French Frigate Shoals Airport

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French Frigate Shoals Airport
USFWS aerial image
Airport typePrivate
OwnerU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
ServesTern Island (Hawaii)
Elevation AMSL6 ft / 2 m
Coordinates23°52′11″N 166°17′05″W / 23.86972°N 166.28472°W / 23.86972; -166.28472
French Frigate Shoals Airport is located in Hawaiian Islands
French Frigate Shoals Airport
French Frigate Shoals Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/24 3,000 914 Coral
French Frigate Shoals Airfield, 1961. Note resemblance to an aircraft carrier.

French Frigate Shoals Airport (ICAO: PHHF, FAA LID: HFS) is a private use airport on Tern Island in French Frigate Shoals, a coral atoll, in Hawaii, United States. It is owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service,[1] as part of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Although many U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, this airport is assigned HFS by the FAA[1] but has no designation from the IATA (which assigned HFS to Hagfors Airport in Hagfors, Sweden[2]).


French Frigate Shoals Airport has one runway designated 06/24 with a coral surface measuring 3,000 by 200 feet (914 x 61 m) at an elevation of six feet (2 m) above mean sea level. The runway is closed, except for emergencies, or with prior permission from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.[1]


The Seabees in 1942 constructed the airfield. They built a 3,100-foot (940 m) x 275-foot (84 m) runway and a ramp area sufficient for 24 single-engine aircraft, dredging coral to expand the island. Of the 27-acre (11 ha) area of the expanded island, the airfield took up 20 acres (8.1 ha). The Navy designated this airfield as Naval Air Facility French Frigate Shoals, an auxiliary of Naval Station Pearl Harbor. The 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake generated a tsunami that swept clean Tern Island, and the Navy closed the naval air facility.[citation needed]

In 1952, the United States Coast Guard built a Long Range Navigation (LORAN) beacon tower on the island alongside a 20-man supporting facility. The Coast Guard used the airfield for a weekly mail-and-supply flight. The Coast Guard installation continued in operation until 1979. [3]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for HFS (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective 29 July 2010.
  2. ^ "HFS / ESOH - Hagfors Airport, Hagfors, Sweden". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  3. ^ French Frigate Shoals Naval Air Facility

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