Palo Alto Airport

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Palo Alto Airport
PAO - FAA airport diagram.gif
Outdated diagram
Airport type Public
Operator City of Palo Alto
Location Palo Alto, California
Elevation AMSL 7 ft / 2 m
Coordinates 37°27′40″N 122°06′54″W / 37.46111°N 122.11500°W / 37.46111; -122.11500Coordinates: 37°27′40″N 122°06′54″W / 37.46111°N 122.11500°W / 37.46111; -122.11500
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13/31 2,443 745 Asphalt
Runway 31 Runway in good condition; lights
Runway 13 Runway in good condition; lights
Bird's-eye view of the facilities.

Palo Alto Airport (IATA: PAOICAO: KPAOFAA LID: PAO) is a general aviation airport in the city of Palo Alto in Santa Clara County, California, USA, near the south end of San Francisco Bay on the western shore.[1] It is among the busiest General Aviation airports in the United States, though the #1 rank belongs to Van Nuys Airport (KVNY) [2]


Palo Alto Airport[3] covers 102 acres (41 ha) and has one asphalt paved runway (13/31) measuring 2,443 × 70 ft. (745 × 21 m).

First time pilots should familiarize themselves with the complex SF Bay Area airspace, especially the overlying SFO Class B and the abutting SJC Class C airspace. Landing pilots should also watch out for bird and jackrabbit activity.

Facilities at this busy towered airport include multiple aircraft repair shops and a staffed terminal, including West Valley Flying Club,[4] Advanced Flyers, Peninsula Avionics, Sundance Flying Club, Stanford Flying Club, Rossi Aircraft, and Palo Alto Fuel Service. The airport is located within one-half mile of U.S. Route 101.

Fifteen miles of hiking and biking trails, affording multiple opportunities for birdwatching, form part of the adjacent 1,940-acre (785 ha) Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.[5] The airport is also adjacent to a public golf course.[6] Dining options within a short walk include the Abundant Air Cafe,[7] and the Bay Café[8] at the golf course.

Instrument approaches[edit]

Palo Alto airport has two approaches, both to runway 31 with 460' MDA/1-mi visibility minimums:

The VOR approach is almost impossible to get from Air Traffic Control if the aircraft is GPS-equipped, because of the conflict with airline traffic in San Jose International Airport.

Area history[edit]

The original Palo Alto airport was located adjacent to Stanford stadium and built in the late 1920s .[9] Between 1934 and 1936, a new Palo Alto Airport was built at the airport's current location.[10]

In 1989 a comprehensive area history analysis was conducted by Earth Metrics[citation needed], based upon review of extant aerial photographs.(Earth Metrics, 1989) The photo reconnaissance flights were flown in 1956, 1960, 1973, 1974 and 1980 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and are archived by the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. Comparison of the aerial photographs indicate that no development had begun in the vicinity prior to 1956 other than the Palo Alto Airport and the Regional Water Quality Control Board Plant (terminus of Embarcadero Way). Between 1956 and 1960, no new development had taken place in the area; however, by 1973, the Harvey Gum Factory was on the subject site and structures were either completed or under construction at 1890 Embarcadero Road and 2440-2450 Embarcadero Way. Conditions were identical in the 1974 aerial photograph[according to whom?]. In the 1980 aerial photograph, the Harvey Gum Factory is standing, and additional infill construction can be seen in the area such as the Baylands Business Park adjacent and to south of the site and the structure now located at 1860 Embarcadero Road. The Harvey Gum Factory was demolished in 1982, based upon Palo Alto Planning Department records.

In 2015 the City of Palo Alto took over operations from Santa Clara County, after a 50-year lease had ended.

World War II[edit]

Note that though NAAS King City was built by an entity named "Palo Alto Airport Inc", it is not related to KPAO and located 100 miles further south.[11]

See also[edit]




  •  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004). Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy. Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005). History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Randolph AFB, Texas: Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC. OCLC 276858370.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]