McKellar–Sipes Regional Airport

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McKellar–Sipes Regional Airport
McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport-TN-01Feb19997-USGS.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of Jackson & Madison County
Serves Jackson, Tennessee
Location Madison County
Elevation AMSL 434 ft / 132 m
Coordinates 35°35′59″N 088°54′56″W / 35.59972°N 88.91556°W / 35.59972; -88.91556Coordinates: 35°35′59″N 088°54′56″W / 35.59972°N 88.91556°W / 35.59972; -88.91556
MKL is located in Tennessee
Location of airport in Tennessee
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 6,006 1,831 Asphalt
11/29 3,538 1,078 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations 20,322
Based aircraft 48

McKellar–Sipes Regional Airport (IATA: MKL[2]ICAO: KMKLFAA LID: MKL) is a public use airport located four nautical miles (7 km) west of the central business district of Jackson, a city in Madison County, Tennessee, United States.[1] It is owned by the city and county.[1] The airport is mostly used for general aviation, but is also served by one commercial airline, subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. SeaPort Airlines began its services to Memphis and Nashville on January 22, 2012.

As per the Federal Aviation Administration, this airport had 134 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008,[3] 1,502 in 2009, and 2,545 in 2010.[4] The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a general aviation airport based on 2008/2009 enplanements (the commercial service category requires at least 2,500 enplanements per year).[5]


The airport opened in 1942 as McKellar Field and was assigned to the United States Army Air Forces Southeast Training Center (later the Eastern Flying Training Command) as a primary (level 1) pilot training airfield. There were also two local axillary airfields for emergency and overflow landings.

The airfield began training flying cadets under contract to Georgia Air Services, Inc. Flying training was performed with Fairchild PT-19s as the primary trainer. It also had several PT-17 Stearmans assigned.

The facility was inactivated on October 16, 1944 with the drawdown of AAFTC's pilot training program. It was declared surplus and turned over to the Army Corps of Engineers on September 30, 1945. Eventually it was discharged to the War Assets Administration (WAA) and became a civil airport.

Kenneth Douglas McKellar and Buster Sipes[edit]

McKellar–Sipes Regional Airport is named in memory of Kenneth Douglas McKellar (1869–1957), a U.S. senator from Tennessee; and Major Robert Ray "Buster" Sipes, an Air Force pilot from Jackson who was killed in action during the Vietnam War in 1969. Sipes is buried at the Shiloh National Military Park cemetery.

Major Sipes was killed in action during the Vietnam War but he was killed when his F-101 Voodoo crashed after takeoff from RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England. He was a USAF test pilot. A plaque can be found in the Church of St Peter & St Paul at Steeple Aston to remember Major Robert Sipes.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

McKellar–Sipes Regional Airport covers an area of 807 acres (327 ha) at an elevation of 434 feet (132 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 2/20 is 6,006 by 150 feet (1,831 x 46 m) and 11/29 is 3,538 by 100 feet (1,078 x 30 m).[1]

For the 12-month period ending March 30, 2011, the airport had 20,322 aircraft operations, an average of 55 per day: 85% general aviation, 10% military, 5% air taxi, and <1% scheduled commercial. At that time 48 aircraft were based at this airport: 50% single-engine, 25% multi-engine, 4% jet, 4% helicopter, and 17% military.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airline offers scheduled passenger service:

Airlines Destinations
Air Choice One St. Louis (begins June 28, 2015)[6]
SeaPort Airlines Memphis, Nashville


Carrier shares: January–December 2013[7]
Carrier   Passengers (arriving and departing)
Top domestic destinations: Jan.–Dec. 2013[7]
Rank City Airport name & IATA code Passengers
1 Nashville, TN Nashville International (BNA) 1,860
2 Memphis, TN Memphis International (MEM) 630
3 Olive Branch, MS Olive Branch Airport (OLV) <10

See also[edit]


Other sources[edit]

  •  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
  • Essential Air Service documents (Docket OST-2000-7857) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
    • Order 2005-6-14 (June 20, 2005): reselecting RegionsAir, Inc. d/b/a American Connection, formerly known as Corporate Airlines, to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at each of the above communities (Burlington, IA; Cape Girardeau, MO; Ft. Leonard Wood, MO; Jackson, TN; Marion/Herrin, IL; Owensboro, KY; Kirksville, MO) for a new two-year period from June 1, 2005, through May 31, 2007, for a combined annual subsidy of $7,306,249. Also by this order, the Department is terminating the show-cause proceeding tentatively terminating subsidy at Kirksville, Missouri, as RegionsAir's selected proposal is below the $200-per-passenger cap.
    • Order 2007-3-5 (March 14, 2007): selecting Big Sky Transportation Co., d/b/a Big Sky Airlines, and Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at the above communities (Burlington, IA; Cape Girardeau, MO; Fort Leonard Wood, MO; Jackson, TN; Marion/Herrin, IL, Owensboro, KY) for the two-year period from June 1, 2007, through May 31, 2009, using 19-seat Beech 1900D turboprop aircraft as follows: Big Sky at Cape Girardeau, Jackson, and Owensboro for a combined annual subsidy of $3,247,440; and Great Lakes at Burlington, Fort Leonard Wood, and Marion/Herrin for a combined annual subsidy of $2,590,461.
    • Order 2008-2-1 (February 6, 2008): selecting Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide subsidized essential air service at Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Jackson, Tennessee and Owensboro, Kentucky for the two-year period beginning when the carrier starts full EAS at all three communities.
    • Order 2009-6-17 (June 22, 2009): selecting Pacific Wings, LLC to provide essential air service (EAS) at Owensboro, Kentucky, and Jackson, Tennessee, at a combined annual subsidy rate of $2,294,401 ($1,068,773 for Owensboro and $1,225,628 for Jackson), for a two-year period1 beginning when Pacific Wings inaugurates service.
    • Order 2011-12-15 (December 22, 2011): selecting SeaPort Airlines, Inc. to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at Jackson, Tennessee, for a one-year period. The one-year period will begin when SeaPort inaugurates full EAS and will run through the end of the 12th month thereafter. This selection of SeaPort will provide Jackson with 12 nonstop round trips per week to Nashville International Airport (“Nashville”) and 6 nonstop round trips per week to Memphis International Airport (“Memphis”) using 9-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft at an annual subsidy rate of $1,149,703.
    • Order 2014-4-26 (April 24, 2014): directing interested persons to show cause as to why the Department should not terminate the eligibility ... under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program based on criteria passed by Congress in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law No. 112-95). We find that Jackson is within 175 miles of a large or medium hub, Memphis International Airport (MEM), a medium hub, and, thus, is subject to the 10-enplanement statutory criterion. We also find that during fiscal year 2013, Jackson generated a total of 4,865 passengers (inbound plus outbound). Consistent with the methodology described above, that results in an average of 7.8 enplanements per day, below the 10-enplanement statutory criterion necessary to remain eligible in the EAS program.

External links[edit]