These are Downriver's gone, but not forgotten airports.
Hance Airfield was located off Eureka Road, between Trenton and present-day Richmond Street, in Ecorse Township (current-day Southgate).
Very little concrete information exists about the specific uses of the facility, but its earlier operations were likely akin to a smaller version of today's Grosse Ile Municipal Airport, although - as in the former Grosse Ile Naval Academy - Hance was likely as well prepared for wartime purposes.
The Hance facility was initially described as having three unpaved runways with a ramp on the north side.
A subsequent directory was much clearer in its description: it profiled the airfield as a 160 acre square-shaped property, having three clay, loam, and sod runways: two of them were 2,600', the largest being the 3,300' northeast-southwest strip. There were no concrete or asphalt runways, perhaps either due to the type of aircraft used or in recognition of maintaining low noise levels in the surrounding area.
The field contained two aircraft hangars - the largest being a 177' x 30' wood structure - and the field was described as being operated by private interests.
Sources are unsure as to Hance's exact opening year, and the same uncertainty exists with regards to its closing year or reason for doing so. Some reports point to the facility being deactivated around 1955-56, although the closing may have been a few years earlier. The neighborhood directly surrounding it was mostly developed by the mid-1950s, and by the opening of the Eureka Road McDonald's Drive-In about 1962, all remaining vestiges of Hance Airfield had been reserved for the history books.
From the 1930s until the early 1960s an airport was located in Flat Rock. The grass airfield was known as Nan-Bar Airport, named for the owner's two daughters, Nancy and Barbara. During World War II, Nan-Bar Airport served as an accessory airfield for the Grosse Ile Naval Air Station. Navy pilots used the airfield for short field landing instruction, as well as for emergency landings.