Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs About the History
of Venice Municipal Airport (VNC)
What is the history of aviation in Venice, Florida?
The first recorded flight to Venice delivered fresh strawberries to Hotel Venice on January 13,
1927. That aircraft landed on Nassau Street.
Dr. Fred Albee, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, was a pilot who recognized the value of a
community airport. He donated land, near the current sites of Venice High School and Venice
Avenue Bridge, where the Civil Aeronautics Authority and the Works Progress Administration
constructed markers for the sod runways in January 1936.
Later in the year, the Fred Albee Municipal Airport was dedicated with much fanfare. Albee
purchased a five‐passenger aircraft and hired his nephew, a pilot, to fly his patients to his
private orthopedic hospital in Venice known as Florida Medical Center. A hangar, offices, flight
training school and repair shop were completed at the grass airfield in 1939.
In 1942, O.W. Caspersen donated 1,600 acres on the south side of the city where the United
States Army built the Venice Army Air Base. The base was fully operational by 1943. At its peak,
it housed 6,000 airmen who learned to fly P‐39s, P‐40s, P‐47s and P‐51 Mustangs. In all, about
20,000 pilots, including some Chinese‐American pilots, learned to fly for the war effort in
Aviation played a vital role in the development and economy of the city after the Florida land
boom of the 1920s, during World War II, and throughout the years that followed.
With the war over, the city was granted a license to operate the airport on May 20, 1946. On
June 10, 1947, ownership of the airport was transferred by quit claim deed from the United
States of America to the City of Venice under provisions of the Surplus Property Act of 1944.
Many of the pilots who trained at the base later returned to Venice, where they became
residents, business owners and civic leaders. The Army Air Base leaves a legacy beyond today's
airport boundaries. Besides providing the land and much of the infrastructure that is still in use
today, the airport was the founding home of the Venice Little Theater (today known as Venice
Theatre) in 1950. It operated there until 1972 when it relocated to its current downtown
location. Hill and Hill Plumbing also got its start on airport property and is still in business today.
The former VAAB chapel building was relocated to become the first building to serve as
Epiphany Cathedral. The Triangle Inn accommodated many servicemen and their wives when it
was operated as a bed and breakfast.
What types of activities occur at Venice Municipal Airport (VNC)?
VNC is a general aviation airport. General aviation includes all types of civilian aeronautical
activities, except for scheduled airline service. VNC does not intend to offer scheduled airline
service or large scale cargo service at any point in the future. Examples of general aviation
include: privately owned aircraft, business/corporate aviation, charter operataions, flight
training, sightseeing, aircraft repair, medical evacuation/transportation, law enforcement, fire,
and search and rescue operations. Twelve aviation businesses currently operate from VNC,
including Agape Flights, a nonprofit Christian aviation ministry that provides critical supplies to
more than 300 missionary families in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Learn
more about general aviation at GA Serves America.
How much traffic does VNC have?
About 200 aircraft are based at VNC. There are about 60,000 annual takeoffs and landings, as
calculated by the airport's traffic counting system that includes sophisticated cameras located
along each runway.