Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport
|Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport|
Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport control tower
|Owner||City of Cleveland|
|Operator||Department of Port Control|
|Location||Downtown Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.|
|Elevation AMSL||583 ft / 178 m|
Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport (IATA: BKL, ICAO: KBKL, FAA LID: BKL) is a public airport on the shore of Lake Erie, in the northeast part of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It classified as a general aviation airport and is an FAA designated reliever to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), which is Greater Cleveland's primary airport. In 2008, based on FAA data, Burke Lakefront was the fourth busiest airport in the state of Ohio after, Cleveland Hopkins, Port Columbus International and Akron-Canton, up from 7th in 2007. It is named after former Cleveland mayor and U.S. senator Thomas A. Burke.
The airport is owned and operated by the city of Cleveland, which also operates Hopkins. It serves a growing number of corporate jets and air taxi services. Burke handled 20,618 air taxi operations in 2005, and 23,370 in 2006. BKL handled 18,595 air taxi operations in the first ten months of 2007. Burke Lakefront handles approximately 87,000 operations per year (average of 2000 to 2006). (60,013 for the first ten months of 2007). The airport is frequently used by professional sports team charter flights due to its proximity to FirstEnergy Stadium, Progressive Field, and Quicken Loans Arena.
Originally envisioned in 1927 as a part of a plan for Cleveland's lakefront, a lakefront airport to include "landing places for land and amphibious planes," was included as part of Cleveland's "Official Lakefront Development Plan" in 1946 announced by then City Manager William R. Hopkins (namesake of Cleveland's other, primary airport).
Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport (named for then Cleveland mayor Thomas A. Burke) opened in 1947 as the United States' first downtown airport and as its first municipally owned-and-operated airport. Designed to serve as a supplemental airfield for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, it originally featured a 2,000-foot dirt runway and a small operations facility and hangar. A federal grant in 1950 from the Federal Airport Act permitted the installation of a 5,200-foot hard-surface runway in 1957.
A terminal, control tower, and passenger concourses were constructed between 1957 and 1968. In the 1970s, the airport expanded with new buildings, a new control tower, an additional runway and Aviation High School (which has since closed). The main terminal of the airport was renovated in 1993 to handle airline and air charter service. In 1998, the larger runway was rehabilitated and an instrument landing system was installed, allowing planes to land in poor weather.
Airlines and destinations
The airline Destination One briefly provided scheduled charter service between BKL and airports near the downtowns of Detroit and Cincinnati, and to Hilton Head, SC. However, this service was short-lived. Wright Airlines was based at BKL in the 1970s and 1980s, before declaring bankruptcy. In 1979, Midway Airlines operated service from BKL to MDW in Chicago, before moving their operations to Hopkins. In September 2015, Cincinnati based airline Ultimate Air Shuttle announced twice daily service to Cincinnati-Lunken.
|Ultimate Air Shuttle||Atlanta–Peachtree, Cincinnati–Lunken|||
|Central Air Southwest||Dayton, Hamilton, Kalamazoo, Ypsilanti|
The airport was the site of the annual Grand Prix of Cleveland, last held in 2007, a Champ Car race which required the airport to be briefly shut down. Burke Lakefront Airport was the only airport in the country to host such a major car race which required careful maintenance of the runways in order to keep them safe for cars at high speeds.
On the evening of Thursday, October 25, 2012 President Barack Obama held a rally on the tarmac in front of Air Force Two for the 2012 Presidential election. He was greeted by a crowd of over 12,000 according to various Cleveland news outlets.
Facilities and aircraft
Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport covers an area of 450 acres (180 ha) which contains two asphalt paved runways: 6L/24R measuring 6,198 x 150 ft (1,889 x 46 m) and 6R/24L measuring 5,197 x 100 ft (1,584 x 30 m). The airfield is fully capable of handling large jets including, 737s, 757s, and A320s along with the smaller general aviation aircraft operations.
The airport has two fixed-base operators on the grounds.
There are four flight schools located on the grounds of Burke Lakefront. These schools are, The Premier Flight Academy, T & G Flying Club, Inc., Top Gun Flight Training, and Precision Helicopters.
As of 2007, there are 74 aircraft based at this airport. These aircraft include 38 single-engine aircraft, 13 multi-engine aircraft, 13 helicopters and 10 jets. In percent form 51.3% of the based aircraft are single-engine, 17.5% are multi-engine, 17.5% helicopter and 13.5% jet.
- September 8, 1981, the commander of the Thunderbirds, Lt. Col. David Smith, was taking off from Burke Lakefront Airport in his T-38 Talon when it ingested several seagulls, stalling the engines. Smith and his crew chief ejected but Smith was killed when his chute failed to open.
- September 27, 1986 A runway was closed after debris from a mass balloon release by the charity United Way Services of Cleveland fell on the airport.
- In early 2008, a small twin-engined aircraft crashed into Lake Erie shortly after takeoff. The 68-year-old pilot was rumored to have had a heart attack as he made a turn to Niagara Falls.
- In September 2009, a TS-11 Iskra practicing for the air show made a gear up landing. The pilot was unharmed and the aircraft received only light damage to the cowling and left wing. The plane remains on the ground as of July 2014
- On December 29, 2016, a Cessna 525C CJ4, registered N614SB, disappeared shortly after take off from Burke Lakefront Airport and is believed to have crashed into Lake Erie. A Coast Guard search ensued after air traffic control tower lost contact with the aircraft around 23:00 EST (04:00 UTC) that evening. The jet had six occupants on board at the time of the incident. Days after its disappearance, investigators reported debris washing ashore and luggage found in the lake was confirmed to have been from the missing plane. The aircraft has yet to be recovered. 
- FAA Airport Master Record for BKL ( PDF), effective 2007-07-05
- Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport Archived December 10, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. (official site)
- "Ultimate Air Shuttle Timetable" (PDF). Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "Marketing::Cleveland National Air Show". 13 January 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Coleman, Kathy (October 27, 2012). "President Obama's airplane lands at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- Wendel, Kim (October 25, 2012). "President's remarks at Burke Lakefront". WKYC. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- Kroll, John (2011-08-15). "Balloonfest 1986, the spectacle that became a debacle". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
- "COAST GUARD RESPONDS TO PLANE CRASH NEAR BURKE LAKEFRONT". United States Coast Guard. 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- "Coast Guard Searching for Plane Missing After Take-off from Burke Lakefront". WOIO 19 Action News - Cleveland. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport.|
- Official website
- (PDF), effective March 2, 2017
- Resources for this airport:
- Aviation Photography, Spotting, and Airport Information: http://www.opshots.net/
- Cleveland National Airshow: http://www.clevelandairshow.com/
- International Women's Air & Space Museum: http://iwasm.org/wp-blog/