Henderson Field (Midway Atoll)

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Not to be confused with Henderson Field (Midway).
Henderson Field
Starr Andropogon virginicus.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner U.S. Dept. of the Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service
Operator American Airports Corp.
(under sub-contract with Chugach Industries, Inc.)
Serves Midway Atoll
Location Sand Island, Midway Atoll
Elevation AMSL 18 ft / 5 m
Coordinates 28°12′05″N 177°22′53″W / 28.20139°N 177.38139°W / 28.20139; -177.38139Coordinates: 28°12′05″N 177°22′53″W / 28.20139°N 177.38139°W / 28.20139; -177.38139
Website www.americanairports.com
Location on Sand Island. Former runways in gray.
Location on Sand Island. Former runways in gray.
PMDY is located in Pacific Ocean
Location in the Pacific Ocean
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6/24 7,800 2,377 Asphalt

Henderson Field (IATA: MDYICAO: PMDY) is a public airport located on Sand Island in Midway Atoll, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The airport is used as an emergency diversion point for ETOPS operations. It still serves in this capacity, for instance in June 2011,[2] in July 2012[3] and in July 2014.[4]

Henderson Field was named after Major Lofton R. Henderson (killed in the Battle of Midway during WWII) and is one of 3 airfields so-named (the other 2 include the original Henderson Field on Eastern Island (Midway Atoll) and Henderson Field (Guadalcanal)). The airfield now provides access to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge - the sole "window" into the rich resources of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (established in 2006). It operated until 1993 as Naval Air Facility Midway.

After transition from the U.S. Navy to the Department of the Interior, the airport was subsidized by Boeing until 2004. Since 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Dept. of Interior) has fully supported airport operations and maintenance with some assistance from the FAA.

Henderson Field is an uncontrolled airport (no tower). Flight arrivals and departures are typically limited to night during the months of November–June when albatross are present.[5] (Midway Atoll NWR is the world's largest nesting albatross colony.)

The airfield was previously served by Aloha Airlines with scheduled weekly charter flghts to and from Honolulu utilizing a Boeing 737-200 jetliner. Continental Micronesia also served Midway with Boeing 727 jetliners during the early 1970s.[6]


Henderson Field covers 1,200 acres (486 ha) and has one runway:

  • Runway 6/24: 7,800 ft × 150 ft (2,377 m × 46 m), surface: asphalt[1]
Continental Airlines Boeing 737 at Midway to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, in 2008.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On June 18, 2011, Delta Air Lines flight 277, a Boeing 747-400 on a flight from Honolulu to Osaka, Japan made an unscheduled 12-hour stopover on Midway Atoll after pilots noticed a crack in the cockpit window and made a precautionary landing.[2] The aircraft landed safely at about 5:40 p.m. with 359 passengers and 19 crew members aboard. A replacement 747 arrived from Japan with mechanics and parts for the repair and flew the passengers to Japan at about 5 a.m. the next day.
  • On August 2, 2012, a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18D fighter jet en route from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii to Iwakuni, Japan made an emergency landing on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge due to a bleed-air leak in its environmental control system (ECS). A second F/A-18D landed shortly after them as a precaution, while their escort of 2 other F/A-18D fighter jets and a U.S. Air Force KC-10A refueling aircraft continued on to Wake Island. A Marine Corps KC-130 Hercules turboprop transport was later dispatched to Midway with a maintenance crew and parts for repairs.[3][7]
  • On July 11, 2014, United Air Lines flight UA-201, a Boeing 777-200 on a flight from Honolulu to Guam, made an unscheduled landing on Midway Atoll after the smell of smoke was observed in the aircraft. Originally intending to return to Honolulu, the pilots instead landed the aircraft at Midway after the aircraft's interior started to fill with a haze.[8]


  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for MDY (Form 5010 PDF)
  2. ^ a b "Delta 747 Forced to Land at Midway". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Marine fighter jet makes emergency landing on Midway". Stars and Stripes. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "United B772 over Pacific on Jul 11th 2014, haze on board". http://avherald.com/h?article=47729f02&opt=0.  External link in |website= (help);
  5. ^ More details on AirportIQ 5010 (airport master records and reports)
  6. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 31, 1971 Continental Airlines system timetable
  7. ^ "Dual Bleeds Over the Pacific" (PDF). Approach Magazine. March–April 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Incident: United B772 over Pacific on Jul 11th 2014, haze on board". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 

External links[edit]