San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

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San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport
McChesney Field
San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport - California.jpg
IATA: SBPICAO: KSBPFAA LID: SBP
Summary
Airport type Public
Operator San Luis Obispo County
Location San Luis Obispo, California
Elevation AMSL 212 ft / 64.5 m
Coordinates 35°14′13″N 120°38′31″W / 35.23694°N 120.64194°W / 35.23694; -120.64194
Website www.sloairport.com
Map
KSBP is located in California
KSBP
KSBP
Location
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 6,100 1,859 Asphalt
7/25 2,500 762 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Airline Passengers 272,420
Airline aircraft operations 9,386
Total aircraft operations 83,752
Freight (pounds AVDP) 2,698,682
Source: San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport Statistics Reports [1]

San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (IATA: SBPICAO: KSBPFAA LID: SBP), McChesney Field, is near San Luis Obispo, California. Two passenger airlines have flights to Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco. The airport has general and corporate aviation facilities.

History[edit]

The airport began as one man's dream. Earl Thomson, along with his brothers-in-law, William "Chris" and David Hoover, talked county officials into leasing them the land. By April 1939 the airport opened with an 88-by-100-foot (27 by 30 m) hangar and dirt runways.

In 1940 hard surface runways and lights were installed by the War Department. In 1940 and 1941, 183 private pilots and 20 advanced students were trained here though a federally sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Program for armed services fliers.

The federal government took over the airport during World War II and turned control back to the county in 1946. Southwest Airways started passenger flights with Douglas DC-3s that year.

In 1947 county supervisors contracted for another hangar, ramp, and eventually an administration building. The supervisors named Chris Hoover full-time airport manager in 1953.

In 1987 the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport was dedicated as McChesney Field, in honor of Leroy E. McChesney for his leadership and dedication to aviation. Mr. McChesney resided in the county since 1920 and had been a pilot since 1949. He was a longtime member of the California Aviation Council, a member of the California Aeronautics Board, and other aviation organizations. Mr. McChesney was the Grand Marschal of the first Airport Day in 1984.

The airport has a terminal building, restaurant, numerous hangars and airplane related businesses. In 1988 a Federal Aviation Administration control tower opened.

Southwest Airways DC-3 flights to San Luis Obispo lasted from 1946 to 1956 when the airline moved its service to Paso Robles due to the short runway at San Luis Obispo not being able to accommodate more modern aircraft. San Luis Obispo Airport then had no airline service until Swift Aire Lines started scheduled flights in 1969 as one runway had been lengthened to 4,800 feet by that time. Swift Aire's headquarters was located in San Luis Obispo; it eventually operated Fokker F27 turboprops (bought new) as well as Nord 262 turboprops and de Havilland Heron prop aircraft. When the control tower opened in 1988 SkyWest Airlines, WestAir, and Wings West (later merged into American Eagle) were in operation all flying regional turboprop aircraft.

After the 1981 demise of Swift Aire following an unsuccessful merger with Golden Gate Airlines, Wings West Airlines established its headquarters in San Luis Obispo and flew several turboprop types operating as American Eagle including the BAe Jetstream 31 and 32, Beechcraft C99, Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner and Saab 340. American Eagle later flew Embraer ERJ-140 regional jets to Los Angeles and San Jose. American Eagle dropped San Luis Obispo in November, 2008, and closed its maintenance base on the airport.[2]

The airport had Delta Connection (SkyWest) nonstop Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet service to Salt Lake City which ended on September 1, 2008. America West Express Canadair CRJ-200s flew nonstop to Phoenix and Las Vegas; the Las Vegas flights were then discontinued. With the merger of America West Airlines and US Airways, the America West Express service between San Luis Obispo and Phoenix was transferred to US Airways Express which in turn will become a feeder for American Airlines when the American-US Airways merger is finalized.

Two regional airlines now serve San Luis: United Express (SkyWest Airlines) and US Airways Express (SkyWest Airlines and Mesa Airlines). United Express Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops fly nonstop to Los Angeles and San Francisco while US Airways Express Canadair CRJ-200s and CRJ-900s fly nonstop to Phoenix. The CRJ-900 is the largest aircraft ever used on scheduled passenger flights to San Luis Obispo.

Current operations[edit]

  • From April 1 to the 4th, 2009 Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-700 and Frontier Airlines Airbus A319 charter airliners arrived at San Luis Obispo County with Oregon National Guard troops. The A319 is the largest aircraft to have landed at San Luis Obispo.[3] Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft have also recently landed at San Luis Obispo Airport as part of military charter operations.
  • On January 23, 2009 an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 arrived at from Chico, California, the largest aircraft ever to land at San Luis until then. The flight was carrying 125 members of the San Francisco Symphony arriving to perform at Cal Poly's Performing Arts Center.[4]
  • On August 27, 2008 US Airways Express (Mesa Airlines) announced an expansion of service to San Luis Obispo Airport. Beginning October 2, 2008 the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet 900 (CRJ-900) replaced the smaller CRJ-200 series on the Phoenix flights. The CRJ 900 had 36 more seats on these twice-daily flights.[5] US Airways later turned this service over to SkyWest Airlines which now operates Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets with 50 coach seats as US Airways Express on the nonstop to Phoenix. SkyWest also uses Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia twin turboprops as United Express on nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • On July 17, 2013, US Airways Express resumed Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet 900 (CRJ-900) service to San Luis Obispo Airport from Phoenix. Three daily flights include 1 CRJ 900 with First Class and 1 CRJ 900 without First Class, both operated by Mesa Airlines in addition to 1 CRJ 200 operated by Skywest.[6]

Future expansion plans[edit]

Planned expansion includes:

  • 1,000-foot (+/-) extension on the northwest end to make Runway 11-29 7,100 feet (2,200 m).
  • Extension of parallel Taxiways A and M to the end of the extended runway.
  • Straightening of Taxiway A at the present terminal ramp. Upon relocation to the new terminal, the part of Taxiway A in front of the existing terminal may be aligned with the rest of the taxiway.
  • Other taxiway improvements include the extension of Taxiway C to the west ramp, closing of Taxiway E and replacement with a rightangled taxiway between Taxiway A and Taxiway J, and realigning of Taxiway F. Taxiway J will be widened next to the west ramp to allow two-way taxiing.
  • A new passenger terminal, ramp, and structured parking deck will be built in the location recommended in the 1998 Airport Master Plan. The 66,350-square-foot (6,164 m2) terminal is designed to have space for post 9-11 security requirements (including inline bag screening), with additional building and concourse added as needed.
  • Shifting of the Runway 25 threshold, creating an interim length of 2,500 feet (760 m) on Runway 7-25. In addition, consistent with the runway’s B-I design category, the runway may be narrowed to 60 feet (18 m). After the relocation of Santa Fe Road the runway may be extended 500 feet (150 m) to the west for an ultimate runway length of 3,000 feet (910 m). Additional taxiways have been placed on either side of the runway.
  • Hangar facilities totaling 82,000 square feet (+/-) for general aviation aircraft southeast of the fixed base facilities. These facilities will have 65 (+/-) individual storage units on the east side of the airfield. Parking ramp will be southeast of the hangars. The hangars will be outside of the primary surface area for Runway 11-29 (500 feet from runway centerline).
  • Lease parcels along the south side of Runway 7-25 for potential construction of 120,000 square feet (11,000 m2) of individual hangars, with access from Buckley Road.

Facilities[edit]

The airport covers 340 acres (138 ha) and has two runways:

  • 11/29: 6,100 x 150 ft (1,859 x 46 m) Asphalt
  • 7/25: 2,500 x 100 ft (762 x 30 m) Asphalt

Fixed base operators[edit]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
United Express Los Angeles, San Francisco
US Airways Express Phoenix

Cargo airlines[edit]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • August 24, 1984 - Wings West Airlines / Flight 628 Midair collision. Shortly after departing the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport on a commuter flight to San Francisco International Airport, a Wings West Airlines twin-engine Beechcraft C99 (N6399U) collided head-on with a private Rockwell Commander 112TC aircraft (N112SM) that was descending for a landing at the same airport.[7]
  • January 8, 2009 - A Beechcraft Bonanza (BE36-A36) landed with its gear up causing runway 29/11 to be closed for about an hour. The pilot was the only person aboard and was not injured. The runway closure caused a SkyWest flight from San Francisco to divert to Southern California.[8]
  • March 17, 2009 - At 3:00pm a Piper Comanche (PA-24) missed the runway on landing, apparently catching a wind gust. The wind caused the plane to veer off the runway, down a grass side embankment and through a fence. The incident caused the runway to be closed for 10 to 15 minutes but no planes were delayed. The one occupant of the plane, the pilot, was not injured.[9]
  • June 24, 2013 - A Cessna Skymaster crashed into a Federal Express truck and a building about 1.5 miles northwest of the airport after takeoff, killing the pilot. The pilot had reportedly made a mayday call shortly before the crash.[10]

Airport Ownership and Management[edit]

Ownership: Publicly owned

Owner: SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA 93408

Phone 805-781-5200

Manager: Kevin Bumen

903-5 AIRPORT DRIVE SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA 93401

Phone 805-781-5205

ASST MGR: CRAIG PIPER (805) 781-4376.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]