Lake Ridge Aero Park is a private use airport in Durham, NC. Located 11 nm north of RDU, the airfield’s history dates back to 1945.

1945 : Farris Field

  • Dan K. Bryan converts farmland into two intersecting runways
  • Runway 6/24 2600 ft
  • Runway 14/32 3200 ft
  • Airport named Farris Field after Dan Bryan’s wife
  • Boy Brothers sold surplus WWII aircraft from the airfield including North American T-6s, Twin Beech and Stearman airplanes
  • Airfield was used by crop dusters, glider operations
  • A racetrack was located on northeast end of Runway 6 where Linwood Roberts ran the motor grader

1948 : Bryan Field

  • Airport renamed Bryan Field after Dan Bryan is killed in an aviation accident

1955 : Wilkins Field

  • Odell Wilkins, WWII Flight Instructor and A&P Mechanic, leases airport
  • Airport renamed Wilkins Field
  • Wilkins Flying Service offers aircraft maintenance and flight instruction
  • Odell leaves in 1965 to join Eastern Airlines in Atlanta

1966 : Durham Skypark

  • Woody Woodall leases airport
  • Woodall Flying Service offers flight instruction, aircraft maintenance and avionics shop
  • Airport renamed Durham Skypark
  • Rented airport for $100 month
  • Property owned by Aviation Land and Development Company (WTVD Channel 11)
  • Field had been abandoned; runways so rough they were not driveable by car
  • Woody first lands at the field in a Piper Cherokee N4504R owned by Warren Wheeler (Warren had just joined Piedmont Airlines and was their first African American pilot)
  • Woodall Flying Services has 2-3 full time flight instructors / mechanics and 9 planes in the fleet including C150, C172, Skylane, Apache, Citabria, Tri-Pacer
  • Cessna Dealer / Cessna Pilot Center, 141 Flight School
  • Sold Esso fuel
  • 45 aircraft based at field

1976 : Lake Ridge Aero Park

  • Sterling Gann buys airport and adjacent land for residential development
  • Airport renamed Lake Ridge Aero Park
  • FAA Identifier W65

1978

  • Falls Lake construction begins
  • Northeast end of Runway 6 removed due to reservoir
  • Housing development requires full closure of runway, leaving one Runway 14/32
  • Section of old Runway 6/24 is the taxiway near the hangars and windsock

1993

  • Empire Aviation Flight School opens with one Cessna 150 before adding a Piper Cherokee, Cessna 172, and other aircraft to its fleet. Moves to Henderson-Oxford Airport (KHNZ) in 2009.

1995

  • Airport sold to BRNJ, Inc. (Randy Smith, Bobby Fuller and Rick Fuller)

2001

  • FAA Identifier changed from W65 to 8NC8