Karsner Air Field

Historical Marker #2374 in Monterey notes Owen County’s first airfield, which was started by Harry Clark Karsner following World War II.

Harry Clark Karsner had two passions: flying and sharing his faith. He was able to combine his enthusiasm for both of those things in a unique way.

Karsner was born in Owen County in 1914. After graduating from Monterey High School, Karsner received his pilot’s license. Then, in 1938, he completed training for his commercial pilot’s license. Karsner briefly taught aeronautics at Centre College, and then during World War II, Karsner used his skills by training other pilots as a flight instructor at Ryan’s School of Aeronautics in San Diego, California. In 1942, he was appointed the school’s flight commander.

Following World War II, Karsner returned to Owen County and built a four-plane hangar and airstrip on his farm land. He taught those who wanted to learn how to fly and soon Karsner was using his planes to minister to thousands. He took to the air with recorded sermons and projected them through speakers from his “Gospel Plane.” Flying over Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, Karsner used his own money and time to share his religious beliefs. Karsner’s wife, Sarah Jane, provided her voice and organ skills to the recordings as well.

In 1959, Karsner was appointed by Governor Albert Chandler as the state’s commissioner of aeronautics. He also held a number of local political positions such as magistrate and chairman of the Owen County Board of Education. Karsner continued his twin loves of flying and sharing his faith until his death in 1971 at age 57.

Images

Flight Instructor

Flight Instructor

During World War II, Clark Karsner served as a flight instructor in San Diego. This photograph shows a flight instructor with students in Fort Worth, Texas, during the war years. Courtesy of the Library of Congress View File Details Page

Kentucky River

Kentucky River

Karsner Air Field was located near Monterey and the Kentucky River. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Man and woman standing near small airplane

Man and woman standing near small airplane

During aviation™s infancy most airfields were unpaved, sod-based landing strips. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Centre College

Centre College

Karsner was a professor of aeronautics at Centre College in 1940. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tim Talbott, “Karsner Air Field,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed March 29, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/714.

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