The History of the Aerodrome

The Triple Tree Aerodrome was originally part of the Kings Land Grant. The land was “Granted” to revolutionary war solider Captain Benjamin Kilgore who was among the early settlers of upper South Carolina.  Captain Kilgore's Grandson, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Kilgore completed Medical College in Charleston in 1840 and returned to Greenville in 1846.  Upon his return, he purchased this farm land on the Enoree River.

Dr. Kilgore was closely identified with the interests of the area, serving as commissioner of roads, and was elected twice (1854 and 1858) as a representative from Spartanburg to the State legislature.

In 1860, Dr. Kilgore was elected a delegate to the convention of South Carolina which declared the ordinance of secession

This land was discovered by a team of Volunteers in the late 1990s and purchased by Pat Hartness to develop a flying field due to the increasing popularity of the annual Joe Nall event in Greenville, SC.  This land would become the Triple Tree Aerodrome.

Becoming a World Class Destination

Our founder, Pat Hartness, assisted by a team of associates and volunteers, sculpted the Triple Tree Aerodrome from a bare field and changed it into a first-class aviation facility. Ground-breaking began in 2000 when the lake and a 7000 foot grass runway were first created. In the ensuing years, a hangar, workshop, 1940’s tower, multiple gazebos, shower facilities, campsites, hiking trails, helicopter sites and more have been added. Most recently, we added a lower bathhouse facility which included many upgrades including granite countertops.

Throughout the years, as needs were encountered, Pat and the team have seen to it that those needs were met. The attention to detail is what sets Triple Tree apart from other facilities.

In 2004, Mr. Pat has given all of us the gift of Triple Tree by donating to the 501(c)3 Triple Tree Aerodrome.  The goal of this donation is to keep Triple Tree sustainable for generations to come. Triple Tree has grown into a local event held at the Hartness Field into an internationally recognized brand with hosts many of the largest Radio Controlled and Full Scale events in the world!

The Future Vision

The mission of Triple Tree has been clearly stated; it is “To Ignite and Expand the Passion for Aviation”.

The wording of this mission statement was intentionally developed as a metaphor that relates to an internal combustion (IC) engine. Engines take energy and ignition and usefully expands the energy in such a way that it drives something forward. Its so powerful; it moves us and our useful machines to another place. The engine and its fuel, thru ignition and expansion can make unbelievable things happen. Past, present and future generations have and will enjoy the tremendous advantage that these machines provide.

Presently, we can look forward to our “engine” running in a more efficient manner with the hiring of our first Executive Director in 2018.   To truly capitalize on the Triple Tree energy, we are going to need to continually “Expand the Passion for Aviation”.  This is done through our Aviation Centered Education (ACE) portfolio.  Our ACE Portfolio is the most unique learning platform in the United States.  Our Portfolio offers multiple entry points for any educational level from the young to the young at heart! 

There is not limit to the educational opportunities at Triple Tree. With your continued support of our events we can continue to add fuel to our engine to keep Triple Tree running for generations to come!