Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport

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Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County

(former Santa Rosa Army Airfield)
Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport (logo).png
Sonoma County Airport - Topo.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Sonoma County DOT
Location Sonoma County, near Santa Rosa, California
Elevation AMSL 129 ft / 39 m
Coordinates 38°30′32″N 122°48′46″W / 38.50889°N 122.81278°W / 38.50889; -122.81278Coordinates: 38°30′32″N 122°48′46″W / 38.50889°N 122.81278°W / 38.50889; -122.81278
STS is located in California
Location in California
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 5,202 1,586 Asphalt
14/32 6,000 1,829 Asphalt
Statistics (2007)
Aircraft operations 128,875
Based aircraft 350

Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (IATA: STSICAO: KSTSFAA LID: STS) is 7 miles (11 km) northwest of downtown Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County, California.[1][2]

The airport is named after Charles M. Schulz, the famed cartoonist of the Peanuts comic strip, who lived in Santa Rosa for more than 30 years. The airport's logo features Snoopy in World War I flying ace attire atop his Sopwith Camel, that is to say, his doghouse.


Military use[edit]

In the 1930s Santa Rosa had a small municipal airfield owned by Richfield Oil Corporation next to the Redwood Highway about 6 miles southeast of the present airport. Use of the 3,000-foot sod runway at the earlier airfield was discontinued during World War II as facilities at the present airport improved.[3]

Opened in June 1942 and known as Santa Rosa Army Air Field, the airfield was assigned to Fourth Air Force as a group and replacement training airfield. Known units assigned to Santa Rosa were:

The 478th Fighter Group was permanently assigned to Santa Rosa in December 1943 and began training replacement pilots, who were sent to combat units overseas after graduation.

The airfield was inactivated on January 31, 1946 and turned over to the War Assets Administration for eventual conversion to a civil airport.

Commercial flights[edit]

From the late 1940s until about 1974 Southwest Airways and successors Pacific Air Lines, Air West and Hughes Airwest served Santa Rosa. Douglas DC-3s followed by Fairchild F-27s flew mainly to San Francisco.

Commuter airlines flew smaller aircraft to San Francisco or San Jose from STS until 2001. In 1985 Westates Airlines had nonstop Convair CV-580s to Los Angeles for several months before ceasing all operations; their July 1985 timetable listed 38 round trips a week between Sonoma County Airport and LAX. Other turboprop flights included American Eagle for American Airlines to San Francisco flying Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners and Reno Air Express to San Jose (for Reno Air) with BAe Jetstream 31s.

Around 1986 United Airlines entered into a code share agreement with WestAir, a previously independent commuter airline that served STS with de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters, which began flying as United Express to SFO until 2001.[4] In 1989 WestAir operating as United Express started four weekday BAe 146-200 nonstops to Los Angeles, soon replaced with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia flights that ended in 1991. The Westair BAe 146s were the only airline jets ever to serve Santa Rosa. WestAir previously operated as Stol Air Commuter flying Britten-Norman Islanders and Trislanders to San Francisco. Stol Air Commuter had administrative offices at Santa Rosa.

In March 2007 airline flights resumed on Horizon Air, (a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines) with flights to Seattle–Tacoma and Los Angeles. Horizon added flights to Portland, Oregon in late 2007, to Las Vegas in early 2008,[5] and to San Diego in mid-2012.

In early 2011 Alaska Airlines announced it would retire its Horizon brand;[6] and all flights operated by Horizon now use the Alaska Airlines name. In June 2012 the airline ended flights from STS to Las Vegas.[7]

As part of an agreement between the airport, Alaska Airlines, and the local enotourism industry announced in January 2012 that passengers are allowed to check a 12 bottle case of wine for free on all Alaska Airlines flights from the airport.[8]

All Alaska Airlines flights from the airport are operated with the 76-seat Bombardier Q400 propjet, the largest and fastest member of the DHC-8 Dash 8 family.


The airport covers 1,014 acres (410 ha) at an elevation of 129 feet (39 m). It has two asphalt runways: 2/20 is 5,202 by 100 feet (1,586 x 30 m) and 14/32 is 6,000 by 150 feet (1,829 x 46 m).[1]

In 2007 the airport had 128,875 aircraft operations, average 353 per day: 95% general aviation, 4% air taxi, 1% airline and <1% military. 350 aircraft were then based at this airport: 86% single-engine, 11% multi-engine, 2% jet, 1% glider and <1% helicopter.[1]

In August 2013 the airport started a project to decouple the ends of the two runways and extend runway 14/32 by 885 feet, to 6000 feet and extend runway 2/20 by 200 feet, to 5202 feet. This project is scheduled for completion in November 2014.[9] [10]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Alaska Airlines
operated by Horizon Air
Los Angeles, Orange County (begins March 26, 2016),[11] Portland (OR), San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma


Top Business Routes, December 2011-December 2012
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Los Angeles, CA 55,000 Alaska
2 Seattle, WA 26,000 Alaska
3 Portland, OR 24,000 Alaska
4 San Diego, CA 14,000 Alaska

Service to Las Vegas ended June 3, 2012. Nonstop service to San Diego started June 4, 2012.

The maximum number of people to Los Angeles in one year is 55,480- 83,200 people on two daily flights. During heavy months there will be three flights a day to Los Angeles. The maximum number of people to travel to Seattle, Portland, and San Diego in one year is 27,740 people. Each destination has one daily flight.

Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air, has 5 or 6 flights a day from Santa Rosa, 2 or 3 flights a day to Los Angeles and 1 flight a day to Seattle, Portland, and San Diego.

Other uses[edit]

Sonoma Air Attack Base[edit]

The Sonoma Air Attack Base of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (known as CDF or CAL FIRE) was established in 1964 and is located at the northeast corner of the airport. Sonoma responds to an average of 300 calls per year. Staff at the base consists of one battalion chief and one fire captain (air tactics group supervisors), one fire apparatus engineer (base manager), and six firefighters. The complement of aircraft located at Sonoma includes one OV-10 Bronco (Air Attack 140) and two Grumman S-2 Tracker air tankers (classified as S-2T's, Tankers 85 and 86.)


On average, the base pumps about 300,000 US gallons (1,000 m3) of retardant a year. With the base’s pumps, four loading pits and equipment, Sonoma has a possible peak output of 120,000 US gallons (450 m3) of retardant each day. The base’s immediate response area covers 4,000 square miles (10,000 km2) and includes Marin County and portions of the CDF Sonoma–Lake–Napa, Santa Clara, San Mateo–Santa Cruz, and Mendocino Units.

Pacific Coast Air Museum[edit]

The Pacific Coast Air Museum is located on the southeast corner of the airport, next to the airplane hangar used in the 1963 Hollywood all-star comedy movie, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Known as the Butler Building, the hangar was built during World War II, and is still in use today.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for STS (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2008-09-25.
  2. ^ "Sonoma County Airport". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  3. ^ Freeman, Paul. "Santa Rosa Municipal Airport, Santa Rosa, CA". Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  4. ^ "United Express Discontinues Flights". Los Angeles Times. November 1, 2001. 
  5. ^ Steve Hart (March 25, 2012). "Alaska Airlines service energizes Sonoma County airport". Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. 
  6. ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben (January 26, 2011). "Horizon Air to 'retire its public brand' in favor of Alaska Air". USA Today. 
  7. ^ Robert Digitale (July 17, 2012). "Sonoma County-San Diego flights boost Alaska Air ridership". Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. 
  8. ^ Dan Verel (January 20, 2012). "Tourism bureau, Alaska Air to jointly promote region". North Bay Business Journal. 
  9. ^ Retrieved 2014-02-04.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Brown, Matt. "Sonoma County airport expansion expected to be completed before next winter". Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

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