Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport

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Cincinnati Municipal Airport
Lunken Field
Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport, 2006-01-25.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of Cincinnati
Serves Cincinnati, Ohio
Hub for Ultimate Air Shuttle
Elevation AMSL 483 ft / 147 m
Coordinates 39°06′12″N 084°25′07″W / 39.10333°N 84.41861°W / 39.10333; -84.41861
Website LUK Website
LUK is located in Ohio
Location of airport in Ohio / United States
LUK is located in the US
LUK (the US)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3L/21R 3,802 1,159 Asphalt
3R/21L 6,101 1,860 Asphalt
7/25 5,128 1,563 Asphalt
Statistics (2015)
Commercial Operations 31,750
Peak Daily Departures 13

Cincinnati Municipal Airport – Lunken Field (Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport) (IATA: LUK, ICAO: KLUK, FAA LID: LUK) is a public airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, three miles (5 km) southeast of Downtown Cincinnati. It is owned by the city of Cincinnati[1] and serves private aircraft and the fleets of local corporations. It serves a few commercial flights and is the second largest airport serving Cincinnati after Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. It is known as Lunken Airport or Lunken Field, after Eshelby Lunken.[2] It is bounded by US Route 50 (historic Columbia Parkway and Eastern Avenue) to the west, US Route 52 (Kellogg Avenue) and the Ohio River to the south, the Little Miami River (which originally flowed through the airfield but was diverted) to the east, and Ohio Route 125 (Beechmont Avenue) to the north. The airport is headquarters and hub for Cincinnati-based public charter airline Ultimate Air Shuttle, serving 5 destinations in the eastern United States with 16 peak daily flights. Lunken is also home to small charter airline Flamingo Air and its aviation school.


Cincinnati Municipal Airport (Lunken Airport) was Cincinnati's airline airport until 1947. It is in the Little Miami River valley near Columbia, the site of the first Cincinnati-area settlement in 1788. When the 1,000-acre (400 ha) airfield opened in 1925 it was the largest municipal airfield in the world.[3]

On December 17, 1925, the Embry-Riddle Company was formed at Lunken Airport by T. Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle. A few years later the company moved to Florida, and later became the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In 1928 the T. E. Halpin Development Co, later the Metal Aircraft Corporation produced 22 of the high-wing Flamingo at the airport.[4] Also in 1928, Aeronca Aircraft Corporation was formed to build cheap light aircraft; the factory building, hangar 4, is still in use.[5] Over 500 C-2 and C-3 aircraft were built here. Airline flights began in the late 1920s; in 1938 American Airlines and Marquette Airlines were using the new $172,000 terminal building.[6]

Lunken Airport was supplanted by the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport after flooding from the Ohio River and introduction of larger aircraft that needed longer runways.[7] The flooding prompted the airport's nickname of "Sunken Lunken". During the Ohio River flood of 1937, the airfield and two-story main terminal building at the southwest corner of the airport were submerged, except for the third-floor air traffic control "tower". A plaque (which appears from ground level to be a single black brick) on the terminal building, facing the airfield, indicates the high-water mark.[8] In 1964 the FAA designated the airport as a general reliever airport. As business jet travel expanded, the 6100-ft parallel runway 2R was added about 1965 (requiring relocation of the Little Miami River).[6]

Today the old control tower is home to the Lunken Cadet Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, and is the oldest standing control tower in the United States.[9] The property also contains public recreation areas, including an 18-hole golf course, playgrounds, and walking/biking paths on the levee surrounding the airfield. In 2009 Ultimate Air Shuttle began operations at Lunken with a flight to Chicago–Midway, and has since expanded to four cities, including Chicago, New York, Charlotte, and Cleveland. Currently, many Cincinnati-area companies base their aircraft at the airport due to its proximity to downtown Cincinnati, but most airlines use Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.[2] Various proposals have taken place to add air service to the airport, including by Allegiant Air, which started operations at CVG instead, and Flamingo Air, which didn't happen.[6]

Airport visitors[edit]

In 1927 Charles Lindbergh landed at Lunken and was mobbed by well-wishers.[10] In 1964 a large crowd of fans greeted The Beatles as they flew into and out of Lunken for their concert at Cincinnati Gardens.[3]

Several U.S. presidents and other dignitaries have arrived at Lunken; on October 30, 2007, Air Force One landed at Lunken as President George W. Bush visited abutting Cincinnati neighborhood Hyde Park for a fund-raiser for Republican Congressman Steve Chabot.[11] On October 22, 2008, Republican Presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain and vice-presidential candidate Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of 12,000 in hangar A-10. Gretchen Wilson performed to start the rally. Cindy McCain and Todd Palin were also in attendance. Introducing them was former Republican Congressman (now US Senator) Rob Portman.[12][13] In 2011 the airport served as a backdrop for scenes in the film The Ides of March.[14] On February 5, 2018, a Boeing C-32 flying as Air Force One landed at Lunken bringing President Donald J. Trump for an address to the employees of Sheffer Corporation in nearby Blue Ash.[citation needed]


The Sky Galley restaurant has been in nearly continuous operation for decades, and is so named because the first meals served on a commercial airliner (American Airlines) were prepared here.[15] The Sky Galley is housed in the terminal building and has large windows and a patio dining area facing the airfield, allowing views of small aircraft and corporate jets taking off and landing.[16]


Lunken Airport from Alms Park

Cincinnati Municipal Airport – Lunken Field covers 1,140 acres (460 ha) and has three runways:[1]

  • 3L/21R: 3,802 x 100 ft (1,159 x 30 m) Asphalt
  • 3R/21L: 6,101 x 150 ft (1,860 x 46 m) Asphalt
  • 7/25: 5,128 x 100 ft (1,563 x 30 m) Asphalt

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations Refs
Ultimate Air Shuttle Atlanta–Peachtree, Charlotte, Chicago–Midway, Cleveland–Burke, Morristown (NJ) [17]

NetJets also has a facility in Cincinnati.[18]


Airlines Destinations
AirNet Express Columbus–Rickenbacker


Location within Cincinnati

In 2004 the airport had 108,904 aircraft operations, an average of 298 per day: 83% general aviation, 17% air taxi, 1% military and <1% scheduled commercial. 314 aircraft are based at this airport: 62% single-engine, 21% jet, 15% multi-engine and 1% helicopter.[1]

Top destinations (October 2016 - September 2017)[19][edit]

Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Cleveland, Ohio 7,820 Ultimate Air Shuttle
2 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 5,970 Ultimate Air Shuttle
3 Morristown, New Jersey 4,530 Ultimate Air Shuttle
4 Charlotte, North Carolina 4,070 Ultimate Air Shuttle
5 Atlanta, Georgia 1,030 Ultimate Air Shuttle

Total passengers[edit]

Year Total Passengers Change
1929 8,528 Steady
2005 451 Steady
2006 729 Increase 161.6%
2007 636 Decrease -12.8%
2008 2,039 Increase 320.5%
2009 0 Decrease
2010 0 Steady
2011 0 Steady
2012 27 Increase
2013 0 Decrease
2014 24,490 Increase
2015 31,750 Increase 29.6%
2016 49,530 Increase 56.0%
2017 52,000 Increase 5.0%

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 9 August 1931, a Ford Trimotor crashed after takeoff from the airport, killing the two crew and four passengers.[20]
  • On 19 February 1960, a twin engine airplane belonging to Champion Paper and Fibre Company crashed in Madeira, Ohio after taking off from the airport, killing all three on board.[21]
  • On 21 February 1963, a North American B-25 Mitchell made an emergency landing at the airport after an engine failure.[22]
  • On 30 March 1968, a Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer crashed on final approach to the airport when the left wing struck the ground, killing the pilot.[23]
  • On 27 July 1973, a Beechcraft Travel Air crashed after taking off from the airport, killing one passenger and injuring the pilot and two other passengers.[24]
  • On 25 October 1973, a Beechcraft Queen Air crashed into the Little Miami River after taking off from the airport, killing the pilot and a passenger and injuring two additional passengers.[25]
  • On 29 September 1979, a Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe crashed in Loveland, Ohio after taking off from the airport, killing the four crew.[26]
  • On 7 April 1981, a Learjet 23 was damaged by a bird strike after takeoff from the airport and forced to return for an emergency landing. The copilot was killed and the pilot seriously injured.[27]
  • On 16 December 1982, a Cessna 411 crashed into a bookstore in Montgomery, Ohio on approach to land at the airport, killing the six people on board and injuring four more on the ground. One of those killed was Carl Johnson, who had embezzled $614,000 and was planning to lead authorities to the location of a buried portion of the money.[28][29]
  • On 20 June 1984, a Cessna 340A crashed after taking off from the airport, killing the pilot and 3 passengers.[30][31]
  • On 25 November 1986, a Bell 206 JetRanger news helicopter belonging to WKRC crashed after taking off from the airport, killing the pilot and passenger.[32]
  • On 26 January 1994, a Beechcraft Baron crashed in Newtown, Ohio after taking off from the airport, killing the pilot.[33]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for LUK (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-07-05
  2. ^ a b Mecklenborg, Jake. "Lunken Airport (LUK)". Retrieved 27 March 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Lunken Airport History". City of Cincinnati. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2018. 
  4. ^ Ohio Historical Society. Timeline: a publication of the Ohio Historical Society, Volume 23. 
  5. ^ "Reynolds Jet Signs Agreement To Lease Historic Hangar 4 At Lunken Airport, Cincinnati, OH". Reynolds Jet. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Lunken Master Plan". City of Cincinnati. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Spencer, Bernie. "CVG". Northern Kentucky Views. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  8. ^ Stulz, Larry (February 14, 2008). "Lunken Airport". 
  9. ^ "Lunken Cadet Squadron 078". 
  10. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1943). Cincinnati, a Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors. p. 131. ISBN 9781623760519. 
  11. ^ Wessels, Joe, Air Force One Pays 1st Visit to Lunken, Cincinnati Post, October 30, 2007
  12. ^ Palin, McCain Rally At Airport, USA Today, October 23, 2008
  13. ^ Palin, McCain Address Rally at Lunken Airport, Kentucky Post, October 22, 2008 [1]
  14. ^ John Kiesewetter (29 July 2011). "Area plays big part in movie trailer for Clooney's 'Ides of March'". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 
  15. ^ "Summer 2003". Pilot Getaways. Airventure Publishing, LLC. Retrieved 27 March 2018. 
  16. ^ Hoevener, Laura (2010). Adventures Around Cincinnati. Hillcrest Publishing Group. p. 59. ISBN 9781936107438. 
  17. ^ "Ultimate Air Shuttle Timetable" (PDF). Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  18. ^ Brownfield, Andy (26 September 2016). "Cincinnati NetJets subsidiary downsizing facility, laying off 80". Cincinnati Business Courier. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  19. ^ "LUK Traffic Stats". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. US Department of Transportation. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Accident description [9 August 1931]". Aviation Safety Network. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  21. ^ "3 DIE IN PLANE CRASH NEAR SCHOOL". The Hammond Times. Associated Press. 19 February 1960. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  22. ^ "B-25 CRASH LANDS AT LUNKEN". Cincinnati Aviation Heritage Society & Museum. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  23. ^ "NTSB Identification: CHI68A0085". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  24. ^ "NTSB Identification: CHI74FEG03". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  25. ^ "NTSB Identification: NYC74AN034". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  26. ^ Noble, Greg (10 August 2017). "From The Vault: Military helicopter crashes into exclusive Clermont County home in 1979". Scripps Media, Inc. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  27. ^ "Accident description [7 April 1981]". Aviation Safety Network. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  28. ^ Noble, Greg (11 December 2017). "This Week in Cincinnati History: Location of embezzled bank money lost in 1982 plane crash". Scripps Media, Inc. Associated Press. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  29. ^ Prochnau, Bill (17 December 1982). "Crash Kills Embezzler, 4 FBI Men". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  30. ^ "Investigator confirms crashed plane carrying wrong fuel". United Press International, Inc. UPI. 21 June 1984. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  31. ^ "National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Final Report [CHI84MA249]". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  32. ^ "HELICOPTER CRASH KILLS NEWS TEAM". Daily News Record. Harrisonburg, Virginia. Associated Press. 26 November 1986. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  33. ^ "National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Final Report [BFO94FA032]". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 

External links[edit]