Greater Southwest International Airport

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Greater Southwest International Airport (Amon Carter Field)
IATA: GSWICAO: KGSWFAA LID: GSW
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner City of Fort Worth
Operator Allied Fueling Company / Allied Service Company
Location Fort Worth, Texas
Opened April 25, 1953 (1953-04-25)
Closed January 13, 1974 (1974-01-13)
Elevation AMSL 568 ft / 173 m
Coordinates 32°49′53″N 097°02′57″W / 32.83139°N 97.04917°W / 32.83139; -97.04917
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 8,460 2,579 Concrete
13/31 6,400 1,951 Concrete

Greater Southwest International Airport (IATA: GSWICAO: KGSW), originally Amon Carter Field, was the commercial airport serving Fort Worth, Texas, from 1953 until 1974. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) opened in 1974 a few miles north of the airport as the planned replacement for both Greater Southwest and Dallas Love Field (DAL) as the single main airport for all scheduled airline flights for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, although Love Field survives with Southwest Airlines being the major player there. The area is now a commercial/light-industrial park serving DFW International, centered along Amon Carter Boulevard, which was originally constructed from the old airport's north-south runway.

Early history[edit]

Starting in the 1920s, the city of Fort Worth planned to create a regional airport on the eastern end of Tarrant County, equidistant from the centers of Dallas and Fort Worth, to serve the entire metropolitan area. The city of Dallas initially had no interest in the plan, but began to consider it during the Great Depression as a means of easing the financial burden on the city government. Work on the site began in the mid-1930s. Dallas and Fort Worth planned to obtain Works Progress Administration funding for the terminal construction, until Dallas abruptly withdrew from the project when it was found that the terminal would be located one mile closer to Fort Worth. The unfinished airport appeared as an auxiliary airfield on 1940s sectional charts, under the names Arlington Airport and Midway Field.[1]

After World War II, Fort Worth resumed work on the airfield, having decided to move its primary airline traffic from Meacham Field to the new facility. The airport, dubbed Amon Carter Field (airport code "ACF") in 1950,[1] opened in the spring of 1953.[2] Fort Worth annexed a finger of land to the east, extending the city limits to encompass the new site.[3]

American, Braniff, Central, Continental, Delta, Eastern, Frontier, and Trans-Texas Airways operated from the airport, which had three paved runways and a two-pier terminal with 17 gates.[4] The April 1957 OAG shows 97 scheduled departures a day Tuesday to Thursday, more than half to Dallas. American Airlines had 30, Braniff 22, Trans-Texas 19, Continental 13, Delta 7, and Central 6.[citation needed] On December 20, 1959, jet service began with American Airlines Boeing 707 flights to Los Angeles.[1] Delta Air Lines later started Convair 880 jet nonstops to Los Angeles and New Orleans.[citation needed]

In 1960, the airport was renamed Greater Southwest International Airport (airport code "GSW") in a failed attempt to attract passengers.[5] In the same year the city of Fort Worth purchased the airport.[1] By 1967, Braniff was operating British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven twin jets as well as Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprops while Continental was flying Douglas DC-9 jets and Vickers Viscount turboprops into the airport according to these airline's system timetables at the time.[citation needed] American and Eastern also operated Boeing 727 jetliners from the airfield according to their respective system timetables.[citation needed]

For several years, the airport was home to a Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber City of Fort Worth, the last of its type produced, on static display near the passenger terminal. After the airport's closure, the B-36 was removed from the airport, eventually joining the collection at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.[2]

Decline and closure[edit]

The airport never reached capacity and saw its traffic dwindle while traffic at nearby Love Field in Dallas continued to grow. In 1964, the Federal Aviation Agency, tired of funding separate airports for Dallas and Fort Worth, announced that it would no longer support both.[6] The Civil Aeronautics Board ordered the two cities to finally come up with a plan for a regional airport,[7][8] and in 1965 a parcel of land north of Greater Southwest was selected for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.[9] As traffic boomed at Dallas-Love Field it slumped at Fort Worth as most carriers tried to pull out;[10] by 1967, the only scheduled flights remaining were a single American flight to Los Angeles and a small number of intrastate flights.[1] American was the last scheduled carrier at GSW, ceasing service in 1969.[1]

The airport remained operational as a training and maintenance facility for American, Braniff and Delta, who used GSW's ILS facilities for pilot training. It was also used for general aviation and aircraft storage.[1] During this period, on May 30, 1972, Delta Air Lines Flight 9570 crashed at Greater Southwest International Airport while performing "touch and go" training landings.[11] The National Transportation Safety Board determined that wake turbulence from another training flight, an American Airlines DC-10, had caused the Delta DC-9 to lose control as it neared touchdown. As this was a training flight, only four people were aboard the flight 9570 at the time of the crash: three crew and an FAA operations inspector. All were killed.[12][13]

When Dallas-Fort Worth International opened in January 1974, the FAA closed the runways at Greater Southwest as a safety precaution.[1]

After closure[edit]

The airfield was sold to a private real estate developer in 1979, and the terminal building was demolished in 1980 after being vacant for a decade.[1] Following the closure of the airport, Runway 17/35 became Amon Carter Boulevard for several years before it was torn up and replaced with an actual street. As of 2014 a small section of the taxiway and run-up area of Runway 17 still exists at the northern end of Amon Carter Boulevard, on the north side of State Highway 183. Remnants of the terminal driveway also remain visible to the east of State Highway 360.[2]

American Airlines expanded its headquarters to new buildings on the airport site during the 1980s and 1990s (the airline's former hangar had remained in use as a reservations center for several years before it was demolished). The airport's IATA airport code, GSW, is still in use by the American Airlines Flight Academy, which sits across State Highway 360 from the airport site.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Freeman, Paul. "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields - Texas - Northeast Fort Worth Area". Retrieved 5 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Greater Southwest International Airport (GSW) and Amon Carter Field (ACF) in Fort Worth". Planes of the Past. 
  3. ^ "North Texas' prime engine". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. December 1, 1996. p. E1. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Fort Worth Greater Southwest International Airport - 1964". DepartedFlights.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Cooper, William (May 10, 1992). "Love Field controversy should now be shelved forever". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  6. ^ Hornes, George (August 3, 1964). "Airport Dispute Seethes In Texas; Dallas and Fort Worth Fight Takes on New Urgency". The New York Times. p. 44. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ "CAB Asks Fort Worth And Dallas to Pick One Airport to Serve Both". The Wall Street Journal. October 1, 1964. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Dallas Love Field: Prepared For Takeoff?". Dallas Morning News. June 7, 1998. Retrieved March 30, 2010. The 1968 bond ordinance included provisions that Fort Worth and Dallas would each close its local airport. 
  9. ^ "Two Cities Agree on Site for a Regional Airport". The New York Times. October 24, 1965. p. F13. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Braniff to Stay at Fort Worth". The Wall Street Journal. September 9, 1968. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Jet flips on landing, 4 die in fiery crash". Wilmington, NC: Star-News. United Press International. May 31, 1972. p. 10. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  12. ^ "NTSB Aircraft Accident Report" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. March 13, 1973. Retrieved February 25, 2007. 
  13. ^ Job, Macarthur (1994). Air Disaster, Volume 1. Fyshwick, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. pp. 79–87. ISBN 1-875671-11-0. 

External links[edit]