History of Pearson Field

Pearson Field is the oldest operating airfield in the Pacific NW and one of the two oldest continuously operating airfields in the United States, receiving recognition in 2012 as an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) historic aerospace site. Pearson Field dates back to Lincoln Beachey’s landing of the Dirigible Gelatine in 1905. The army operated a spruce mill for aircraft parts during WWI. Regular army flights at Pearson Field began in 1921 with the opening of a forest patrol base. Reserve fliers from the 321st Observation Squadron trained from 1923 until the squadron was placed on active service in 1941. The year 1937 saw the landing of the first non-stop transpolar flight by the Russian ANT-25. The field continues to serve the region as a vital general aviation center while the aviation education center serves the important roles of preserving the field’s rich aviation heritage and educating all ages in general aviation.


Meet Jean “Sunny” Schiffman. Now 94 years young, Sunny was a reluctant yet successful female pilot who has roots at Pearson Air Field.

The Historic Trust and Airway Science for Kids are excited to announce that programming at the Trust’s Pearson Field Education Center is now operated under the leadership of Airway Science for Kids. This regional partnership merges education programs and resources to expand the Education Center’s reach to inspire youth to pursue aviation STEM education and careers.

The expanded offerings at Pearson Field Education Center include weekly open Saturday programs, after school programs, partnership with Cascadia Technical Academy’s Aviation Technology program and summer camps for youth in Southwest Washington. The partnership with The Historic Trust builds on Airway Science for Kids’ current STEAM education and training programs at its North Portland Aerospace Training Center, at Hillsboro and Aurora airports, and online curriculum.