Dr. Frank Bell
The history of flight in Billings began late into the year of 1912, with local dentist, Dr. Frank Bell, and his Curtiss 0-X-5. The first flight took place the following Memorial Day weekend in 1913. With much publicity and fanfare, Dr. Bell took off from Billings flying to Park City and back, a round trip distance of 40 miles. This historic flight was captured by local artist J.K. Ralston in his painting titled First Flight, which is displayed in the lobby of the Billings Logan International Airport. These flying machines used a number of open fields and pastures in the Yellowstone Valley near Billings to land and take off.
By 1927, people began to realize that the community needed some place for these airplanes to land on a regular basis. $5,000 was raised by the Billings City Council to establish an airport on top of the Rimrocks overlooking the Yellowstone Valley and the Billings area. Using horse drawn equipment, 1,820 feet of unpaved runway was constructed and a small administrative building (192 square feet) was erected.
On May 29, 1928, the Billings Municipal Airport was officially opened. Dick Logan was named the first Airport Manager and served in that capacity until 1957. After Dick Logan's death in 1957, the Airport was renamed to Billings Logan Field, to honor his years of service and dedication to the early Airport. The Airport was renamed again in 1971, to its present name, Billings Logan International Airport.
With an airport established, air service entered the Billings market shortly thereafter. Northwest Airlines brought air service to Billings in 1933. Inland Airlines began passenger service in 1934. All this activity prompted a new Terminal Building to be opened and a new road (North 27th Street) to downtown Billings to be blasted across the face of the Rimrocks.
In 1958, 1972, and 1992, major Terminal expansions were made to accommodate the growing demands of the flying public.The growth at Billings Logan Field during the last seven decades has mirrored the growth of the community we serve. From the installation of the first field lights in 1935 to the 2005 FAA Tower construction, many millions of dollars have been expended to ensure that Billings Logan International Airport keeps pace with industry changes and is able to provide for the current and future air service needs of our region.