Tradewinds is for the planes


To the Editor:

My name is Joseph A. Costa. I am a licensed pilot. I received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. I have over 4,361 flying hours. I worked for the Steamship Authority for 45 years, the last 25 to 35 years years as a purser. I have flown out of Tradewinds airport for over 50 years and it was never a dog park, it was an airport. I worked for the Land Bank for several years, to mow the field, fix fences, fix hangar doors, an all-around handyman. I had a 1945 Cessna 150 airplane I kept in the hangar. It was nice until the dog people came on the property.

I have had dogs all my life and loved every one of them, but now come the people; some are not so nice. I asked a man if he could not have the dog poop on the taxiway. Well, the next day, there was about 14 or 15 dog poops where I needed to taxi out to the runway. I have wheel pants on my airplane, and if anything gets in the brakes it could make a brake lock up and cause an accident. Where are the State Police? Oak Bluffs Police? I had one chief in Oak Bluffs say, “We don’t want to be bothered with you and the Tradewinds” airport.

The last time I landed on the field, the other pilot said, “Stop!” and in the middle of the runway was a 10-foot steel pole upright in the middle of the runway. Now that could kill someone. Why, you ask? That’s what I would like to know. I had to stop my engine three times because a dog was running to my plane and it could shock/cool the engine. That is NOT good for my engine. Now that they have a fence around the field to keep the dog people out, it will be safer for the planes to land on the airport. That’s what I said, airport. If you look on any map, you will see Tradewinds airport. I also had 83 permits for pilots to land at Tradewinds to play golf, eat, and to go into town. I had tie-downs for the planes also. They stopped coming because of the dogs and people on the runway.


Joseph A. Costa

Vineyard Haven


  1. To call it an airport is misleading. Although 87 people held permits to land in 2001 (17 years ago) only 6 held them last year. Yesterday, at a Land Bank meeting, even a Land Bank commissioner admitted it is rare that a plane lands at TW because of fog in Katama. The past year, (pre-fence) users self policed themselves and the place looks better than ever.

  2. Dear Mr. Pilot,

    Isn’t it nice to have the home owners on the Vineyard pay to purchase you an airfield where you and your 82 other cronies can land your planes to go play golf, go into town, and have lunch. It is very nice that the home owners also pay to maintain the airfield for you and 82 other people fortunate enough to own their own airplanes.

    I can see how awful you must think those nasty dog owners are that actually want to use Land Bank properties that their home purchases paid for. Oh how entitled those nasty dog owner are to think they should be able to use some of that acerage for their enjoyment.

    By the way, how much do the airplane owners pay in airport landing fees and tie down fees at Tradewind?

    Lisa Holley
    One of the home owners who had to pay into the Land Bank in the past 10 years. Oh and also a dog owner who used to enjoy Tradewind.

  3. Mr. Pilot’s letter sounds like a lot of malarkey, the ramblings of a guy in his late 80s who yearns for the good old days when he could fly his antique Cessna on a whim.

  4. This Tradewinds users seem to think that because they use a property a certain way that they are entitled to use it how they want and when they want. They’re type of use doesn’t trump other uses and just because it used to be one way(no fence) doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. It’s time for the dog owners to grow up accept the situation and move on.

  5. Coordinates: N41°26.51′ / W70°34.22′
    Located 01 miles SW of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts on 72 acres of land.
    Estimated Elevation is 43 feet MSL.
    Traffic Pattern Altitude: 957 AGL (1000 MSL)
    Magnetic Variation from 1985 is 16° West
    Airport Use: Private Use
    Activation Date: April 1940
    Love it or hate it, Trade Wind is an airfield. And for the comment…”rare that a plane lands at TW because of fog in Katama”, I’ve landed there because of fog at KMVY and 1B2 was socked in. And I ask: Who is keeping count? It’s UNMANNED! Yes, it’s not used much, but it is used and has saved lives, and there are active aircraft in the hangar! True, there’s no landing fee, which for that type of field there should never be. And for the Old And In The Way flyer? Yes he does long for younger days, but who can blame him, but he speaks the truth. I’ve had sticks thrown at me (“…was for my dog to fetch!”), and hounds run up anxious to become pugs! I hate the fence, and think it’s just… awful. But just because someone walks across your yard doesn’t mean it’s now their yard. And so here we are. Respect goes both ways. And please- be responsible with your pooches. I’ve had dogs all my life, and never let them leave presents in other peoples drive ways. Why would you let your dog do that on ours?

  6. Much has changed since the writers days of landing at and policing Tradewinds. It’s utilization is primarily walkers, joggers and bikers alike all who are negatively impacted by the fence. The writer and self proclaimed dog lover has much to do with walkers changing their route when mothballs were used by him to deter dogs from walking near the hangar. If you ask people to change their walking habits by threat of poisoning their beloved pets I guess it works faster than a fence because that is what everyone did. Much of what the Land Bank had issue with YEARS later was this new route that was a direct result of the writers threat to animals.

  7. Dog owners blaming pilots and the Land Bank because the dog owners refused to follow the rules. Ban dogs from Trade Winds Preserve. Let your dog use the yard or a cat litter pan inside.

  8. Funny, no mention of Mr. Costa’s former/current role as Trade Winds air field manager. Wouldn’t an honest discussion have included that?

  9. Trade Wind Airport, identifier code MA44 (Not “Tradewinds” and not a dog park). Father Nagel is the current manager. Talk of poison is ludicrous. Just because one has an airplane does not make them ‘rich’. Got a Grady White? Most of our planes cost about the same, but takes continuous eduction, dedication and sacrifice for the privilege. A bunch of us landed there last year and were brow beaten by dog walkers, insulted and berated. Lovely introduction to islanders with unwelcome arms. Keep in mind they were running across AN AIRPARK in an attempt to keep aircraft from landing! It’s an airport! It’s where airplanes land and take off. (And the “WTF” signs don’t bode well on those posting them)

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