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Norfolk Regional Airport
Karl Stefan Memorial Field
Karl Stefan Airport E View1.JPG
Former terminal building
Airport type Public
Owner City of Norfolk
Serves Norfolk, Nebraska
Elevation AMSL 1,573 ft / 479 m
Coordinates 41°59′08″N 097°26′06″W / 41.98556°N 97.43500°W / 41.98556; -97.43500Coordinates: 41°59′08″N 097°26′06″W / 41.98556°N 97.43500°W / 41.98556; -97.43500
OFK is located in Nebraska
Location in Nebraska
Direction Length Surface
ft m
1/19 5,800 1,768 Asphalt
14/32 5,800 1,768 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations 26,934
Based aircraft 42
Need to update the infobox
Built 1934 (1934)
NRHP reference # 04000557[2]
Added to NRHP June 2, 2004

Norfolk Regional Airport, formerly Karl Stefan Memorial Airport,


Powered heavier-than-air flight first arrived in Norfolk in 1912, when a group of barnstormers landed on the fairway of the Norfolk Country Club. Airplanes briefly found a base in the city after World War I, when Lt. Don Mapes and Lt. C. Millard South returned from the war and established an airdrome; the two barnstormed the area around Norfolk in a surplus Curtiss "Jenny".[3]

Aviation was established more permanently in Norfolk with the arrival of Wisner native Andy Risser in 1928. Risser established a flying school southeast of town, with a sod field and two wood-and-sheet-metal hangars. In the school's first year, 37 students took solo flights. In 1934, Risser moved his operation to a 160-acre leased parcel south of Norfolk, at the north end of the present-day airport.[3][4]

From 1935 to 1939, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration provided funds for the development of the Norfolk airfield.[5]

World War II[edit]

The threat of war, and the subsequent outbreak of World War II in Europe, prompted the U.S. government to launch a number of programs directed at pilot training and airport development. The Civilian Pilot Training Program, launched in 1939, offered ground school and flight training through local educational institutions; its goal was to produce 20,000 pilots per year. The program began operation in Norfolk in 1941.[6][7][8]

Other federal programs provided funds for the development of airports. Under the Development of Landing Areas for National Defense (DLAND) and the Development of Civil Landing Areas (DCLA) programs, a local sponsor would provide the land for an airport, and the federal government would provide funds for construction.[9]

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) urged Norfolk to apply for airport-development funds, as a national-defense measure. In 1942, the city's voters overwhelmingly approved a $30,000 bond measure for land acquisition; this rendered the Norfolk airport project eligible for federal funds expected to amount to $400,000, and provided 200 WPA workmen job security for the remainder of the year.[10][11]

Federal funds were approved for the Norfolk airport, which was to serve as an auxiliary field for several war-related airports, including the Sioux City Air Field. CAA expenditures on the project eventually amounted to $760,000. Development included the construction of two runways, each over a mile (1.6 km) long and 150 feet (46 m) wide; two miles (3 km) of taxiways; and hangars.[3][5][12]

The airport was dedicated in October 1944, with a program including an address by George W. Burgess, assistant to the assistant Secretary of Commerce, and overflights by a number of military aircraft. In the course of the event, a P-47 Thunderbolt struck telephone wires and crashed; the pilot survived.[12]


At Stefan's behest, federal funding for airport continued after WWII; money appropriated for terminal building and weather station. Nebraska kicked in $25,000; terminal bldg completed 1946.[13] US Weather Bureau opened office in terminal bldg 1946.[14]

$45,000 for construction of admin bldg came from state aeronautics commission.[10]

Winter of 1948–49: snowstorms struck beginning Nov. 18, as of April some places still isolated. Beginning in January, US Fifth Army and Nebraska Nat'l Guard undertook "Operation Snowbound". Sufficient snow to cause snowplow breakdowns. Roads cleared with bulldozers; hay air-dropped to cattle. Fifty-six human fatalities, ca. half a million cattle dead.[15] Food and supplies air-dropped to people.[14] Stats, including dates and numbers.[16] Ski-equipped planes and helicopters out of Norfolk.[3] More at Dalstrom (2010). Look for more in Daily News.

As of 1950, two flights per day northbound, reaching Huron, SD; and two to Omaha. Midwest Airlines (based in Des Moines).[10]

Renamed Karl Stefan Memorial Airport in 1955. Dedication ceremony September 29, 1955, attended by General Alfred Gruenther.[17]

Several local flying services operated out of.[14]

Commercial passenger flights began Nov. 28, 1949, with Midwest Airlines. Two northbound and two southbound flights per day, running Omaha-Norfolk-Huron SD.[18] Later airlines included Prairie, North Central, Frontier, Braniff, AAA, Mid-Continent, United Express.[14][3]

1971: 3,500 passengers. Increased into late 1980s; then fell to 103/month by 1998.[14]


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for OFK (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "First Airplane Flies to Norfolk in '12". Norfolk Daily News. July 9, 1966. p. 62.
  4. ^ Schmeckpeper (2015), pp. 37–38.
  5. ^ a b Ebeling and Slattery (2001), section 8, p. 2.
  6. ^ Kraus, Theresa L. "The CAA Helps America Prepare for World War II". Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  7. ^ Guillemette, Roger. "Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP)". U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "8 CPTP Students Take Tests Here". Norfolk Daily News. November 19, 1941. p. 2.
  9. ^ "Chapter 8: Exclusive Rights". FAA Airport Compliance Manual - Order 5190.6B. p. 8-2. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Airport Is Valuable Asset to Community". Norfolk Daily News. June 9, 1950. p. 1.
  11. ^ "Airport Bonds Carry By 8-to-1 Margin; Carter Is Elected; Thompson Loses". Norfolk Daily News. April 8, 1942. p. 1.
  12. ^ a b "20,000 to 25,000 Attend Dedication Of Airport; Speaker Praises Norfolk". Norfolk Daily News. October 23, 1944. p. 1.
  13. ^ Schmeckpeper (2015), p. 38.
  14. ^ a b c d e Schmeckpeper (2015), p. 39.
  15. ^ Koelling, Jill Marie (2000). "Editor's Showcase: The Blizzard of the Century". Nebraska History, vol. 81, p. 185. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  16. ^ "Snowbound—The Blizzards of 1948-49". Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  17. ^ "Stefan Memorial Is Dedicated by Gen. Gruenther". Norfolk Daily News. September 30, 1955. p. 1.
  18. ^ "Norfolk Is Now Officially On Airline Route". Norfolk Daily News. November 28, 1949. p. 1.

Cite error: A list-defined reference named "n150-37" is not used in the content (see the help page).


Dalstrom, Harl A. (2010). "'I'm Never Going To Be Snowbound Again": The Winter of 1948–1949 in Nebraska". Nebraska History, vol. 82, pp. 110–66. Retrieved February 8, 2016.

Ebeling, Mary R., and Christina Slattery (2001). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Karl Stefan Memorial Airport Administration Building". Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved January 9, 2016.

Schmeckpeper, Sheryl (2015). Norfolk, Nebraska: The First 150 Years. Norfolk, Nebraska: Pepermill Press.

Old lead[edit]

Norfolk Regional Airport (IATA: OFK, ICAO: KOFK, FAA LID: OFK) (Karl Stefan Memorial Field) is four miles southwest of Norfolk, in Madison County, Nebraska.[1] The airport is named for Karl Stefan, a local newspaper editor and radio announcer who served several terms in the United States Congress. Until March 2011 it was known as Karl Stefan Memorial Airport.[2] The FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a general aviation facility.

The airport has been served by commercial airlines. Service was subsidized by the Essential Air Service program until May 2004,[3][4] when it ended due to federal law not allowing a subsidy over $200 per passenger for communities within 210 miles of the nearest large or medium hub airport (Eppley Airfield, a medium hub serving Omaha, Nebraska).[5] Federal Aviation Administration records say Norfolk had 1,709 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2001, 1,139 enplanments in 2002,[6] 1,254 in 2003, and 672 in 2004.[7]


Norfolk Regional Airport covers 926 acres (375 ha) at an elevation of 1,573 feet (479 m). It has two asphalt runways, 1/19 and 14/32, each 5,800 by 100 feet (1,768 x 30 m).[1]

In the year ending August 5, 2010 the airport had 26,934 aircraft operations, average 73 per day: 89% general aviation, 11% air taxi, and <1% military. 42 aircraft were then based at this airport: 76% single-engine, 7% multi-engine, 2% jet, 2% helicopter, and 12% ultralight.[1]

Old references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference FAA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "Norfolk airport adding 'regional' to its name". Sioux City Journal. March 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Essential Air Service Communities Eliminated from Subsidy-Eligibility". Office of Aviation Analysis, U.S. Department of Transportation. July 2010. Norfolk, NE, by Order 2004-5-15, effective May 25, 2004 
  4. ^ "Order 2004-5-15". U.S. Department of Transportation. May 20, 2004. 
  5. ^ "Order 2003-6-25". U.S. Department of Transportation. June 19, 2003. 
  6. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2002" (PDF). CY 2002 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. November 6, 2003.  External link in |work= (help)
  7. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2004" (PDF). CY 2004 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. November 8, 2005.  External link in |work= (help)

Other sources[edit]

  • Essential Air Service documents (Docket OST-1998-3704) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
    • Ninety-day Notice (April 1, 1998) of Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to terminate service at Norfolk, Nebraska.
    • Order 98-5-19 (May 12, 1998): prohibits Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., d/b/a United Express, from suspending service at Fairmont, Minnesota, Norfolk, Nebraska, and Yankton, South Dakota, at the end of its 90-day notice period, and requires it to maintain service through July 24, 1998; requests proposals from interested carriers to provide replacement service.
    • Order 99-4-7 (April 12, 1999): approves Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., d/b/a United Express's proposed alternate service pattern, by changing the hub to which service is subsidized for Norfolk, Nebraska, and Yankton, South Dakota, from Minneapolis to Denver. The order also selects Great Lakes to provide subsidized service at Fairmont, Minnesota, Brookings and Yankton, South Dakota, Devils Lake and Jamestown, North Dakota, and Norfolk, Nebraska, for a new two-year rate period at a total combined subsidy rate of $3,915,196 a year, effective on the date the carrier inaugurates the level of service described in Appendix B to this order, through April 30, 2001.
    • Order 2002-5-22 (May 24, 2002): tentatively reselects Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at North Platte and Norfolk, Nebraska, for the period from December 1, 2001, through November 30, 2003.
    • Order 2003-6-25 (June 19, 2003): tentatively terminates the subsidy eligibility of Norfolk, Nebraska, under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program because the subsidy per passenger exceeds the $200 per passenger statutory ceiling and the community is less than 210 highway miles from the medium hub airport at Omaha.
    • Order 2004-5-15 (May 20, 2004): selects Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd., to provide essential air service with subsidy support at Grand Island, Kearney, McCook, North Platte, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska, for two years at a total annual subsidy of $5,233,287. Also, makes final the termination of the eligibility of Norfolk, Nebraska, to receive subsidized essential air service proposed in Order 2003-6-25.

External links[edit]