Dillant–Hopkins Airport

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Dillant–Hopkins Airport
Keene airport.jpg
IATA: EENICAO: KEENFAA LID: EEN
Summary
Airport type City of Keene
Operator Keene, New Hampshire
Location 488
Elevation AMSL 148.7 ft / 45 m
Coordinates 42°53′54″N 072°16′15″W / 42.89833°N 72.27083°W / 42.89833; -72.27083Coordinates: 42°53′54″N 072°16′15″W / 42.89833°N 72.27083°W / 42.89833; -72.27083
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 6,201 1,890 Asphalt
14/32 4,001 1,220 Asphalt

Dillant–Hopkins Airport (IATA: EENICAO: KEENFAA LID: EEN) is a general aviation airport located 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the central business district (CBD) of Keene, in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, USA. It covers 888 acres (359 ha) and has two runways.

The city had enjoyed six decades of regularly scheduled airline service since the 1940s with multiple daily flights operated with a mix of commuter, regional prop, and mainline jet service. As of June 2008, however, the airport had no commercial airline service.

History[edit]

The land upon which the airport sits was purchased in 1942 and was dedicated October 31, 1943, before a crowd of five thousand. Among the officials dedicating the land were Governor Robert O. Blood and senators Styles Bridges and Charles W. Tobey. The new airport was named to honor Thomas David Dillant and Edwin Chester Hopkins, from Keene and Swanzey respectively, who had both died fighting the war.

In 1945 a steel hangar was constructed at the airport which would also see local operations moved to it from West Keene. At about this time Lee Bowman became the manager of the airport and would run a flight school out of it. Regular air service from Dillant–Hopkins Airport began in 1946 when Northeast Airlines opened a route from Keene to Springfield, Massachusetts. As the inaugural flight from the airport, a Douglas DC-3 carried 2,600 letters, 11 passengers, and a fresh apple pie sent from the mayor of Keene to the mayor of New York.

Initially Dillant–Hopkins provided air service of two flights a day before being forced to fly a single flight a day. From January to May 1948 all air service from the airport was suspended. When regular air service resumed in May an air freight service was added. Lights for the runways were put in place in 1948 to 1949, and two years later the airport's signal beacons were added. By 1952 several industries were maintaining private airplanes for business purposes, and it was estimated that 200 planes a month were serviced by the airport.[1]

In 1953 Dillant–Hopkins hosted an air show which brought flying teams from the US Air Force and US Navy to Keene. This air show coincided with other events in Keene including the historic pageant The Happy Valley and a visit by then Miss America Neva Jane Langley. That same year Wiggins Airways ceased servicing Keene after losing a battle to do business with the city.

1954 would see Northeast Airlines begin its air freight service out of the airport, six years after air freight service first began there. Mohawk Airlines joined Northeast Airlines flying out of Keene, making the city of Keene the first in the state to be serviced by two airlines which offered flights to New York, Albany, Boston, and Lebanon, NH. All this before April. The runways would be extended in 1956 and night lighting and other improvements installed in 1958. By the second half of 1958 Keene would become the third largest city in the state to offer passenger service and the second largest to offer air freight service.

In May 1961 Mohawk ceased servicing Keene using the DC3 and switched to the Convair 440 for its passenger service into the city. With the ability to carry fifty-four passengers, the Convair 440 became one of the largest aircraft to land at Dillant–Hopkins. From 1962 to 1963 further additions were added to the airport, perhaps brought about by the new passenger planes. Northeast Airlines would begin the first turboprop service to Keene with the 48 passenger Fairchild Hiller FH-227 in 1966. The first turboprop arrived in September after a fifty-minute flight from John F. Kennedy Airport where it was greeted by five hundred people which included city officials and airport personnel.

In 1967 the FAA recommended a $1.8 million series of improvements which would include further extending the runways, the construction of a control tower, improved buildings, and other facilities. The recommendation was brought on by increased activity at the airport and nearly 24,000 aircraft operating out of the airport on a yearly basis. Also in 1967 both Northeast and Mohawk Airlines began to study routes that would include flights to Chicago from Keene.

1967 would also see Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey make a brief stop in Keene while on a trip to attend a concert in Vermont. A crowd of two hundred were on hand to greet him.[2]

Former airlines[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David R. Proper. "Upper Ashuelot: A History of Keene, New Hampshire. Part XVI: 1939-1952". Keene Public Library. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ David R. Proper. "Upper Ashuelot: A History of Keene, New Hampshire. Part XVII: 1953-1967". Keene Public Library. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 

External links[edit]