Casement Aerodrome

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Casement Aerodrome
Aeradróm Mhic Easmainn
Accrest.png
Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel - aerial.jpg
IATA: N/AICAO: EIME
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Department of Defence
Operator Irish Air Corps
Location Baldonnel, Dublin, Ireland
Elevation AMSL 319 ft / 97 m
Coordinates 53°18′06″N 06°27′04″W / 53.30167°N 6.45111°W / 53.30167; -6.45111
Website www.military.ie
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
05/23 4,800 1,463 Asphalt
11/29 6,001 1,829 Asphalt

Casement Aerodrome (Irish: Aeradróm Mhic Easmainn) or Baldonnel Aerodrome (IATA: N/AICAO: EIME) is a military airfield to the south west of Dublin, Ireland situated off the N7 main road route to the south and south west. It is the headquarters and the sole airfield of the Irish Air Corps, and is also used for other government purposes.

The airport is the property of the Irish Department of Defence. Baldonnel Aerodrome is also the home of the Garda Air Support Unit.[1]

History[edit]

The airfield was first laid out in 1917 and was used by the Royal Flying Corps (soon to become the Royal Air Force). It was part of the RAF's Ireland Command.

The aerodrome was originally run by two pilots from the Royal Air Force. The airfield was the one from which the first successful east-west Atlantic crossing by a Junkers W33 aeroplane, the Bremen, took off on 12 April 1928 with Baron Hünefeld, Hermann Köhl and Captain James Fitzmaurice as co-pilot,[2] as well as the first Aer Lingus flight took place on May 27, 1936.[3] It was also the destination at which Douglas Corrigan landed on his famous 'wrong way' flight across the Atlantic.[4]

In February 1965 Baldonnel was renamed Casement Aerodrome in honour of the Irish nationalist Roger Casement, executed for treason by the British in 1916.[5]

In 1995 it was suggested that it be used as a second commercial airport for Dublin, especially for low-cost carriers such as Ryanair.[6]

Anti-war activists have accused the Government of allowing the Aerodrome's use as a US military stopover hub, with recent protests leading to arrests[7] and in March 2002, Michael Smith, the Minister for Defence, confirmed that since September 2001, 22 US military aircraft had landed at the aerodrome.[8] There has also been speculation since the early 2000s that Casement Aerodrome is used as an airport by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for their extraordinary rendition programme. Similar claims have been made with regards to Shannon Airport, but as Baldonnel is a military airport, it is impossible to verify.[9]

Queen Elizabeth II landed at Casement Aerodrome on 17 May 2011, beginning her state visit to Ireland.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.garda.ie/controller.aspx?page=36
  2. ^ "Flying in the slipstream of a great adventurer". Laois Nationalist. 2003-04-18. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  3. ^ "Aer Lingus Group plc - Company History". FundingUniverse LLC. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  4. ^ Sears, Stan (March 2005). "Corrigan’s Way: Right or Wrong, He Made His Mark on History". Airport Journals. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  5. ^ Comdt Peter Tormey & Capt Kevin Byrne, Irish Air Corps: A View from the Tower, Defence Forces Printing Press 1991
  6. ^ McConnell, Daniel (2007-01-14). "Minister Kenny rejected plan for second airport". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  7. ^ (Irish Times, 18/4/06)
  8. ^ Healy, Alison (2003-03-19). "TDs call for free vote on Shannon issue". Irish Times. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  9. ^ "Norris: CIA 'using Baldonnel airport'". Breaking News ie. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 

External links[edit]