of Public Works for $1/year (or some such minimal figure).

Officials were gracious enough to allow me to visit the site and document the operations. Part of the property is a landfill (now closed). The metal hangar remains but looks like hell. I spoke with one employee who showed me the interior and pointed out pipes that led to bathroom facilities for a small apartment for pilots. I commented the holes in the walls looked like bullet holes, to which he responded ‘There certainly are bullet holes! I know because I put them there as a kid!’ Apparently many of the pilots & their families were hunters.

Sede the rest of the photos here

No airfield at this site could be located in either the 1962 or 1982 AOPA Airport Directories. The airfield wasn’t depicted at all on Sectional Charts from 1945, 1958, 1965, or 1975, the 1979 NY TCA chart (courtesy of Bill Suffa), or the 1969 USGS topo map. The airfield was depicted on the 1981 USGS topo map (labeled “Private Airstrip”) and the 1986 USGS topo map. As depicted on the 1981 USGS topo map, the airfield consisted of two 1,700′ runways, one oriented north/south, the other northwest/southeast.

According to Gus Fraser, “Students at Linden use it [the Belford Airfield] to practice off-field landings (down to 500ft).”

A circa 2001 aerial photo showed that the remains of both paved runways still existed, along with a single hangar, southwest of the runway intersection.

A 2003 aerial view by Rich Galiano, looking northeast at the Belford Airport.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bill on January 29, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    My dad worked for J. Howard Smith Co.. As a boy we use to go to “Green Island”,
    as we called it, to visit a small shooting range. We’d dig out lead from the sand berm,
    just for fun. So with the “range” so close, that perhaps explains the bullet holes mentioned above.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Susan on October 18, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    I worked at Seacoast Products (formerly J. Howard Smith) until May 1979 and the airport was in operation at least until then. I got to fly once. If I remember correctly, we had 5 pilots. The chief pilot at the time lived out near the end of Long Island, but it didn’t take long for him to fly in!

    Reply

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