Hanover Airport, Morris County

East Hanover Airport is located in Hanover NJ close to Route 280. It is located in what was the Glacial Lake Passaic. This was an area that was carved out by the last glaciers of the ice age that ended roughly 15,000 years ago. The area of Lincoln Park, Hanover, Chatham and the surrounding area floods frequently because of the low lying swamp land and the convergance of the Passaic and Pompton Rivers. The areas flooded badly several weeks and ago and 3 times in the last 4 years. the airport operated here from the mid 40’s until August 1985. The airport had been losing 10-15K a year and when a proposed office park fell thru, the airport closed for good. Thruout the 2000’s there were discussions of selling the 53 acres of land to the town or county and turning it into a park of some sort, perhaps funded thru the Green Acres fund. I came across a newspaper article in 2005 stating that this was the plan, but on a recent visit in 2011 it was clear that nothing has happened to date.

The airport originally had a 2,000 foot unpaved runway which eventually became a gravel runway and later a paved runway that ran northeast/southwest. At the southeast corner (where the nearby road bends sharply now) sat a hangar and some other office buildings. Despite the short runway, DC-3’s made an occasional landing there. The airport’s FAA license was not renewed in 1984 which sealed the fate of the little airport. The land is apparently still owned by the owner from 25 years ago, but there is no evidence that the property will be converted to a parkland any time soon. there is, in fact, evidence that there is some sort of contamination at the site. I don’t know anything more then what this sign says, so if anyone has a clue, please let me know.

All my flickr pictures can be found here.

Most of the information about the history of the hanover airport was found here a website which focuses on abandoned airports nationwide.

I have known about this place forever and had visited here in 2005. Not much has changed since then. Here is a picture of the office building from when the airport ewas open. Note the name of thew airport on the roof.

Today it looks a lot worse for wear.


When I was inside the building snooping around the tin metal sheets of the roof were shaking and flapping, making for am very unnerving experience. When iI emerged I realized why it sounded so loud. A turkey vulture had been perched on the roof and flew off before I could take a picture. Inside the building I found the weirest grafitti, apparently outing a local resident who had been cheating his his spouse. Odd.

This compass was painted on the ground so it was visible from the air. This would help pilots orient themselves. In the second picture you can see the compass from the air.

The name of the airport was also painted in giant letters on the runway and are still legible after 3 decades.


50 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bill Rabolli on April 16, 2018 at 7:48 PM

    The compass rose depicted on the taxiway is used for calibrating wet compass in aircraft as electrical equipment is added or removed it affects the aircraft Compass. You can we calibrate the compass in the aircraft on that compass rose depicted on the ground by aligning the aircraft magnetically north and south and then tweaking the Compass in the aircraft appropriate


  2. Anyone recognize this young man in the photo?


    • I think that’s Dougie. He had a very clean J-3. Rode with Eric as rear gunner in the T-6 sometimes.


    • Posted by Tom Gilbertson on June 7, 2018 at 11:36 AM

      I remember that young man. His name was Doug. He and his Dad had a J3 Cub N70745 tied down next to my Dad’s T-Craft on the second tie down row about two or three aircraft in from the runway. Don’t ask me how i remember the N# as for some reason i just remember numbers. Anyway I remember that they both were very nice people and somehow on the panel of the cub they had an emblem probably off of the control yoke of a Boeing 707. A play on the N# for sure. Great memories.


  3. Thanks for keeping this thread active (sorta) … love the old hanger talk …


  4. I was based and flew out of there from the mid 60s to early 70s, always flying an Aeronca 7AC.

    I wonder if anybody remembers the name of the airport dog? The question came up the other day. Somebody there remarked in 1970 that ___ seemed to be unaffected by the solar eclipse, contrary to what was said about the behavior or animals. I had flown down to Virginia to see the eclipse and had just gotten back. I wanted to fill in the blank with the dog’s name.


    • Posted by James Loveless on August 24, 2017 at 9:01 PM

      The airport dog’s name was Missy. We were lucky enough to get one of her puppies when I was about 4 years old. She was a great dog.


      • I remember the dog … Missy, wow. Thanks so much for the great memory! BTW, I was about 2 or 3 when my parents flew out of Hanover … such a great place to run around. They would “tie” me to the hanger so I wouldn’t wonder out to the runway! You might enjoy this old 8mm of my mom doing touch n goes …


        • Posted by James Loveless on August 25, 2017 at 12:36 PM

          Awesome 8mm!!! Brings back tons of memories!!! My father was a flight instructor there until about 1978. I still remember trying to clear the power lines after taking off. I think it was runway 27? I also recall holding my Father’s hand and being scared as hell looking up that DC3 with those two loud radial engines!!!!


      • Huh. Missy doesn’t ring a bell. White with black spot, was all over the airport avoiding propellors, medium sized. But then I couldn’t remember it and was wondering if it was something like Spot, so maybe it was Missy.

        I have one photo of a random Cherokee probably from 1963 or before

        landing west. Surely taken before I was based at Hanover.

        I think the largeish twin in the video was a (Cessna) bamboo bomber that suffered from a refurbishing gone bad when they cut out a section of the main spar to make it easier to walk over, so it couldn’t get recertified.

        Its spot was taken over by Eric somebody’s AT6 which was eventually done up in camouflage. Somebody called Roman was an expert painter and repainted a lot of airplanes there.

        One of the planes tied down was a SeaBee.

        I remember a guy (George Fox?) with an experimental fast plane on which he was always trying to rework the propellor to get more than 180mph out of it.

        I flew a lot with somebody Olde and his cousin in another 7AC, and a guy Tom Robinson in a Taylorcraft, when we decided on a joint expedition somewhere, but mostly it was standing around.

        Ernie somebody was an iron worker with (jointly with others) an AT6 and an Apache later that might have been his own.

        Some fellow with an experimental biplane did nice work and sold me some Bendix magnetoes for my 7AC when one of the Eisman’s stopped working (you have two so you can fly home when one stops working). The Eismans would never start on dewey summer early mornings anyway.


        • Incidentally fuel was run on the honor system. Refuel your plane, fill out the slip on the box that was left there, and they add it up and send you the total at the end of the month with the $25 tiedown fee,


          • Oh, don’t forget Herbie in the blue step-in van selling hot dogs at the east end of the runway, responsible for a pretty good crowd on nice weekends.


            • The biplane was a Waco. They started renting it out. I saw the last renter take off, losing directional control and clipping the bushes but got off okay. He wound up at Kupper airport in a wreck of some kind that involved spilled fuel and somebody with a cigarette accidnetly set it ablaze later.

              I’m remembering some story about the trim being set wrong starting the confusion.

              Anyway that plane towed the gliders.

              One day he towed with too little fuel, the engine sputtered and he cut the glider loose and returned to the field; the glider went down by a house to the north in the swamp. We all drove out and retrieved it. Always land where you can retrieve the airplane.


            • Posted by Tom Gilbertson on October 27, 2017 at 8:30 PM

              Ron i remember him well and that truck on Ridgedale Avenue. You are right the crowds on the weekend were amazing. I was brand new at flying the Tcraft then and i remember thinking if those people knew how new i was at it they wouldnt stand so close! I remember people lining the runway. He must have sold a log of hot dogs! There is a website called Abandoned & Little Known Airfields that lists airports across the country that are no longer with us. Hanover is one of them. I sent in a number of pictures from the sixties and they are posted along with pictures from other people. One of them shows the blue hot dog truck by the approach end of 27.


        • Posted by Tom Gilbertson on October 23, 2017 at 11:17 PM

          Ron: Had to answer you on your last post here where you mentioned several people. It was Eric Lorentzen that had a T6 tied down along the runway. Bob Auld had a Champ and always flew with his cousin. Bob was a super nice guy and always reminded me of a history teacher. Tom Robinson had the red Tcraft tied down near us his name was actually Dudley B. Robinson. I remember flying with him once and we flew over a nudist colony. Ernie White had a T6 as well. I remember he was friends with my brother. I remember you had two champs. The first one had a real fancy paint job and was a little worn but the second one you got was really nice. I remember so much from those days. I was between 13 and 19 years old while we were there. People and their airplanes made a big impression on me. Bill Rhode and Tom Weidlich were the instructors. Bill soloed me in the Tcraft. Tom eventually went with Allegheny Airlines as did my brother. My dad was with TWA.


          • Eric Lorentzen (Levolor Blinds, his father founded the business)! I haven’t heard that name in a long time! My sister went out with him once or twice … geez, I was only about 8 years old, but I remember the day like it was yesterday! I have an photo of his plane somewhere, I’ll look for it! 🙂


            • Posted by Tom Gilbertson on October 24, 2017 at 4:01 PM

              This blog is great. Its so good to hear from people who remember Hanover so well. My dad bought the TCraft from Jack Lenahan in Dec of 1964. Jack then bought a Fairchild 24 that was tied down close to the parking lot. My Dad rebuilt the Tcraft in 1966 and we were gone from Hanover between March and July of that year but came back with the rebuilt airplane that had been blue and white and was now green and yellow. In 1970 we moved to Blairstown but I brought the Tcraft back to Hanover around 1979 and was there until the airport closed. I remember Udo who was running it at the time. I used to see Tom Oram as well then. He had a 150 tied down next to me. I will never forget flying with Bill Rhode. Talk about a pilot! He soloed me at 16 in the Tcraft and i always remember how comfortable i was with him in the plane. I knew if i screwed up there was nothing that he could not make right. I have a signed copy of his book “The Flying Devils” all about his barnstorming and parachuting days. You might remember he walked with a limp from an old parachuting injury.


            • Posted by Tom Gilbertson on October 27, 2017 at 8:21 PM

              Sandee: i remember Eric’s plane was repainted at some point in camouflage colors with a big chrome prop spinner. His was the only one on the field for a while and then Ernie White got one and they were parked next to each other. I seem to recall that Eric loaned the airplane to someone who was flying it in an airshow up in Canada where it was destroyed and the pilot was killed.


    • Posted by Tom Gilbertson on October 23, 2017 at 10:54 PM

      My Name is Tom Gilbertson and with my Dad John Gilbertson and my brother Jack had a Taylorcraft at Hanover from 1964 to 1970. It was a great place and I miss it. I occasionally take a ride up there and see whats left. Its sad. I made my first solo in our TCraft at 16 years old on June 23, 1967. Bill Rhode was my instructor. I still have that TCraft today based at Alexandria field in Pittstown. I did see a comment here from Ron Hardin. Ron I remember you and your Champ. You wheel landed it every time and in the exact same spot on the runway. I’d love to communicate with some of the folks that remember Hanover!


  5. Posted by Jim Booth on August 2, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    My father in law Marinus “Mike” Glerum lived on a farm that backed up onto the airport. He would jump the fence and learned to fly there. His first license was signed by one of the Wright brothers. He was the youngest to ever get a commercial license and became
    an American Airline pilot. He flew the mail and flew in a circus.


  6. Wow! I just happen to stumble upon this blog, nice to hear other great stories about the Hanover Airport! My mom parents had the cute red and white Ercoupe back in the late 60s / 70s … you might find this short video fun, my mom doing touch n go’s … http://youtu.be/_s3Y67o46kM


  7. the compass on the ground is to do a compass swing which corrects the compass for any deviations


  8. Posted by Richard Kenyon on May 30, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    I flew in and out of Hanover many times in the mid sixties. They had glider operations there using a biplane for the tug. One Sunday, the tug nosed over, spilling fuel on the ground, where a careless smoker threw a lit cigarette, thus destroying the tug and ending soaring there. Tom Oram, the operator, was descended from the Oram family who kept the Port Oram lock on the Morris Canal.


    • Posted by Skip on March 28, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      I was in the Icarus Flying Club with Bill Rhode as my instructor in the Luscombe. Tom was a great guy, as was his very attractive daughter.


      • Posted by george schaefer on February 27, 2015 at 8:54 PM

        Are you Skip Degan by chance?


      • Posted by bruce g. roberts on April 10, 2016 at 3:21 PM

        I remember Bill Rhode too great “quiet” guy. He wrote a book about his “Barn Storming” days…I wish I knew where it was. He taught me well…on the 150 and 172 Cessna’s. I remember the many “touch and Go’s” I did there…and the aweful power lines at the end of the run-way. lol. (funny) I never will forget the day Bill let me solo…..in January…over cast day…and a light mist of snow…lol. We did several touch and go’s….then he said “OK..bruce its yours…it may float a bit cause im not in it” I thought he was joking about soloing. I did not tell him this lol…but I talked to the empty seat during the whole solo flight…..lol


  9. Posted by Jim on August 3, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    I remember flying out of Hanover Airport with my dad when I was 5. He was a flight instructor there and after all those years still is, now flying out of Caldwell. I grew up around aircraft and have many fond memories of Hanover Airport.


  10. My dad was a hobby pilot and flew a Piper Cub out of there in the late 60’s and early 70’s. His friend Tom and his partner Bea managed the place. My dad, my sister and I would hang there on Saturdays and Tom wouldn’t mind me running around the hangar. He had a biplane and a helicopter like Wild Kingdom, you know, the bubble one? In the very early 70’s, we lived in Livingston, and our property bordered Richie “The Boot” Biardo’s estate. Life magazine chartered Tom and his chopper to fly over the estate so the guy from Life magazine could take some snaps. When they returned to Hanover airport, which could have only been a 5 minute flight, there were 2 black Fleetwoods waiting with 6 no necks in each. They made it clear to the photographer why he shouldn’t do that again and they relieved him of his camera. The photographer immediately got another camera and went 50 miles west and did the same thing from another airport. Those pictures made it into Life. One of many interesting stories from there I’m sure.


  11. […] PS – Be sure to check out the Lost In Jersey blog for more awesome NJ finds, including a very cool abandoned airfield. […]


  12. Posted by Chris on March 30, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    The old airport was one of our regular stops back in the late 70’s until the mid 80’s. We would love to watch planes come and go and once witnessed my mothers friends son fly an ultralight there. Once the airport shut down we would love to race our bicycles up and down the runway until the police would scare us off. Good times!
    We would also head out in the swamp a bit further up Ridgedale Ave and collect bottles and whatnot that were dumped while being cautious for snakes. Way back in the early 70’s I vaguely remember going to that region to dump an old washer and dyer with my grandfather. On the other side of 280 you can see the remnants of an old road and bridge that now leads to the sewage plant or Parsippany town dump (If memory serves). This may have been Route 12?


    • Posted by lostinjersey on March 30, 2011 at 6:25 PM

      so the road is abandoned? or it’s active. where is that in relation to the airport? I’d love to go hiking and scout that out.


      • Posted by Chris on April 4, 2011 at 9:16 AM

        If I remember correctly, you would continue down Ridgedale, cross over 280 and make the first right onto Edwards (?) Rd. It was down that way, past town dump. I think the road is abandoned at some point.
        There was also another road..if you followed Ridgedale towards 280 but instead of curving right to cross 280, you could go straight and follow a road that ran parallel to 280 East for quite a ways..I think it went up to the 80/280 split.

        I am curious if you have ever been to the East Orange Water Reserve in Livingston/Short Hills area..? Many abandoned buildings and oddities out there including a very small suspension bridge that led to an island in a river/swamp and a neat fire tower. If you search for Kennedy Parkway in Livingston, you will see loads of forest surrounding it. This is the EOWR.


    • Posted by John Tremper on January 13, 2014 at 4:07 AM

      I grew up here and flew ultralights and everything else I could there as a kid, what’s your last name, did you live in East Hanover?


      • Posted by Chris on January 13, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        Hi John,
        My last name is Kynor. If I remember correctly, our mothers worked together at Burrells in Livingston, which is where I am from.

        Small world, huh?


        • Posted by John Tremper on January 14, 2014 at 7:01 PM

          Yep, that was me! I remember your name well because my mom always was talking about your mom / you. Sortof ironic that was the connection, just as I got your response I was just getting my mother into the hospital, she’s 85 now and not doing so great anymore. I think I sold you or a friend a beat up VW back then too? I still fly, run a maintenance shop and teach in Andover, NJ.


          • Posted by george schaefer on February 12, 2014 at 11:20 PM

            john, im certain we know each other. i was at Hanover airport in the 80’s until it closed. bill rhode, udo, mike dybus, herbie, Dr. fried freid with his tri pacer then the robin. you used to wash planes for flight time. then you had that 2 seat ultralight and used to water bomb us until you took that dive into the swamp along rt280. you flew my cherokee 140 N9743W a few times. once we were at lincoln park and we had vapor lock on takeoff. i moved up to Andover Aeroflex and hooked up with skip degan who helped me get my instrument rating. when i closed my business i went to south carolina for some years, sold the cherokee down there and i see now that its still flying out in st louis MS. food to her you are still flying and hope you are doing well at your shop. i am out in ohio now, havent flown in years but my brother in law recently got his PP ticket and once he gets some hours under him i will start flying with him for his inst. rating.


            • Posted by John Tremper on February 13, 2014 at 10:52 PM

              Hi George, yes, I remember you! I have a picture with a group of us on a bookshelf in front of Bob Manalio’s Aztec on the grass, you’re in that. Bruce (the English guy), Stu Endres (green 182) and a few others are in that as well. After the airport closed I rented for a while out of Lincoln Park, then gradually stopped flying, getting back involved in the early 90’s getting all of my raftings up thru CFI. I teach at Aeroflex and may soon be running the shop out of there, at Trinca right now. I have a Cherokee 140 too, as well as a flying J3 Cub and a project one.


              • Posted by george schaefer on February 17, 2014 at 9:48 PM

                way to go John, really great to hear from ya! i never got a copy of that pic you have as place closed b4 the girl who took it gave me a copy. please, if u can email me a copy, please?? i love telling people the story if the time Stu landed and dropped his wheel in a bathtub some kids (probably u) left at the runway and how he skidded down to a stop. how bout the time Bob Manolio took off from the entrance road when the runway was underwater!! congratulations on your CFI, i was a few hours short of my commercial when funds ran out and i kinda “retired.” now i am having fun with the wife modding our 2008 Hyundai Tiburon and going to shows with it. hoping to get back in the cockpit when my brother in law gets over his shyness and will fly without his instructor. is Skip Degan still working out of Aeroflex? if he is, pass my Email along to him as id like t o hear from him again, had a great relationship until i headed to South Carolina and off to college in pursuit of a law degree. how do u like your 140? let me know if you want to sell your J3, my brother in law loves them and wants one!! hope you have a great time with both planes. FYI, N9743W is still flying, based in St, Louis, MO.



  13. I have an inquiry in with the Construction Department to find out what the planned fate of the airport is.


  14. Posted by NewYork Gal on March 29, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    wow its amazing to see most of the structure in place after all these years and that graffiti is something else


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