Ottumwa Regional Airport

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Ottumwa Regional Airport
Ottumwa Regional Airport.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Ottumwa
ServesOttumwa, Iowa
Elevation AMSL845 ft / 258 m
Coordinates41°06′24″N 092°26′53″W / 41.10667°N 92.44806°W / 41.10667; -92.44806
OTM is located in Iowa
OTM is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13/31 5,885 1,794 Asphalt/Concrete
4/22 4,600 1,402 Asphalt
Aircraft operations (2015)16,450
Based aircraft (2017)25

Ottumwa Regional Airport[1][2] (IATA: OTM, ICAO: KOTM, FAA LID: OTM), formerly Ottumwa Industrial Airport, is six miles northwest of Ottumwa, in Wapello County, Iowa.[1] The airport is owned by the City of Ottumwa and is operated by the Airport Advisory Board. It is listed as a general aviation airport in the National Plan of Integrated Airport System (NPIAS) and as an Enhanced Service Airport in the Iowa Aviation System Plan.[3]


Naval base[edit]

Trainer aircraft overfly Administration Building

NAS Ottumwa (a.k.a. Ottumwa Naval Air Station) was constructed as a Naval Training Center shortly after America's entry into World War II. The Navy, faced with providing aviators and support personnel for a two-front war, began a massive campaign of rapid expansion. On April 15, 1942 the U.S. Navy Site Selection Board met with Ottumwa city officials and determined a 1,400 acre tract of land a few miles north of the city would be a suitable location for a primary flight training facility. Based on their recommendation, Navy Secretary Frank Knox approved the location on July 9, 1942, and on August 6, 1942 groundbreaking for the base was held.[4] The first group of Naval Aviation Cadets arrived at the base on March 10, 1943 and flight training officially began four days later. Another first for NAS Ottumwa occurred on May 30, 1943 when the first group of U.S. Navy WAVES arrived.[4] At its peak, NAS Ottumwa was averaging one thousand flight hours per day, and over 600,000 flight hours logged by the time the base was closed.[5] Aircraft used in flight training were mostly the SNJ, the N3N Canary, and the N2S Kaydet. Around sixty buildings—hangars, control tower, barracks, classrooms and sundry others—were built for the Navy's use. The base avenues were named for U.S. Navy aircraft carriers that served early in World War II: Enterprise, Hornet, Langley, Lexington, Wasp and Yorktown. Streets were named for U.S. Navy Admirals Dewey, Farragut, Moffett, and Sims along with Marine Corps General Smedley Butler and American Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones.[6] One thing that set NAS Ottumwa apart from most other temporary Naval air training facilities around the nation was the quality of materiels used in construction.[7] Wood-frame, clapboard-sided buildings were the norm at most bases, However concerned about the poor quality of wood available for base construction due to a nationwide shortage and the delays that might ensue at NAS Ottumwa, the base commander instead sought out other construction materiels. Ottumwa Brick and Tile, a factory located not far from the NAS Ottumwa site, provided high-quality, durable brick for the base construction.[7] Because of that, several of the buildings, approximately fourteen in various states of disrepair, remain.[7] A series of 19 auxiliary landing strips, mostly unpaved, were also established within a 25-mile radius of Ottumwa.[8]

Flightline at NAS Ottumwa, mid-1940s

Among the thousands of Navy personnel who served at the base was Richard M. Nixon, later U.S. Vice-President and President. Nixon was stationed at NAS Ottumwa from October 1942 until May 1943.[9] Several other notables also served at NAS Ottumwa, including Scott Carpenter, one of the seven Project Mercury astronauts and the second American to orbit the Earth.[10] College Football Hall of Famer Bob Steuber, and Jesse L. Brown, the U.S. Navy's first African-American pilot.[11] In all, over 4,600 naval aviators earned their "wings of gold" at NAS Ottumwa.[7]

With the end of World War II, NAS Ottumwa changed from a flight training role to classroom-based pre-flight training on December 7, 1945.[4]

On May 20, 1947 the U.S Secretary of the Navy ordered that the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight school at NAS Ottumwa be moved to NAS Pensacola.[12] This was completed by October 1947, with the last Navy plane leaving Ottumwa on October 2. The City of Ottumwa acquired the base by lease on October 20, 1947. Outright ownership would be granted to the city on September 16, 1957.[4] Efforts to save part of the airport's naval aviation past are currently underway. The Administration Building from NAS Ottumwa is being restored by the non-profit group Friends of the Naval Air Station Ottumwa.[10] The building, which had been unused since 1984, was in a state of considerable disrepair when the group took over its care. Once renovations are done it will repurposed as a Naval air and space museum. In June, 2013 the administration building was approved for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.[13] It is one of only fourteen buildings built for and used by NAS Ottumwa still existing.[6]

NAS Ottumwa, mid-1940s

Civil use[edit]

In 1947 Mid-Continent Airlines began flying to Ottumwa; in 1956 successor Braniff Airlines was replaced by Ozark Airlines.[14] Ozark Airlines ended service to Ottumwa in 1979, replaced by Mississippi Valley Airlines until 1983. In 1985 Ottumwa Industrial Airport was served by Great Lakes Aviation, that service ending in 2001. Ottumwa has had no airline since then.

In 2002 the City of Ottumwa, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration built a new terminal at the airport, replacing the World War II-era operations building that had served as the terminal. The new facility cost nearly $1 million. The airport was renamed in 2008 from Ottumwa Industrial Airport to Ottumwa Regional Airport.[15]

Ottumwa Regional Airport received a $3.9 million renovation in 2009. Most of the work centered on repaving and extending runway 4/22 with an asphalt surface, as well as adding a new parallel taxiway and upgrading lighting.[16]

Other uses[edit]

Since being taken over by the city of Ottumwa, the facility has seen many non-aviation uses, many related to education. Ottumwa Industrial Park, next to the airport on land originally part of NAS Ottumwa, has attracted manufacturing and office buildings to the area. A Job Corps training facility opened in the park in 2012.[17] The largest educational presence though is Indian Hills Community College. Their "North Campus", one of two in Ottumwa, offers education programs in aviation maintenance technology, pilot training, avionics technology, as well as automotive collision repair, commercial driver training and welding.[18]


The airport covers 1,600 acres (650 ha) at an elevation of 845 feet (258 m). It has two runways: 13/31 is 5,885 by 150 feet (1,794 x 46 m) asphalt/concrete and 4/22 is 4,600 by 100 feet (1,402 x 30 m) asphalt.[1] Runway 13/31 is the primary runway; Runway 31 has an ILS (Instrument Landing System).

In the year ending June 23, 2015 the airport had 16,450 general aviation aircraft operations, average 45 per day. In January 2017, 25 aircraft were based at this airport: 17 single-engine, 3 multi-engine and 5 jet.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e FAA Airport Master Record for OTM (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective Jan 5, 2017.
  2. ^ Ottumwa Regional Airport. City of Ottumwa. Accessed 14 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Airport Summary Report: Ottumwa Industrial Airport" (PDF). Iowa Aviation System Plan. 2004.
  4. ^ a b c d "NAS Ottumwa Historical Timeline". Friends of NAS Ottumwa website. 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  5. ^ Hedrick, Tess (10 May 2012). "History of the Ottumwa Regional Airport". KTVO-TV website. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places application" (PDF). National Park Service. 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Newman, Mark (24 January 2013). "Naval Air Station nomination could fly, consultant says". The Ottumwa Courier website. Retrieved 25 January 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "NAS Ottumwa scrapbook". Friends of NAS Ottumwa website. 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  9. ^ Commander Richard M. Nixon, USNR. U.S. Navy Naval Historical Center.
  10. ^ a b Hedrick, Tess (25 July 2012). "Ottumwa Naval Air Station restoration project underway". KTVO-TV website. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  11. ^ "NAS Ottumwa alumni". Friends of NAS Ottumwa website. 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Between the Wars: 1946-1950". Fist of the Fleet squadron website. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Administration Building - National Register of Historic Places program". United States National Park Service. 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  14. ^ Ozark Airlines: 1950 - 1986
  15. ^ Kasparie, Jill (4 September 2008). "Ottumwa Industrial Airport gets new name". KTVO-TV. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  16. ^ Kasperi, Jill (17 August 2009). "Big changes expected at Ottumwa Regional Airport". KTVO-TV. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  17. ^ Deffenbaugh, Greg (8 June 2012). "Local and national leaders come together to dedicate Ottumwa's Job Corps campus". KTVO-TV. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  18. ^ "IHCC Mission and History". Indian Hills CC website. 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012.

External links[edit]