Buchanan Field Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Buchanan Field Airport
Concord Army Air Base
Buchanan Field Airport - USGS Topo.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerContra Costa County
ServesContra Costa County, California
LocationConcord / Pacheco
Elevation AMSL26 ft / 8 m
Coordinates37°59′23″N 122°03′25″W / 37.98972°N 122.05694°W / 37.98972; -122.05694Coordinates: 37°59′23″N 122°03′25″W / 37.98972°N 122.05694°W / 37.98972; -122.05694
Airport Diagram for Buchanan Field Airport
CCR is located in California
Location of airport in California
Direction Length Surface
ft m
1L/19R 5,001 1,524 Asphalt/Concrete
1R/19L 2,770 844 Asphalt
14L/32R 4,602 1,403 Asphalt/Concrete
14R/32L 2,799 853 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Aircraft operations93,874
Based aircraft387

Buchanan Field Airport[2] (IATA: CCR, ICAO: KCCR, FAA LID: CCR) is a county-owned public-use airport in Contra Costa County, California, United States,[1][3] located one mile (1.6 km) west of the center of Concord[1][3] and east of the unincorporated community of Pacheco. The airport's street address is 550 Sally Ride Drive, Concord.[2]

The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a reliever airport.[4] It has a control tower.


In 1942 Contra Costa County, California purchased land for an airport in Central County for $88,000. The airport was being developed by the County until the United States Army Air Forces Fourth Air Force expropriated the site. The Army added land and built airport facilities and a training base for pilots, Concord Army Air Base.[5]

In 1946 the War Assets Administration (WAA) returned the airport to the County. In 1947 the transfer was formalized and the airport was named for County Supervisor William J. Buchanan, who served on the County Board of Supervisors for more than forty years. The airport continued to be used on occasion by the U.S. Army to transport troops, especially during the Korean War.[5]

In 1972, George Lucas used Buchanan Field Airport for one of the last exterior scenes in the movie American Graffiti. In the scene, Steven Bolander (Ron Howard) says good bye to friend Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) before Curt leaves for college on the Douglas DC-7C in the background.

In 1977 Buchanan Field reached its peak of activity with 357,000 total operations; by that criterion Buchanan Field was the 16th busiest airport in the nation, ahead of San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport. During this time noise became a concern and in 1988 the county Board of Supervisors instituted a county noise restriction ordinance restricting certain aircraft from operating at Buchanan Field.[5]

Beginning in the 1990s the Board of Supervisors updated the Buchanan Field Airport Master Plan. Commercial development of adjacent property such as Sam's Club, Taco Bell, Sports Authority, and Jiffy Lube was allowed in 1992.[5] The future direction of this airport is always in question because of its location on prime property in the middle of the city of Concord with no room to grow, and noise concerns. The County has developed a new airport in Byron in the eastern part of the county.[5] [6]

Airline and destinations[edit]

operated by Delux Public Charter
Charter: Burbank, Las Vegas

Historical airline service[edit]

Buchanan Field was served with commuter airline flights to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) with small prop aircraft from 1969 to the late 1970s, including Stol Air Commuter flying Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander and Britten-Norman BN-2A Trislander aircraft, both of which featured STOL capability. Also in 1969, San Francisco and Oakland Helicopter Airlines (also known as SFO Helicopter) was operating scheduled passenger flights with Sikorsky S-61 helicopters nonstop to Oakland International Airport (OAK) with continuing one stop service to SFO with up to five flights a day.[7] SFO Helicopter was no longer serving the airport by 1975.[8] In 1978, Stol Air Commuter was operating up to six flights a day to SFO; however, the airline was no longer serving the airport with flights to SFO by the end of 1979.[9][10]

Airline service returned to the airport by the mid 1980s. In 1985, WestAir Commuter Airlines, a small air carrier that was the successor to Stol Air Commuter, was operating up to eight flights a day to SFO with de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprops which featured STOL capability.[11] WestAir, which was operating as an independent airline at this time, then ceased serving the airport prior to becoming a United Express air carrier.

The jet age arrived at the airport the following year. Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) began nonstop British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jet service from Buchanan Field to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on May 1, 1986. Following its acquisition by USAir, in 1988 PSA was continuing to operate independently with up to four departures per day to LAX with the BAe 146 with one of these flights continuing on to San Diego (SAN) with one stop direct service.[12] Following completion of its merger with PSA, in 1989 USAir was continuing to operate nonstop BAe 146 jet service to LAX with up to four departures a day.[13] USAir then replaced the BAe 146 service flown to LAX with much smaller Beechcraft 1900C commuter turboprops operated by USAir Express in 1991.[14] That same year USAir announced it was dismantling most of the West Coast network it had acquired from PSA, including service to Concord with USAir Express ending its flights into the airport in 1992.

Also in 1991, American Eagle Airlines operated by Wings West Airlines was operating four daily departures with Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner commuter propjets to San Jose (SJC) on behalf of American Airlines which was operating an airline hub at SJC at this time.[15] American subsequently shut down its San Jose hub and American Eagle service from Concord was discontinued.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Buchanan Field covers 495 acres (200 ha) at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m) above mean sea level. It has four asphalt and concrete runways: 1L/19R is 5,001 by 150 feet (1,524 x 46 m), 1R/19L is 2,770 by 75 feet (844 x 23 m), 14L/32R is 4,602 by 150 feet (1,403 x 46 m), and 14R/32L is 2,799 by 75 feet (853 x 23 m).[1]

In the year ending February 28, 2009 the airport had 93,874 aircraft operations, average 257 per day: 97% general aviation, 3% air taxi, and <1% military. 387 aircraft were then based at the airport: 83% single-engine, 10% multi-engine, 5% jet, and 2% helicopter.[1]


On the evening of December 23, 1985 a Beechcraft Baron N1494G, executing a missed instrument approach procedure from an approach to runway 19R, lost control and crashed into the roof of the Macy's Department Store at nearby Sunvalley Mall, killing the pilot and two passengers and seriously injuring 84 Christmas shoppers in the crowded mall, mainly by spraying them with burning fuel. Four of the victims on the ground later died. The accident brought increased opposition to the airport and caused Pacific Southwest Airlines to delay scheduled passenger flights that had been planned to start in January 1986.

Another plane crashed on April 13, 2004, shortly after leaving Buchanan Field. The plane landed on a minivan traveling down nearby Interstate 680 in Pleasant Hill and nearly severed the left leg of a 12-year-old girl (Her leg was successfully reattached and she has made a near full recovery). Officials determined the crash was the fault of a mechanic who had worked on the plane.[16]

On December 21, 2006, at about 1900 Zulu, a Piper Malibu (PA46) crashed while flying the LDA (Localizer Directional Aid) approach into CCR. The aircraft was flying too low and hit obstructions on the ground. The plane hit the median of Highway 4, crashing between the highway and Marsh Drive just north of the runway. Three passengers were killed instantly one died after surgery.[17]

On October 25, 2016, shortly after departing Buchanan Field, a Beechcraft Bonanza registered N364RM crashed into a hill near Kirker Pass Road in Concord. The two occupants, both pilots, were killed in the crash. No one on the ground was injured. The investigation is ongoing and the cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e FAA Airport Master Record for CCR (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective August 25, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Contra Costa County Airports". Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Buchanan Field". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  4. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A (PDF, 2.03 MB)" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-27.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The History of Contra Costa County Airports". Contra Costa County Airports. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
  6. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.
  7. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, April 27, 1969 SFO Helicopter Airlines timetable
  8. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Oct. 26, 1975 SFO Helicopter Airlines timeable
  9. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, June 1, 1978 Stol Air Commuter timetable
  10. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), San Francisco flight schedules
  11. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), San Francisco-Concord flight schedules
  12. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 17, 1988 PSA system timetable
  13. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Los Angeles-Concord flight schedules
  14. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Los Angeles-Concord flight schedules
  15. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), San Jose-Concord flight schedules
  16. ^ Fagan, Kevin; Hallissy, Erin (June 24, 2011). "Small plane crashes on I-680 at rush hour / Girl in van injured -- pilot walks away". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  17. ^ "Names Of Concord Plane Crash Victims Released". Dec 22, 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2014.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]