KATAMA AIRFIELD TRUST MISSION
The Katama Airfield Trust (“the Trust”) was established in 1998 to assist The Nature Conservancy and the Town of Edgartown Conservation Commission in their efforts to preserve the Katama Airfield and the coastal sand plains of Martha’s Vineyard.
To assist in the historic preservation and operational needs of the Katama Airfield, and to develop educational programs and youth scholarships to serve local island youth seeking careers in the aviation industry.
We envision a world in which Katama Airfield is a symbol of General Aviation, wildlife preservation, workforce development, and community empowerment by creating and funding programs, public events, scholarships, beautification, and preservation efforts on Martha’s Vineyard. We aspire to both honor the Airfield’s past and ensure it remains an inspirational space for individuals interested in the joys of flight.
The Katama Airfield Trust enjoys a close partnership with The Nature Conservancy, The Edgartown Conservation Commission, The Edgartown Airfield Commission and the elected officials and residents of Edgartown.
The Mission of the Katama Airfield Trust can be broken up into three broad components – historical preservation, airfield operations, and educational initiatives. Since 1998, the Trust has supported the Town of Edgartown and the Katama Airfield in the historic preservation of the property and has periodically assisted in the operation of the airfield by allocating funds to strategic projects and other related operational needs of the airfield’s Manager. Central to this work has been the construction of a new hangar.
Summary of KAT Youth Aviation Educational Fund
The Trust has long had a stated intention to directly or indirectly fund and assist in the implementation of general aviation educational initiatives at the Airfield. We believe that developing educational initiatives will simultaneously increase the awareness of general aviation amongst the public, improve the cultural significance of the Airfield on Martha’s Vineyard, and, potentially, serve as a model to other General Aviation (“GA”) community-based organizations across the country.
To achieve this goal, the Trust has developed and is launching a new capital campaign which we call “Soar: A Campaign for the Next Generation of The Katama Airfield.” The KAT Youth Aviation Educational Fund serves as the defining anchor of the capital campaign.
Flight training has occurred at Katama Airfield since its founding in 1923. Indeed, in some of his earlier writings, Steve Gentle (owner and manager of the airfield from 1944-1985), claimed that the first summer flight school in the United States was built at the airfield in 1929. Given Katama’s forgiving grass runways; varied, and sometimes challenging, weather conditions; runway optionality; and its long history of unique “hangar flying” opportunities, it is no wonder that young people have gravitated to the field since it was first opened.
Pilots who hail from Katama often carry with them a certain, challenging-to-define, cultural capital in GA settings across the country. This most often takes the form of the pilots of Katama receiving excited questions from ramp operators at other airports and knowing winks and respectful nods from pilots hailing from Maine to Florida.
As it relates to the fundraising goals of Soar, the Trust believes it will be able to tap into this deep reservoir of history and cultural capital in the GA community to successfully raise funds and implement its scholarship programming.