||It has been suggested that Fairfax Airport be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since July 2013.|
former airport & military installation
1951-4: Air Defense Command
1944-tbd: AAF Technical Services Command
tbd: Air Transport Command[disambiguation needed]
1921-1942: US Navy
|Located at the Kansas state line on the Missouri River west of North Kansas City, Missouri|
|The remaining portion of Fairfax Field with runway sections is along the Missouri River (right) and on the north and east of the General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant (right of center).|
 (1941-89 plant) (1985 GM plant)
NC & NAA-K (WWII plant)
Fairfax Field was the Kansas City airport used by 1935 USMC and 1937 Army flight training centers and for a government-leased WWII airfield in Kansas of the United States Army Air Forces. The airfield was adjacent to federal land used for WWII facilities that included a North American plant for building B-25 Mitchell bombers, a B-25 modification center, and a Military Air Transport air terminal. Post-war the Army Air Base structures were used for airliner servicing by TWA and jet & auto production by General Motors, which built a 1985 automotive factory on the airfield when the "Fairfax Municipal Airport" closed.
Sweeney & Fairfax airports
Sweeney Airport was first used for a 1921 "American Legion air meet" and was subsequently mapped on a 1928 "Commerce Department Airway Bulletin". The municipal airport was located ~3 mi (4.8 km) north of the center of Kansas City[not in citation given] which had an Air Service facility in the 1920s.
Fairfax Field of 3,000 ft × 2,500 ft (910 m × 760 m) was named in 1928 when Sweeney Airport "was taken over by Wood Brothers Corporation" before Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh and Phil Love landed "in Love's Ryan monoplane" on 2 August 1928.) Dedicated in 1929, the facility was operated by the "Fairfax Airport Company", and the 1st Fairfax passenger service aircraft of the Universal Aviation Corporation was a Fokker Super Universal cabin plane (5 passengers). The Southwest Air Service Express airline scheduled flights from "Fairfax Air Port" to Dallas/Ft Worth in March 1929, and a "Travelair six-passenger carrier of Central Air Lines crashed on approach to Fairfax in January 1930. By 1933 a terminal and hangars were in place and the field had been lengthened to 5,400 ft × 2,400 ft (1,650 m × 730 m) with airlines including American, Braniff, and US Airways.
A naval reserve air base was established at Fairfax Field in 1935 (a USN squadron and a USMC sq were established July 12), and in 1937 Army Captain Wisehart was the "unit intructor" at th Fairfax "army reserve base" with Douglass O-48A observation planes, and by 1938 the airport had 4 runways, including one 2,700 ft (820 m) long, (the Eddie Fisher Flying Service provided lessons.) In charge of Fairfax's "U.S. Naval Reserve aviation base" during 1940 was Lieutenant Commander W. B. Ault, and the base had a 30 day course for pre-flight training. The "Marine Air Flight Program" established by 1 September 1940 at Fairfax's Navy Elimination Air Base (E-base) used "a physical and mental examination…ten hours of dual instruction…check rides and a fifteen-minute solo flight" for screening candidates to become Naval Aviation Cadets. After a Fairfax "naval flying cadet… crashed into the Missouri river two miles northwest of the Fairfax air base" on 16 June 1942, Fairfax's naval aviation training moved in July to the United States Naval Aviation Reserve Base at Olathe KS.
North American Aviation's president had inspected the field for a WWII aircraft plant by December 1940 when the US government approved construction of a Kansas City production plant for Army B-25 and Navy PBJ-1D bombers. Survey work began in December, and the city of Kansas City, Kansas, purchased the airport in February. The United States Army Air Forces leased the Fairfax Airport from the city and expanded the 4 civilian runways with concrete of 150 feet in width and 185,000 square yards of parking apron. The government also purchased an alfalfa field of 75 acres (30 ha) for the plant and for right-of-way to the airfield.
1941 Kansas City B-25 plant
Air Force Plant NC (NAA-K company ID, Government Assembly Plant No. 2, facility ID #2503) was a "government-owned, contractor-operated" plant of North American Aviation for which groundbreaking was on 8 March 1941. Contract W535 AC 19341 for the initial 1200 B-25D (NA-87) bombers was approved on June 28, 1941; production began in December 1941, and Fairfax's 1st B-25D was accepted by the USAAF in February 1942 (the first production block was B-25D-1). North American provided parts for the first 100 Fairfax B-25Ds came from AFP #09 in Inglewood, California, and the company had a test flight office at Fairfax.
- Modification Center
- The Modification Center at Fairfax Field was built from May–October 1942 for altering B-25s until "the time the factory [could] incorporate the change into production":134 e.g., variations needed by the British and Russians. The center was a dual hangar with a timber frame built on the southeast edge of Fairfax Airport, and some alterations were performed on the airport apron. A west extension and several outbuildings were added to the modification center and in October 1944, it became an adjunct[clarification needed] to the final assembly line. Circa October 1945, "Transcontinental and Western Air leased the modification center" for servicing airliners, (the initial lease expired in 1950). TWA used the former modification center until the Great Flood of 1951 (the city built the new Mid-Continent Airport for the TWA Kansas City Overhaul Base west of the city), and the modification center was razed shortly after March 1985.
- High bay
- The "high bay" was an expansion of the Fairfax B-25 factory building for a 1942 North American contract (never implemented) to build 200 B-29 Superfortress bombers at Fairfax along with the B-25 Mitchell. The expansion began in July 1942 on the east side of the bomber plant and added 350 ft × 1,060 ft (110 m × 320 m) of floor space with twice the height of the existing final assembly bay (completed in March 1943).
The Fairfax plant's employment peaked at 24,329 in October 1943, and the 1st Fairfax B-25J was accepted in December 1943. D model production ended in March 1944 with block 35 (B-25D-35-NA) and after North American's California ended B-25 production on July 7, 1944; Fairfax was the sole source for B-25 Mitchells and set a January 1945 record with AAF acceptance of 315 Fairfax aircraft. Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star production planning included a February 1945 visit by two Lockheed representatives to Fairfax, and in April Lockheed shipped a P-80 to the bomber plant for study. Work began on building P-80 jigs, space was cleared for P-80 production in the high bay, and the B-25 assembly line was shortened.[specify]
B-25J production scheduled through December 1945 was terminated August 15, the day after V-J day. Fairfax had built 2,290 B-25Ds (152 Navy PBJ-1D variants) and 4,318 B-25Js—more than half of the 10,000 WWII B-25s. The federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation set up a depot in the Fairfax district to liquidate war surplus not sent to depots or elsewhere for government use (reusable materials like aluminum and steel were reclamed.) Seventy-two incomplete but flyable B-25Js were sold to the public.
The 2d Ferrying Squadron of the 5th Ferrying Group was moved by Air Transport Command from Dallas Love Field to Fairfax on 15 April 1943, and the squadron ferried out 157 B-25s during May. Of 1,881 deliveries in 1943 by the Ground Ferrying Squadron all but 129 were B-25's, but at the end of that year pilots from Fairfax began ferrying B-26 Marauders from the Omaha modification center and B-24 Liberators from a St. Paul facility. From May-Sep 1944 a detachment of Women Airforce Service Pilots was at Fairfax.
- Technical Training
- The 76th AAF Technical Training Detachment activated on 4 February 1943 (designated 5 October) administered a 6 week hydraulics course for AAF mechanics under the direction of the Aircraft Accessories Corporation. About 300 students were admitted before the school was closed in October as a duplicate of a Chanute Field course. The 81st AAF Technical Training Detachment activated 22 February 1943 and designated, effective 30 August, to supervise apprentice crew chiefs at the Modification Center. January AAF policy was for each mechanic selected as a crew chief to be assigned an aircraft as it left the factory, review its modifications at the center, and deploy with it to the field unit. B-25 modifications only took a week until the B-25G gunship modifications for Pacific War anti-shipping missions, which took 2–3 months. Peak enrollment was 296 mechanics on 27 June, and the apprenticeship program was abandoned (the detachment inactivated on 31 October 1943.) In 1945, Kansas City had the 1st of the 2AF Radar Bomb Scoring (RBS) sites (cf. the 2nd site at Dallas) which used an SCR-584 radar for evaluating bomber training) and became a detachment of the Colorado Springs's 206th AAFBU in July, Later designated a 10th RBS Squadron detachment in 1954, the unit scored B-36 bomber runs in 1953, the 1955 SAC Bombing and Navigation Competition, and the 1957 "Operation Longshot".
33d Ferrying Group
The 33d Ferrying Group was designated on 1 April 1944 from the 2d Ferrying Squadron, which had been separated from the 5th Group on 1 January 1944 (393 officers and 578 enlisted men at the end of 1944). From Fairfax the 33d delivered 6,202 aircraft to CONUS bases and 251 abroad. On 22 September 1944 the 33d Ferrying Group began daily scheduled Military Air Transport (MAT) flights with military cargo/passengers to Minneapolis and Omaha (2 more daily flights were later added.) On 9 November 1944 the 33d Group furnished plane and crew to fly Senator Harry S. Truman from Fairfax to Washington for ceremonies following his election as Vice-President, and in early 1945 the 33d controlled ten operating locations.[where?]. During the Fairfax transition to P-80 production, the 33d Ferrying Group was discontinued[when?] and for ferrying, Fairfax became an operating location of Rosecrans Army Airfield on 15 April 1945 with its pilots traveling to Fairfax for sorties.
- Air freight terminal
- Military Air Transport moved an air freight terminal to Fairfax on 2 March 1945 from Kansas City, Missouri, and had 362 personnel in June, the largest operating location in the division. During July, 1,044 military transports used the field (e.g., President Truman for visits to Independence, Missouri. By November the Topeka Army Airfield to the west had been chosen for a central MAT flight facility, and the Air Transport Command operating location at Fairfax was discontinued by 6 December 1945 (9 C-47s and 80 pilots/co-pilots transferred to Topeka.)
Fairfax Air Force Base
Fairfax Air Force Base was the military installation's designation when President Truman's Constellation used the airfield in August 1948 after 2 reserve units had been established at Fairfax Field. The 4101st Army Air Force Base Unit (Reserve Training) had been activated at Fairfax on 12 July 1946 (redesignated 2472d AF Reserve Training Center on 28 August 1948) and at the beginning of USAF planning, Fairfax activated the 564th Bombardment Squadron on 6 January 1947 which sent 127 pilots to 1948 summer camp. Iin October 1948, 37 Air Force Reserve planes at Fairfax flew 1,844 hours and in 1949, the 564th was replaced by the 442d Troop Carrier Wing (activated 27 June). Despite a 1948 plan for the base to "be withdrawn from surplus", in "October 1949 the U.S. Air Force terminated its lease on Fairfax Airport, and the city of Kansas City, Kansas, regained control of the facility".:260 On 22 May 1950, Fairfax's 2472d Center and 442d Wing moved to Naval Air Technical Training Center Olathe.
Central Air Defense Force headquarters
The USAF's Central Air Defense Force (CADF) was activated with headquarters at Fairfax Air Force Base on 1 March 1951, on 24 April the Central Army Antiaircraft Command was "established with HQ at Kansas City" (organized 1 May 1951), and on 1 July the USAF 35th Air Division was activated at Kansas City (moved to Dobbins AFB in September). The 4610th Air Base Squadron evacuated due to a fire during the Great Flood of 1951 ("4610 Air Base Group" in 1952). Two Air Divisions (34th at Kirtland AFB & 29th (Great Falls) Air Divisions were reassigned to the CADF on 1 March 1953 when the latter was "expanded to include North and South Dakota and Nebraska" (the 4676th Air Defense Group began flying F-86 Sabres from Fairfax at the end of 1953.) The 1953 Fairfax AFB F-94 crash occurred when Lockheed F-94C-1-LO Starfire number 50-969 departed Fairfax for Scott AFB but on attempting a return, struck a dike short of the runway and killed the pilot and radar operator. From 18 December 1953 – 1 March 1954 the 326th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was assigned to Fairfax, and the 1954 Kansas City F-84 crash near the city's business district killed the pilot and 3 residents after takeoff from Fairfax AFB. In early 1954 after the 24 February Eisenhower statement for the "New Look" policy, Air Defense Command was reorganized under Continental Air Defense Command and all Fairfax ADC units moved nearby to Grandview AFB, Missouri, and Fairfax became a general aviation airport.
Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac plant of General Motors adjacent to Fairfax Air Force Base, was initiated with the "November 7, 1945 [announcement] that General Motors had signed a five-year lease for the former bomber plant" (purchased by GM in 1960.) "The reconverted factory finished its first automobile in June 1946", and in 1953 when the F-84F Thunderflash fighter was unveiled, its assembly line was in the same 53 acres (21 ha) building as the automotive production line. General Motors produced 599 F-84Fs at the Fairfax plant, and this was the only time that aircraft & auto production have been run down parallel lines simultaneously.[dubious ]
Fairfax Municipal Airport
Fairfax Municipal Airport (KCK) was established for general aviation in early 1954. It was the July 1955 landing site of a TWA DC-3 that "had just taken off from Fairfax" before a collision with a Cessna of Baker's Flying Service. The Cessna was destroyed. The airport was added to the USGS Geographic Names Information System on 13 October 1978, and the airport's last flight departed on March 31, 1985. General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant was completed in 1985 on the runways of Fairfax Field, and production at the former bomber plant ceased in May 1987 (razed in 1989).
|Airliners at KCK|
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- "Municipal Airport (478637)". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- Murdock, Scott D. (6 May 2003). "List of Air Force Plants".
- Freeman, Paul (revised 12/29/12). "Sweeney Airport / Fairfax Airport / Fairfax Army Airfield (KCK), Kansas City, KS". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Eastern Kansas. Airfields-Freeman.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- Shaw, Frederick J., ed. (2004). Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy (Report). Air Force History and Museums Program. http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-100928-010.pdf. Retrieved 2013-07-14. "Although the crisis that followed the January 1968 North Korean seizure of the USS Pueblo allowed ADC to locate several federalized Air National Guard units at the Kansas City base, those units could not remain indefinitely."
- Maurer, Maurer. Aviation in the US Army, 1919-1939 (Report). pp. 151,307. ISBN 0-912799-38-2. "In addition the Air Service built facilities at Boston; Pittsburgh; Columbus; Cincinnati; Louisville; Kansas City,[where?] Missouri; Santa Monica, California; and Seattle. In each case, it leased the land for one dollar a year, furnished steel hangars from its surplus, and contracted through the Quartermaster Corps for erecting hangars and installing gas and oil facilities. The Air Service supplied a few Jennies, some equipment and tools, a few mechanics (mostly Regular enlisted men but occasionally a civilian or two), and a Regular Army officer as commander.22 … The Air Service … in 1923 it added a southern division from Scott to Kelly Field by way of Kansas City,[where?] Missouri; Muskogee, Oklahoma; and Dallas.12 … Other examples were the 403th [sic] Pursuit Squadron at Kansas City,[where?] Missouri, which worked with the Iowa National Guard in a Minnesota camp during 1935.34 … Five new detachments authorized by the War Department at the end of the year  were assigned to Cumberland, Uniontown, Kansas City,[where?] Muskogee, and Dallas."
- "Lindy Studying Nation's Airports for New Service" (PGarchiver.com article preview). The Atlanta Constitution. August 2, 1928. Retrieved 2013-07-16. "Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh landed at the Fairfax airfield here late today from Wichita, Kans., accompanied by Phil Love, in Love's Ryan monoplane."
- "Southwestern Air Express to Be Started Next Week" (Google news archive). St. Joseph Gazette. March 30, 1929. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- "title tbd" (Google News Archive). newspaper tbd. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- "Olathe Naval Air Station: Sailors on the Plains" (article). Album: Johnson County History Museum XV (2). Retrieved 2013-07-15. "on December 18, 1941…Lieutenant Commander R.V. Murison of the Naval Reserve’s civil engineering corps came to inspect the Johnson County airport site"
- Hurt, R. Douglas. "Naval Air Stations in Kansas During World War II" (Tod Roberts transcription). Kansas Historical Quarterly. Retrieved 2013-07-15. (see also "U.S. Army and Air Force Wings Over Kansas," Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 25, no. 2, (Summer, 1959), pp. 138-141)
- "Air Pilots Thrill Crowd at Airport: Eleven Fliers From U. S. Army and Marine Reserve Base Put on Show" (Google news archive). Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, Kansas). April 27, 1937. Retrieved 2013-07-14. "aviation maneuvers staged this afternoon at the [Lawrence] Municipal airport… Capt. H. C. Wisehart, unit instructor at the army reserve base in Kansas City… The  marine reserve pilots were flying two-seated Grumann fighting planes. The  army reserve pilots flew three Douglass O-48A high wing observation planes, and four primary training planes. All of the pilots making the trip are employes of the Transcontinental and Western Airlines, stationed in Kansas City. … The marine reserve officers making the flight are based at the naval reserve base at Fairfax airport"
- Airport Directory, Airport Directory Company, 1938 (cited by Freeman)
- Hammel, Eric. Aces at War (Google Books). Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- The Military Order of World Wars. Turner Publishing Company. Retrieved 2013-07-15. "U.S. Marine Air Flight Program at the Fairfax Naval Air Station in Kansas City, KS. Duty Stations: Sept. 1, 1940-March 1, 1941, pre-flight training at Faifax, KS"
- "Former Iowa Athlete Killed in Plane Crash" (Google news archive). The Milwaukee Journal. June 17, 1942. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- "Big Bomber Plant for City". Kansas City Times. December 7, 1940. (cited by Freeman and Macais)
- James H. Kindelberger telegram to unidentified, December 2, 1940, Lyon Project Files. (cited by Macias p. 247)
- “History of North American Aviation Inc. of Kansas: (Government Assembly Plant No. 2) Kansas City Kansas, June 1941 to 31 October 1943,” appendix to Army Air Forces Material Command: History of the Midwestern Procurement District, 1943, 6–9, 204.4–2 , U.S. Air Force Collection, U.S.A.F. Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; (cited by Macias p. 253)
- Irving Brinton Holley Jr., United States Army in World War II, Special Studies: Buying Aircraft: Materiel Procurement for the Army Air Forces (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1989), 294–301 (cited by Macias p. 246)
- Macias, Richard. ""We All Had a Cause": Kansas City's Bomber Plant, 1941-1945". Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 28: 244–261. Retrieved 2013-07-14. "One out of every fifty B-25s was flown to the Cheyenne Bottoms Gunnery and Bombing Range near Great Bend to test fire the machine guns in flight. … In October 1949 the U.S. Air Force terminated its lease on Fairfax Airport, and the city of Kansas City, Kansas, regained control of the facility. The reconverted factory finished its first automobile in June 1946… In 1960 General Motors purchased the plant."
- Arnold, Gen. Henry H. (foreword). AAF: The Official Guide to the Army Air Forces. "In our B-25s, the bombardier and his compartment were eliminated on some models for installations of a 75 mm cannon and fixed .50 caliber guns." (p. 129)
- “TWA to Center,” Kansas City Star, October 24, 1945 (cited by Macias p. 260)
- [full citation needed] (AFHRA document) History of the 33d Ferrying Group (Report). http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/182/132.xml.
- author tbd (9 November 1983). Hellickson, Gene. ed (2007 transcription using Microsoft Word). Historical Summary: Radar Bomb Scoring, 1945–1983 (Report). Office of History, 1st Combat Evaluation Group. http://www.mobileradar.org/Documents/hist_sum_rad_bom_scrg.pdf. Retrieved 2012-10-01. "the Second Air Force took actions to establish a radar bomb scoring station at Kansas City,[where?]… HQ Second Air Force originally had jurisdiction over this operation but [on] 6 June 1945, the 206th Army Air Force Base Unit (RBS) ( 206th AAFBU), was activated at Colorado Springs, Colorado under the command of Colonel Robert W. Burns. He assumed operational control of the two SCR-584 radar detachments located at Kansas City and Fort Worth, Texas."
- "Fairfax Field" (Archive.org transcription). Wings Over Kansas. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- (Archive.org transcript) Duke University Alumni Register (Report). http://archive.org/stream/dukealumniregist381952/dukealumniregist381952_djvu.txt. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- "Truman Flies Back to Washington" (NewsPaperArchive.com image and OCR text). San Mateo Times. August 3, 1948. p. 4. Retrieved 2013-07-12. "Truman got up at dawn today to vote in the Missouri primary before breakfast and then took off for Washington … His aides said he would ably call for an immediate briefing on developments in … The president boarded his [aircraft] at Fairfax air force base in Kansas [City] some 35 minutes after his… The tower said visibility at takeoff was 10 though Kansas citizens drove to work this morning in bleary weather… Mr. Truman's takeoff in a Constellation… fresh from two days of resl at his home… [The President was] fifth of the 310 qualified voters in his precinct to turn up at the American Legion Memorial a block from his… He arrived at the [poll where] Election workers greeted him… Mrs. Emma a Republican election [official] handed the president a two-foot long [ballot.] He retired [to] a wood stall and went to work with a pencil on the list of 48 hopefuls for Democratic nomination to 18 local and national offices"[verification needed]
- (AFHRA document) History of the 4101st Army Air Forces Base Unit (Report). http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/179/924.xml.
- "Air Force to Reopen Bases". New York Times (webpage abstract ). November 24, 1948. "To be withdrawn from surplus are Fairfax Air Force Base at Kansas City, Kan., and Cedar Grove Quartermaster Depot at Shreveport, La."
- History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense: Volume I: 1945-1955 (Army.mil PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-13. "Central ARAACOM established with HQ at Kansas City, Missouri. Organized 1 May 1951."
- "title tbd" (Google News Archive). newspaper tbd. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
- "Brand New Jet Crashes Homes" (2009 GenDisasters.com transcription by Stu Beitler). Record Eagle (Traverse City, Michigan). July 8, 1954. Retrieved 2013-07-12. "new F-84-F Thunderstreak dove into the group of houses, two blocks from Kansas City's business district… Wednesday [killing] 2nd LT. JOHN H. KAPALES, Bergstrom [AFB,] GERTRUDE LANKFORD. EDNA HOFFMAN. EARL RODWINE, all of Kansas City. Five other persons and three firemen were injured as the plane plowed through one house, hurtled across a street and a used car lot, and crashed into another house where it exploded. The first house collapsed against another. Fire, touched off by flaming fuel, damaged two more. The plane was one of four built by General Motors Corp. and was being ferried by Fairfax Air Force Base to Bergstrom. The Fairfax control tower reported one of the planes radioed it was in trouble shortly after the take off. The tower chief said the pilot reported he was flying at 6,000 feet, but was having trouble elevating the nose of the plane. "We advised him to land at nearby Olathe, Kan., but he never did respond," the tower chief said."
- Development of Continental Air Defense to 1 September 1954, pp. 67 & 80
- compiled by Johnson, Mildred W (31 December 1980) [February 1973 original by Cornett, Lloyd H. Jr]. A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980. Peterson Air Force Base: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. tbd. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
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- "Air Force Unveils New Jet Fighter" (Google news archive). newspaper tbd. July 10, 1953. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- “Rush Car Plant,” Kansas City Star, November 7, 1945. (cited by Macias p. 260)
- “Fairfax Decision Based on Economics,” Kansas City Times, July 16, 1988; “GM’s Old Fairfax Plant Burns,” Kansas City Star, January 19, 1989. (cited by Macias p. 260)
- "2 Die as Planes Collide at K.C." (Google news archive). Lawrence Journal-World. July 12, 1955. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- "Fairfax Assembly Plant". Media.GM.com. Revised 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-07-14.