Greater Southwest International Airport

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Greater Southwest International Airport
IATA: GSWICAO: KGSWFAA LID: GSW
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner Abandoned
Operator Allied Fueling Company
Location Fort Worth, Texas
Elevation AMSL 568 ft / 173 m
Coordinates 32°49′53″N 097°02′57″W / 32.83139°N 97.04917°W / 32.83139; -97.04917
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 8,460 2,579 Concrete
13/31 6,400 1,951 Concrete

Greater Southwest International Airport (IATA: GSWICAO: KGSW), originally Amon Carter Field, was the commercial airport serving Fort Worth, Texas, from 1953 until 1974. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) opened in 1974 a few miles north of the airport to replace both Greater Southwest and Dallas Love Field as the single main airport for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (though Love Field survives). The area is now a commercial/light-industrial park serving DFW International, centered along Amon Carter Boulevard, which was originally constructed from the old airport's north-south runway.

Early history[edit]

As far back as 1927 the cities of Fort Worth and Dallas had proposed a regional airport that would serve the entire metropolitan area. Initial plans did not come to fruition, and after World War II, Fort Worth decided to move the primary airline traffic from Meacham Field to a new facility, Amon Carter Field (airport code "ACF"). Fort Worth annexed a finger of land to the east, extending the city limits to encompass the new site.[1]

American, Braniff, Central, Continental, Delta, Eastern, Frontier, and Trans-Texas Airways operated from the airport, which had three paved runways and a rather elaborate terminal building (including gold-plated murals). The airport never reached capacity and saw its traffic dwindle while traffic at nearby Love Field in Dallas continued to grow.

The April 1957 OAG shows 97 scheduled departures a day Tuesday to Thursday, more than half to Dallas. American Airlines had 30, Braniff 22, Trans-Texas 19, Continental 13, Delta 7, and Central 6.

On December 20, 1959, jet service began with American Airlines Boeing 707 flights to Los Angeles. Delta Air Lines later started Convair 880 jet nonstops to Los Angeles and New Orleans.

In 1960, the airport was renamed Greater Southwest International Airport (airport code "GSW") in a failed attempt to attract passengers.[2] In the same year the city of Fort Worth purchased the airport.

By 1967, Braniff was operating British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven twin jets as well as Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprops while Continental was flying Douglas DC-9 jets and Vickers Viscount turboprops into the airport according to these airline's system timetables at the time. American and Eastern also operated Boeing 727 jetliners from the airfield according to their respective system timetables.

Decline and closure[edit]

In 1964, the Federal Aviation Administration, tired of funding separate airports for Dallas and Fort Worth, announced that it would no longer support both.[3] The Civil Aeronautics Board ordered the two cities to finally come up with a plan for a regional airport,[4][5] and in 1965 a parcel of land north of Greater Southwest was selected for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.[6] As traffic boomed at Dallas-Love Field it slumped at Fort Worth as most carriers tried to pull out;[7] the last one left around the end of 1968. When Dallas-Fort Worth International opened in 1974, the FAA closed the runways at Greater Southwest as a safety precaution.

After closure[edit]

On May 30, 1972, Delta Air Lines Flight 9570 crashed at Greater Southwest International Airport while performing "touch and go" training landings.[8] The National Transportation Safety Board determined that wake turbulence from another training flight, an American Airlines DC-10, had caused the Delta DC-9 to lose control as it neared touchdown. As this was a training flight, only four people were aboard the flight 9570 at the time of the crash: three crew and an FAA operations inspector. All were killed.[9][10]

Following the closure of the airport, Runway 17/35 became Amon Carter Boulevard for several years before it was torn up and replaced with an actual street. As of 2014 a small section of the taxiway and run-up area of Runway 17 still exists on the north side of State Highway 183. American Airlines expanded its headquarters to new buildings on the airport site during the 1980s and 1990s (the airline's former hangar had remained in use as a reservations center for several years before it was demolished). The airport's IATA airport code, GSW, is still in use by the American Airlines Flight Academy, which sits across State Highway 360 from the airport site.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "North Texas' prime engine". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. December 1, 1996. p. E1. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ Cooper, William (May 10, 1992). "Love Field controversy should now be shelved forever". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  3. ^ Hornes, George (August 3, 1964). "Airport Dispute Seethes In Texas; Dallas and Fort Worth Fight Takes on New Urgency". The New York Times. p. 44. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ "CAB Asks Fort Worth And Dallas to Pick One Airport to Serve Both". The Wall Street Journal. October 1, 1964. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Dallas Love Field: Prepared For Takeoff?". Dallas Morning News. June 7, 1998. Retrieved March 30, 2010. "The 1968 bond ordinance included provisions that Fort Worth and Dallas would each close its local airport." 
  6. ^ "Two Cities Agree on Site for a Regional Airport". The New York Times. October 24, 1965. p. F13. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Braniff to Stay at Fort Worth". The Wall Street Journal. September 9, 1968. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Jet flips on landing, 4 die in fiery crash". Wilmington, NC: Star-News. United Press International. May 31, 1972. p. 10. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  9. ^ "NTSB Aircraft Accident Report". National Transportation Safety Board. March 13, 1973. Retrieved February 25, 2007. 
  10. ^ Job, Macarthur (1994). Air Disaster, Volume 1. Fyshwick, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. pp. 79–87. ISBN 1-875671-11-0. 

External links[edit]