Spinks Airport was named for Maurice Hunter "Pappy" Spinks, a renowned aerobatic competitor/promoter and aviation manufacturer who built the nearby Oak Grove Airport, portions of which have been encompassed by Spinks Airport. Described by fellow aerobatic pilots as a "rough edged old millionaire," Spinks made a fortune during the Vietnam War manufacturing skids for Bell Helicopter's Huey helicopters at a facility located on the airfield.

Oak Grove Airport

Established around 1962-63, Oak Grove Airport was built and operated by the aviation pioneer. In the early days, Oak Grove had several hangars, with a flight school, aircraft sales, maintenance, stores, and manager all crammed in a single building, but the airport expanded rapidly. By 1966, nicely renovated surplus barracks housed the flight school. A rotorcraft flight school, charter operation, and second helicopter operation soon joined other businesses on the field. Bell Helicopter sent customers' pilots from around the world to Oak Grove for FAA certification and additional ratings.

The airport hosted the National Aerobatic Championships from 1967-71, bringing out the giants of aerobatics and aviation, including Poncho Barnes, Allen Bean, Charlie Hillard, and Harold Krier. The Spinks Aircraft Industries building was built in 1968 specifically for the construction of the Spinks Acromaster, which placed 3rd in the 1970 World Aerobatic Championships.

In 1970, Pappy Spinks completed a terminal and administrative building along with additional hangars, including one dedicated to his aircraft collection. Oak Grove reportedly faded away after Pappy Spinks died. On May 28, 1989, a ceremony was held closing Oak Grove and activating Spinks Airport, adjacent to the west and named in his honor.

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“Pappy” Spinks