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Coram Airport

The Coram Airport operated from 1959 to 1984 and was used sporadically after that. Today it is listed as an emergency landing field. In its years of operation the airport was leased by Tom Murphy who entered into an arrangement with Lester Davis, who owned the field.Mr. Davis a flying enthusiast, also owned a number of planes. His son Randall (Randy) was also a pilot and invited his Science teacher Mr.Verdi to lunch. Mr. Verdi recounts the experience.

“Randy told me he wanted to take me to lunch in the spring of his senior year. I had no idea he meant in Connecticut. When we pulled in to that little airport I was shocked and nervous as it was my first flight on a small plane. Once we took off however, it became an extraordinary experience. Quiet, smooth,and at a low altitude. It was amazing how quickly we got to Connecticut and how beautifully the sound was framed by land. Coming back he flew to the eastern tip of LI and the headed west along the beaches back to the Coram area. We flew about 150 ft above the island. Spectacular. Taking off and landing was really not that bad. It was a short strip but plenty big enough for his 4 seater. It was however a little bumpy. All in all a great day. Seems like yesterday.”

tom
This is a real Country Operation

Newsday, Sept 17, 1976

Tom Murphy runs the flight school in Coram from a shack that has no heat, running water, or electricity. But Murphy says he works there all year round.
“I don’t want the aggravation of a phone,” He said. “I’d have to hire someone to mind the phone. If I had heat, I have a lot of friends that would come here and sit. I’d never get any work done. This is a real country operation,” he added cheerfully. “I just want to make enough to make a living.”
Coram Airport is definitely one of the smallest airports on Long Island;Murphy, who leases part of the airport from owner Lester Davis, has three Piper Cub planes. The airport itself is on Middle Country Road.The red dirt runway is only 1,800 feet long and is bordered by cornfields, strawberries and pumpkins. Landing on the runway, one pilot said, “is like flying in a bathtub.” In addition to Murphy’s flight school, Lester Davis’ son, Randall, runs a flight school and taxi-service.
Inside Murphy’s shack, which serves as a combination garage and office, the walls are covered with pictures of Murphy in his dashing youth. About 6 feet 2, and gray, and refusing to give his age- he had to think for a moment before he could remember when he first wanted to fly. “I lived near an old airport in Brooklyn when I was young, and me and my brother would go down and see the planes fly in and out.That’s where I first got the yen… I got my first plane June, 1930. They were very cheap in those days, $500 to $1,200, but then again cars were$100.”He grinned, “After the crash (Wall Street) no one could afford to keep their planes, so all the rich people were selling them off cheap.
Murphy insisted that people who take the trouble to find out about him and his flying service are the people who really want to find out about him and his flying service are the people who really want to learn to fly. But he acknowledged somewhat sadly that people are no longer interested in flying for pleasure, but for transportation. “People take a lot of crazy chances, he said. “They don’t realize that you can’t overextend yourself, you have to fly with caution. People today don’twant to do that. They’re in a hurry to do everything.
Murphy, whose record is accident free, also had some words of advice: I don’t stick my neck out in bad weather.

red

New York Times Jan. 2, 1977
The Red Baron would approve
…Finally, those addicted to small fields agree that flying from them makes for better pilots. According to Tom Murphy, who runs the Coram Airport, one of the smallest on the Island. – In fact it is part of a farm –“There’s no room for error, the pilot has to make his landing good or else go around again.”
Mr. Murphy who is 64 and a former WWII flying instructor said that “you get exalted attitude flying out of MacArthur,” which has a 6000 foot runway.
“You get accustomed to a long runway,” he said, and you get accustomed to having a choice of runways so you can land in the wind.
…It is his opinion that many of the accidents involving small planes stem from the pilots inability to land at the nearest available field. He is fond of recalling that a few decades ago all private air fields were cow pastures.

Mr. Murphy, who spent 15 of his prewar and postwar-years skywriting the words “Pepsi-Cola” and “J.J. Fox Fine Furs” over New York and Palm Beach and Miami, talks of the freedom of the skies…

Mr. Murphy told of the time a young woman landed her two seater plane at the Coram Airport in search of a bathroom. Alas, Coram Airport has neither heat nor plumbing. “I told her, we don’t have one, but you can go out in the woods.” Mr. Murphy said. “She did and when she came back-she left a dime on the table. For the improvement of the toilet facilities,” she said.


airport
The Coram Airport circa 1978.

west
Acirca 1980 aerial view looking west along Coram's east/west runway. The"skyscraper" in the distance is the building on Middle Country Roadopposite McDonald's.

today
The runway today. Now the property of the Suffolk County Parks.

landing

Circa 1980 photo of a Piper Cub landing on Coram's south runway.


today
An aerial taken in 2012. The open area between the runways is used by a group who flies model helicopters, and airplanes.

1938
1938 aerial - Black arrow shows where the airport will be located. The area is largely undeveloped.


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