Former airport director tells all aviation tales

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 22, 2012

By Mollie Beth Wallace
The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — For many Natchez residents, the Natchez-Adams County Airport isn’t a part of the daily routine. But for William Simmons, aviation in Natchez was a way of life for 40 years.

At the request of his son, Wayne, the former director of aviation for Natchez set out to record his experiences in hopes of preserving the memory of an industry to which he dedicated most of his life.

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The booklet he compiled, titled “The History of Aviation in Natchez,” follows the progression of aviation in Natchez from a carnival landing strip to a bustling airport.

Simmons begins the story with a description of the first landing strip in Natchez in the 1930s, which occupied the space where Natchez High School sits. Simmons then recounts the changes brought on by two world wars and explains the wartime effects on aviation in Natchez.

Ending with a summary of the Natchez Airport’s commercial heyday, Simmons gives his own personal account of the airport that meant so much to himself, his wife and his children.

A copy of the booklet is available upon request at the Historic Natchez Foundation.