Eastern Sierra Regional Airport
|Eastern Sierra Regional Airport
Bishop Army Airfield
|USGS aerial photo as of 2006|
|IATA: BIH – ICAO: KBIH – FAA LID: BIH
– WMO: 72480
|Owner||City of Los Angeles
Department of Public Works
|Location||Inyo County, east of Bishop|
|Elevation AMSL||4,124 ft / 1,257 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Eastern Sierra Regional Airport (IATA: BIH, ICAO: KBIH, FAA LID: BIH) is two miles east of Bishop, in Inyo County, California. It is owned by the City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works and operated by Inyo County.
The airport covers 830 acres (340 ha) at an elevation of 4,124 ft (1,257 m). It has three asphalt runways: 7/25 is 5,566 by 100 ft (1,697 by 30 m); 12/30 is 7,498 by 100 ft (2,285 by 30 m); 16/34 is 5,600 by 100 ft (1,707 by 30 m). It has two helipads: H1 is 40 by 40 ft (12 by 12 m) and H2 is 100 by 100 ft (30 by 30 m).
In the year ending October 23, 2006 the airport had 26,000 aircraft operations, average 71 per day: 88% general aviation and 12% military. 64 aircraft were then based at the airport: 81% single-engine, 13% multi-engine, 2% jet and 5% glider.
The airfield opened in April 1940 on 897.22 acres (363.09 ha) subleased from Inyo County. During World War II it was known as Bishop Army Airfield and was a sub-base to Muroc Army Airfield in 1942 and 1943 for Fourth Air Force. The site was used for aircraft flight and ordnance delivery training. In 1943 it was reassigned to Tonopah Army Airfield, Nevada. Aircraft maintenance was also done, and ordnance storage.
After the end of World War II, Bishop AAF was turned over to Air Technical Service Command as a storage airfield. On 2 May 1949, Army cancelled its initial lease of 897.22 acres (363.09 ha) with Inyo County for Bishop Airport under the War Assets Administration's Peacetime Reduction Mission, and the base was declared excess to requirements and returned to civil control.
The USAF subleased from Inyo County runway use rights and a heliport area of 4.76 acres (1.93 ha) known as the Bishop Test Site from 15 November 1965 to 19 June 1971 and from 25 November 1980 to 30 September 1985. The Air Force used the heliport area and runway for performance testing of helicopters and other aircraft. The DoD facilities included runway expansion, fuel facilities, utilities, buildings, aircraft maintenance, hospital and barracks. Today, the airport is owned by the City of Los Angeles, California and leased to Inyo County.
Sierra Pacific Airlines operated here during the 1970s.
Accidents and incidents
- On March 13, 1974 a David L. Wolper Productions crew filming a National Geographic history of Australopithecus at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area was killed when the Convair 440 Sierra Pacific Airlines plane crashed shortly after take off from the airport killing all 35 on board including 31 Wolper crew members (but not Wolper himself). The filmed segment was recovered in the wreckage and was broadcast in the television show Primal Man. The NTSB never determined the cause of the accident and the resort sold the airline.
- FAA Terminal Procedures for BIH, effective September 18, 2014
- Resources for this airport: