A stepped-frequency continuous wave (SFCW) airborne ground penetrating radar (GPR) system was built using a vector network analyzer (VNA), an optical-to-electric ( mmb O/mmb E) converter, an electric-to-optical ( mmb E/mmb O) converter, and the resistively loaded planer dipole antennas. The resistively loaded antennas are based on the Altshuler discrete resistive loading approach. The distance from the loading point to the feeding point and the resistance has been optimized; in addition, a balun at the feeding point was introduced to convert the unbalanced signal from the coax to balanced signal. Test results show that the manufactured antennas have a wide bandwidth frequency range from 55 to 275 MHz. A laboratory experiment using the developed system was conducted in a building with high ceilings. The results registered all basic features including the ground, sub-ground surface, and the lamp hanging from the ceiling. Numerical modeling by finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method using two-dimensional (2-D) transverse electric (TE) verifies the presence of these registered features in the measured airborne data. A bedrock outcrop in ice sheet model is reconstructed based on a piece of real airborne GPR data, the modeling profile results show excellent consistent with the observed data. The capability of airborne GPR detection of subsurface features is clearly validated.