Airport History


The Jack Barstow Municipal Airport has a rich history in Midland. It was named for John “Jack” Barstow, a Midland-based pilot who learned about aviation from Orville Wright and taught friend Charles Lindberg some helpful techniques for flying gliders.

Tragically, Mr. Barstow (at right, in early 1930s) died in a plane crash in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1935 at the young age of 29. To pay tribute to Mr. Barstow’s many contributions to aviation in mid-Michigan, the former Midland Airport was renamed Jack Barstow Municipal Airport shortly following his death.

Jack Barstow poses with the tail of an airplane.

Modern Advancements

Today, Jack Barstow’s spirit of exploration and innovation continues at Barstow Airport. A local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is located at Barstow. The EAA is committed to aviation education, preservation and research. Through the EAA’s Young Eagles program, aviation camps are held annually at the airport to educate youth.

Wings of Mercy

In addition, many Barstow-based pilots are actively involved in the Wings of Mercy program. Through this relatively new program, air transportation is given free of charge to those who need specialized medical care, but cannot afford trips to far-off medical institutions. Since 1996 - when the Wings of Mercy Eastern Michigan chapter was formed - nearly 700 missions have been flown from the tri-cities alone. While charitable contributions are accepted and available to cover the fuel for these trips, many pilots fund the trips out of their own pockets.