From The Depths Of The Heavens : United States V Causby, 1946
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From the Depths to the Heavens: United States v Causby, 1946
September 17, 2015
In 1934, a farmer named Thomas Lee Causby and his family bought a small farm eight miles west of Greensboro, North Carolina. They raised chickens on their three acre plot and made a living on the proceeds of the meat and eggs. A third of a mile away from Causby’s farm was an airfield. Linley Field, originally a pasture used by barnstormers, had opened in 1927. It was used as a mail stop and the home of the first passenger service in the Triad, until two near-crashes caused it to be ordered closed in 1935. Two years later, it reopened with two new paved, fixed runways —one of which pointed directly at the Causby’s farm. This meant that less than ten percent of the time, depending on the prevailing winds, the small single or double engine private planes using the airport would be taking off or landing right over the Causby’s heads. It could be noisy and distracting, but the planes were few and infrequent enough not to cause a great disturbance to the Causbys or their lives.
This changed in June 1, 1942. The US Army Air Corps assumed control of the airport, leasing its use for the duration of World War II. It became the Overseas Replacement Depot hub and a training site for fighter and bomber pilots. Use of the airport exploded: a near constant stream of the military’s largest and heaviest planes, bombers, and fighters were