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16A Polk County Itemizer-Observer • July 15, 2015
Polk County Education
Planes to fly again at Card’s Airpark on Saturday
Remote-control crafts first to take off from location since 1993 in rededication ceremony
By Jolene Guzman
DALLAS — Joe Card Jr. loved fly-
He took a thrilling plane ride
with famous “barnstormer” and
stunt pilot Tex Rankin in 1937.
Card saved money for a year to
begin flying lessons at Salem Air-
port, learning a half-hour at a time
until he earned his pilot’s license.
In 1940, Card and a few others
who were infected with the “flying
bug” started the Dallas Flying Club.
They built an airstrip and hangar,
and purchased a plane to share.
But soon after the club launched,
the nation was at war and all non-
military planes within 90 miles of
all coastlines were grounded.
Card, then married to his wife,
Betty, began training to become a
flight instructor for the U.S. Navy.
“At that time, the United States
didn’t have a lot of trained pilots,”
said Diane Weaver, one of Joe and
Betty’s daughters. “It was a big deal
to already be able to teach people
Card had plans for after World
War II and, of course, they includ-
“Once the war was over, he
wanted to build an airport,” Weav-
er said. “He just loved flying.”
In 1946, the Card family pur-
chased 50 acres of land for what
would become Card’s Airpark. Joe
and Betty and a small crew built the
hangar by hand. It would serve the
airpark until it closed in 1993, two
years after Joe died.
Since then, most of the land was
sold and is now occupied by Dallas
Retirement Village, Safeway, Good-
will and residential homes. All that
remains is a small strip of land and
the hangar, recently restored by
Weaver and her sister Bette Jo Law-
son, at the bottom of the hill on
Orchard Drive in Dallas.
“My sister and I didn’t want to
let the building go,” Weaver said. “I
think it looks pretty good now. It
has all new siding and some of the
trusses were rebuilt.”
They added a sign reading
“Card’s Airpark: In loving memory
of Joe and Betty Card.”
Saturday at 10 a.m. Dallas re-
JOLENE GUZMAN/ Itemizer-Observer
For many in Dallas at the time,
Card’s Airpark went by another
name: the Dallas Airport.
Photo courtesy of Diane Weaver
Joe and Betty Card owned and operated Card’s Airpark in Dallas for nearly 50 years, opening it in 1946.
Saturday morning, what is left of the airpark will be rededicated by the Dallas Wingdingers RC Club.
Photo courtesy of Diane Weaver
JOLENE GUZMAN / Itemizer-Observer
The Card’s Airpark in its heyday also had a automotive shop, which helped support the airpark. Today,
the hangar is like brand new after a multiple-year restoration by Diane Weaver and Bette Jo Lawson.
mote control plane group Dallas
Wingdingers RC Club will rededi-
cate what remains of the airpark,
located at the corner of Orchard
Drive and Card Avenue. The event
will include the first take off of a
plane — albeit remote control —
from the airpark in years.
Weaver said talk of a rededica-
tion began after a club member
asked her if she had any plane arti-
facts from the time the airpark was
She didn’t have much, but she did
have an unfinished model airplane
she wanted to have completed.
Club members took on the task,
finishing the plane and painting
“Wing Walking with Betty” across
the wingspan in honor of Weaver’s
mother, who wrote a column of
the same name for the Polk County
Itemizer-Observer when the airpark
was still open.
Weaver and Lawson have fond
memories of the airpark’s heyday.
“My sister Bette Jo and I grew up
walking around the airplanes and
playing in the crashed airplanes,”
There were a number of crashes
at the airpark, but fortunately
none that Weaver can remember
resulted in major injuries.
“There was always something to
talk about at school because there
was always something special that
happened, a plane crash or a big,
huge plane (landing at the air-
park),” Weaver said.
She said the airpark was used for
fly-in events, circuses, drag racing,
and even a race track was built on
site. Weaver said that track was re-
portedly the “fastest modified
hard-top track in the Northwest.”
“He (Joe) wanted it to be like a
family affair. We had picnic tables
all over,” Weaver said. “There was
always a lot of activity.”
For Lawson and Weaver, Satur-
day’s rededication will honor the
years of effort their parents put into
maintaining the airpark in Dallas.
“It was pretty emotional for my
mom to close it because it had
meant so much to my dad — and
her — but especially my dad,”
Weaver said. “It was very traumatic
for me when we closed it because
it had been a daily part of my life.
… I think it’s real special.”