Buchanan Field Airport
Concord Army Air Base
|IATA: CCR – ICAO: KCCR – FAA LID: CCR
– WMO: 72495
|Owner||Contra Costa County|
|Serves||Contra Costa County, California|
|Location||Concord / Pacheco|
|Elevation AMSL||26 ft / 8 m|
Airport Diagram for Buchanan Field Airport
Buchanan Field Airport (IATA: CCR, ICAO: KCCR, FAA LID: CCR) is a county-owned public-use airport in Contra Costa County, California, United States. Also known as Buchanan Field, it is a mile (2 km) west of Concord and east of the unincorporated community of Pacheco. The airport's street address is 550 Sally Ride Drive, Concord.
In 1942 Contra Costa County, California purchased land for an airport in Central County for $88,000. The airport was being developed by the County until the United States Army Air Forces Fourth Air Force expropriated the site. The Army added land and built airport facilities and a training base for pilots, Concord Army Air Base.
In 1946 the War Assets Administration (WAA) returned the airport to the County. In 1947 the transfer was formalized and the airport was named for County Supervisor William J. Buchanan, who served on the County Board of Supervisors for more than forty years. The airport continued to be used on occasion by the U.S. Army to transport troops, especially during the Korean War.
In 1977 Buchanan Field reached its peak of activity with 357,000 total operations; by that criterion Buchanan Field was the 16th busiest airport in the nation, ahead of San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport. During this time noise became a concern and in 1988 the county Board of Supervisors instituted a county noise restriction ordinance restricting certain aircraft from operating at Buchanan Field.
Beginning in the 1990s the Board of Supervisors updated the Buchanan Field Airport Master Plan. Commercial development of adjacent property such as Sam's Club, Taco Bell, Sports Authority, and Jiffy Lube was allowed in 1992. The future direction of this airport is always in question because of its location on prime property in the middle of the city of Concord with no room to grow, and noise concerns. The County has developed a new airport in Byron in the eastern part of the county. 
For decades, it was common for jets to fly over residential areas. In recent years, complaints have restricted planes flying over such areas to personal aircraft using propellers.
Airlines and destinations
Buchanan Field does not have scheduled passenger flights.
Commuter airline flights to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) with small prop aircraft started in 1969, but were gone by 1980. One commuter airline was Stol Air Commuter flying Britten-Norman Islanders. Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) began flights from Buchanan Field to Los Angeles International Airport on May 1, 1986. PSA had four to five daily roundtrips with BAe 146-200s, initially with 100 seats. USAir continued the flights after acquiring PSA in 1987, but replaced the BAe 146s with de Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8 turboprops in 1991. That year USAir announced that it was dismantling most of the West Coast network that it had acquired from PSA, including Concord, where flights ended in 1992. Buchanan Field has not had scheduled passenger flights since. WestAir operated deHavilland Twin Otters (and perhaps Short Bros types) into CCR from Sacramento, Stockton, and San Francisco in the years either side of 1985 or so. They were discontinued before WestAir became a full United Express carrier.
Facilities and aircraft
Buchanan Field covers 495 acres (200 ha) at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m) above mean sea level. It has four asphalt and concrete runways: 1L/19R is 5,001 by 150 feet (1,524 x 46 m), 1R/19L is 2,770 by 75 feet (844 x 23 m), 14L/32R is 4,602 by 150 feet (1,403 x 46 m), and 14R/32L is 2,799 by 75 feet (853 x 23 m).
In the year ending February 28, 2009 the airport had 93,874 aircraft operations, average 257 per day: 97% general aviation, 3% air taxi, and <1% military. 387 aircraft were then based at the airport: 83% single-engine, 10% multi-engine, 5% jet, and 2% helicopter.
On the evening of December 23, 1985 a Beechcraft Baron N1494G, executing a missed instrument approach procedure from an approach to runway 19R, lost control and crashed into the roof of the Macy's Department Store at nearby Sunvalley Mall, killing the pilot and two passengers and seriously injuring 84 Christmas shoppers in the crowded mall, mainly by spraying them with burning fuel. Four of the victims on the ground later died. The accident brought increased opposition to the airport and caused Pacific Southwest Airlines to delay scheduled passenger flights that had been planned to start in January 1986.
Another plane crashed on April 13, 2004, shortly after leaving Buchanan Field. The plane landed on a minivan traveling down nearby Interstate 680 in Pleasant Hill and nearly severed the left leg of a 12-year-old girl (Her leg was successfully reattached and she has made a near full recovery). Officials determined the crash was the fault of a mechanic who had worked on the plane.
On December 21, 2006, at about 1900 Zulu, a Piper Malibu (PA46) crashed while flying the LDA (Localizer Directional Aid) approach into CCR. The aircraft was flying too low and hit obstructions on the ground. The plane hit the median of Highway 4, crashing between the highway and Marsh Drive just north of the runway. Three passengers were killed instantly one died after surgery.
- FAA Airport Master Record for CCR ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective August 25, 2011.
- "Contra Costa County Airports". Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Buchanan Field". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A (PDF, 2.03 MB)". National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. 4 October 2010.
- "The History of Contra Costa County Airports". Contra Costa County Airports. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- Fagan, Kevin; Hallissy, Erin (June 24, 2011). "Small plane crashes on I-680 at rush hour / Girl in van injured -- pilot walks away". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Names Of Concord Plane Crash Victims Released". Dec 22, 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Buchanan Field Airport, official web site
- The Airport Coalition
- Sunvalley Mall Crash
- Aerial image as of February 2004 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective March 5, 2015
- FAA Terminal Procedures for CCR, effective March 5, 2015
- Resources for this airport: