Hearing “Bader Field” reminds me of the 16 wonderful years I worked there, for Southern Jersey Airways and Butler Aviation.

Bader made flying into AC convenient: a short walk to the beach, a short taxi ride to anywhere in town. To leave town, Allegheny Commuter could take you to Philadelphia Int’l, Newark, JFK or DC.

Before casinos arrived, we were home to Petroleum Helicopters, who ferried the “roughnecks” to work on the oil rigs offshore. Gambling arrived, ocean drilling off of A.C. was banned, the rig workers left, and every day brought movie stars, politicians, or casino executives into Bader, arriving by casino helicopters also used to bring in high rollers. The private plane traffic increased and new charter companies rented space, looking to cash in on the casinos. None lasted long.

SJA employees were the voices of the “control tower” before there was one at Bader. When pilots called for landing instructions, we would tell them which runway the winds were favoring, which runway the traffic was using, and always, left turns at Bader.

It’s sad to drive by the empty field now. How about a “Bay Walk” around the perimeter of the field with a few restaurants extending into the bay?

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