Portland International Jetport

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Portland International Jetport
Portland International Jetport Logo.svg
KPWM Aerial Wiki.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorCity of Portland
ServesPortland, Maine
LocationPortland, Maine
Elevation AMSL76 ft / 23 m
Coordinates43°38′46″N 070°18′33″W / 43.64611°N 70.30917°W / 43.64611; -70.30917Coordinates: 43°38′46″N 070°18′33″W / 43.64611°N 70.30917°W / 43.64611; -70.30917
PWM is located in Maine
PWM is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 7,200 2,195 Asphalt
18/36 6,100 1,859 Asphalt
Total passengers served (2018)2,134,430
Aircraft operations (2018)56,926
Based aircraft (2017)46
Cargo handled (2018)19,449,627 lbs.
Source: FAA[1] and Portland Jetport.[2]

Portland International Jetport (IATA: PWM, ICAO: KPWM, FAA LID: PWM) is a public airport two miles (3 km) west of downtown Portland, in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. It is owned and operated by the City of Portland. A portion of the Jetport's property, including the main runway, is in the neighboring city of South Portland.[3][1] PWM covers 726 acres (293 ha) of land.[1]

The airport is the busiest in the state. In 2018, the jetport handled more than 2 million passengers for the first time, breaking the previous record of 1.86 million set in 2017.[4] In recent years, the Jetport has benefited from service by low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, as well as Portland's increased popularity as a tourist destination. A survey conducted in June 2011 found PWM to be the most affordable airport in the region, and the third most affordable in New England.[5] In October 2011, PWM completed a $75 million renovation and expansion of its terminal to allow more airline service and more amenities for passengers.[6] In 2020, PWM received $4.5 million in federal funds to construct a 1,200-foot-long taxiway connecting runways.[7]


Early years[edit]

Postcard view c.1940s

The airfield was founded in the late 1920s by Dr. Clifford "Kip" Strange, who needed space for his JN-4 "Jenny" Biplane. Known as Stroudwater Airport, the airport received its first commercial service on August 1, 1931, when Boston-Maine Airways began a flight from Portland to Boston.[8] In 1937 the city of Portland purchased the airfield for $68,471[9] and changed its name to Portland-Westbrook Municipal Airport. "Westbrook" referred to the location of the last directional light before the airport in the nearby city of Westbrook.

In January 1934, a statewide airport survey was conducted by Captain Harry M. Jones of the Maine Emergency Relief Administration (MERA), a state division of the Federal New Deal public works programs launched in November 1933. MERA expended $816,376 across the state on labor in airport construction in the period April 1934 to July 1935. Two runways were constructed at Portland Municipal Airport by MERA, one north-south 2,400'x 100' gravel runway and one east-west 1,500'x 100' gravel runway. In the summer of 1935 the MERA aviation program had made possible the extension of the Boston-Portland-Augusta-Waterville-Bangor mail service to Bar Harbor, where an airport had been constructed by the MERA.[10] The Portland town report of 1938 reported that the building of the runways and grading of the field were by WPA labor, and the city furnished part of the material.[11] In 1940, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built Portland's first real terminal, a brick structure that is now the general aviation terminal.

According to Portland Town Reports the WPA conducted two projects sponsored by the city:

  • “Improve municipal airport”, official project number: 165‐1‐11‐111, total project cost: $669,295
  • “Complete construction of airport”, official project number: 65‐1‐11‐2213, total project cost: $93,335[12]

The present airport started to take shape in the 1950s. The March 1951 chart shows runway 1 4260 ft long, runway 10 2900 ft, and runway 15 4010 ft. Runway 11/29 was built in 1957 and lengthened to 6,800 feet (2,073 m) in 1966. The current terminal opened in 1968, when jet flights began.[13]

1960s – 1970s[edit]

Northeast Airlines long had a monopoly on commercial air travel in Portland, dating to its time as Boston-Maine Airways.[8] Another airline emerged in 1962, when Atlantic Airways began service to Boston's Logan International Airport.[14] This competition was short lived—there is no other information about the airline other than one timetable.

Jet flights began in 1968, and for the first time, Portland got a nonstop beyond Boston when Northeast DC-9s flew to LaGuardia Airport in New York. Northeast would be alone at the airport until 1970 when Aroostook Airways began flights between Presque Isle and Portland, with stops in Augusta and Bangor.[15] This airline too faded into obscurity, lasting until 1972.

That year regional Air New England began service in Portland, competing with Northeast Airlines intrastate and between Portland and Boston.[16]

In 1972 Northeast Airlines was bought by Delta Air Lines which retained its routes to Bangor, Boston, and New York.[17][18] By 1979 Delta had added Burlington, Vermont.

1980s – 1990s[edit]

In 1981 Air New England, after serving Portland for 11 years, ceased operations and pulled out of the Jetport. This departure was followed a year later by the arrival of Air Vermont, a regional carrier that flew between Portland and Burlington until expiring about 1983 or 1984.

In 1980 the passenger terminal expanded to the east with the addition of two baggage carousels. The building also expanded to the west by adding three-second-level jetways and a holding room.[19]

In 1982 PWM got its first nonstop flight beyond New York, when Delta tried a 727 to Cincinnati for a year or so.

The Portland City Council renamed the Jetport for longtime senator Edmund Muskie in February 1982, but reversed its decision three weeks later after a public outcry and a request from Muskie to restore the original name.[20]

People Express Airlines arrived in 1983, the first jet competitor to Northeast/Delta at PWM. The airline, the first low-cost carrier at the Jetport, was known for rock-bottom prices. The airline flew between Portland and Newark, still operated today by United Airlines who merged with Continental Airlines, which had bought People Express in 1987.

In June 1983 United Airlines arrived in Portland, planning to be the only airline to serve 50 states. It originally flew the Burlington route that had been left behind by Air Vermont and later flew nonstop to Chicago.

That same year, regional Ransome Airlines, doing business as Delta Connection, began a route between Portland and Boston. This ended in 1986 when Ransome was bought by Pan Am and renamed Pan Am Express.

1986 also brought US Airways (renamed USAir, merged with American Airlines), who began flights to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.[21][22] Low-cost carrier Presidential Airways also began service from the Jetport in 1986, flying a route from Portland to Washington's Dulles International Airport.[23] This would be short-lived, however, as Presidential Airways ceased operations by the end of the decade.

1987 saw the arrival of Continental Airlines when the airline bought People Express and took over their routes. It saw the beginning of Business Express, a commuter airline offering service from Portland to Boston, New York–La Guardia, and Presque Isle, originally independently, and then doing business as Delta Connection.[22]

In 1995 a terminal building improvement project was undertaken to add two-second-level boarding gates, as well as additional space for ticketing, operations, departure lounge, concessions, and an international customs facility.[19]


Interior of car rental

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, many U.S. airlines cut flights. This furthered the airlines' shift from mainline jets to smaller regional jets or turboprops at PWM. In late 2002 American Eagle stopped flying to the Jetport.

In 2004, Runway 11/29 was lengthened to 7,200 feet (2,195 m).

On September 1, 2005, Delta Air Lines ended mainline service to PWM. Despite the airline's strong history at Portland, serving the Jetport with aircraft as large as the Boeing 727 and 757, Delta briefly downgraded flights subcontracting to smaller aircraft operated by Delta Connection on Bombardier CRJ series. In the late 2000s and continuing today, Delta reinstated mainline service at Portland.

Some service began to return as the industry's economics improved between 2005 and 2006. The first step up came with the introduction of the low cost carrier Independence Air in 2005. On May 1, 2005, Independence added a daily flight to Washington Dulles on an Airbus A319, making them the first carrier to fly an Airbus out of Portland. Portland was one of the few markets that Independence Air consistently served with its A319s, and at the time of its bankruptcy, Portland was rumored to be one of its few profitable destinations.[24] FedEx Express also began using an Airbus A310 widebody jet on its cargo flights to Memphis later that year. Although the Boeing 757 is primarily used for these flights today, they will occasionally substitute out an A310 in its place.

After Independence Air went bankrupt, Portland had no low-cost carrier, causing fares to go up and passenger numbers to decline.[25] Capitalizing on the underserved market, JetBlue began air service to Portland on May 23, 2006 with four daily flights to New York–JFK aboard Airbus A320 and Embraer 190 jets. This made the Airline become the second-largest air carrier at the Jetport (in terms of available seats) nearly overnight. This addition of service inspired what is known as The Southwest Effect, where the addition of a large number of low-cost seats in a market forces down the price of competing tickets.

On June 7, 2007, AirTran Airways began seasonal service to Baltimore, and to Orlando. AirTran was the second low-cost carrier in Portland, competing with JetBlue. This was Portland's first scheduled non-stop flight to Florida. AirTran served the Jetport with Boeing 717s and 737s. At the same time as AirTran's arrival, JetBlue announced that it would be adding a fifth flight to New York City, further increasing the number of available low-cost seats. On September 26, 2007, JetBlue announced a daily direct flight to Orlando, using its Embraer 190, beginning in January 2008. The year 2007 was a record high for Portland, as the added service posted a 17% increase in passengers from the year before.[26]

In 2008, Delta Air Lines resumed mainline service to Portland, a daily flight to Atlanta on a McDonnell Douglas MD-88. A regional startup, New England Air Transport (NEAT) began intrastate air service, flying three times weekly to Aroostook County with a Piper Chieftain.[27] This was the first intrastate service offered out of Portland in more than a decade.[27] With these increases, 2008 also saw a number of losses of service, with air traffic in an overall decline as the airline industry scaled back due to the Great Recession.

At the onset of 2009, international service resumed. Starlink Aviation announced service between Portland and Halifax, Nova Scotia and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to begin in February of that year. In fall 2009, PWM built an official plane spotting area on Aviation Boulevard in South Portland, allowing aircraft enthusiasts to observe flights arriving and departing.[28] Prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, plane spotters observed Jetport activity from Jetport Plaza Road and Jetport Access Road, but such activity was subsequently prohibited in the wake of the attacks due to security concerns.[28] The official plane spotting area includes a sign depicting some of the passenger aircraft typically seen at the Jetport.[28]


In 2010 Starlink Aviation ended its service to Yarmouth and Halifax, Nova Scotia, citing the loss of a Canadian subsidy. Soon after Starlink ended their service, a Maine-based company, Twin Cities Air Service, began flying between Portland and Yarmouth on a semi-daily basis. This began on March 15, 2010.[29] Twin Cities ceased its scheduled service out of PWM in December 2012 but continues to offer the route on a charter basis.

Also in 2010, Air Canada announced that it would be launching a number of new routes out of Toronto, Canada including a flight to Portland. The twice-daily Portland-Toronto service began on May 17, 2010, operated by Air Georgian using Beechcraft 1900D aircraft.[30] Air Canada pulled out of Portland on March 1, 2013, once again leaving PWM without scheduled international service.

The Jetport began construction on its expanded terminal as well as several infrastructure improvements in 2010. Major expansion of the airline terminal – which had already been expanded at least twice[31] – took place throughout 2010 and 2011. The expanded terminal opened to the public on October 2, 2011.[6] The $75 million project,[6] designed by Gensler and built by Turner Construction,[32] brought a number of changes, including improvements to the check-in areas and security, reconfiguration of the airport access road and terminal roads, and rehabilitation and expansion of the parking garage. The new terminal features a geothermal heating and cooling system – the largest of its kind in Maine – which is expected to reduce the Jetport's consumption of heating oil by up to 102,000 gallons per year.[33] Expansion and improvements are also planned or are in-work for the General Aviation ramp, enlarging the cargo ramp and facilities, re-configuring the alignment of taxiways, improving the airport's deicing facilities, and lengthening Runway 18/36.

A survey conducted in June 2011 by travel website Cheapflights found PWM to be an affordable airport in the region compared to Manchester, Bangor, and Logan, and the third most affordable in New England (behind Bradley and T. F. Green).[5]

Terminal at PWM
FBO terminal at PWM

Airlines and destinations[edit]


American Airlines Charlotte, Philadelphia
Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Miami, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National [34]
Cape Air Boston [34]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul (begins May 28, 2021)
Delta Connection Detroit, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia [34]
Elite Airways Sarasota, Vero Beach [34]
Frontier Airlines Orlando
Seasonal: Atlanta (begins July 13, 2021),[36] Denver, Fort Myers, Myrtle Beach (begins June 12, 2021),[37] Philadelphia (begins July 13, 2021),[38] Raleigh/Durham, Tampa
JetBlue Seasonal: New York–JFK [34]
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago–Midway (resumes June 6, 2021)
Seasonal: Nashville
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul [40]
United Airlines Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Denver [34]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Newark, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh (all begin May 27, 2021)


FedEx Express Boeing 757 at Portland Jetport
FedEx Express Burlington (VT), Memphis
FedEx Feeder Bangor, Hartford, Manchester (NH), Presque Isle


Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from PWM (August 2019 – July 2020)[41]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Maryland Baltimore, Maryland 110,000 Southwest
2 North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina 77,000 American
3 Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 71,000 American
4 Washington, D.C. Washington–National, D.C. 59,000 American
5 Illinois Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 59,000 American, United
6 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 56,000 Delta
7 New Jersey Newark, New Jersey 52,000 United
8 New York (state) New York–LaGuardia, New York 51,000 American, Delta
9 Michigan Detroit, Michigan 45,000 Delta
10 New York (state) New York-JFK, New York 43,000 Delta, JetBlue

Annual traffic[edit]

See source Wikidata query and sources.

Traffic by calendar year[2]
Passengers Change from previous year Aircraft operations Cargo
2004 1,365,078 Steady 90,241 33,622,563
2005 1,455,925 Increase 6.65% 80,257 34,039,601
2006 1,410,484 Decrease 3.12% 77,422 34,895,067
2007 1,650,581 Increase 17.02% 72,985 40,257,808
2008 1,762,925 Increase 6.81% 73,776 35,295,151
2009 1,736,941 Decrease 1.47% 62,160 26,279,198
2010 1,707,426 Decrease 1.70% 60,257 22,673,881
2011 1,674,814 Decrease 1.91% 57,143 22,011,670
2012 1,671,826 Decrease 0.18% 54,566 22,405,912
2013 1,675,978 Increase 0.25% 51,568 24,520,880
2014 1,667,734 Decrease 0.49% 46,633 24,070,425
2015 1,728,746 Increase 3.66% 48,898 25,819,083
2016 1,785,649 Increase 3.29% 50,993 20,172,829
2017 1,862,213 Increase 4.29%
2018 2,134,430[42] Increase 14.61%

Ground transportation[edit]

PWM Fire Department demonstration, 2005
New security area at PWM

The airport is accessible from I-95 (the Maine Turnpike) and I-295. The jetport provides multiple ground lots as well as two parking garages.[43] A shuttle bus service called The Portland Explorer provides access to area hotels and to other local transportation, such as the Amtrak Downeaster train service and Concord Coach Lines intercity bus service at the Portland Transportation Center.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On July 11, 1944, at 4:45 PM,[44] U.S. Army Lt. Phillip "Phee" Russell was attempting to land his Douglas A-26 Invader at PWM. For reasons that were never fully determined, Russell lost control of the plane and crashed into a trailer park in South Portland's Brick Hill neighborhood. 19 people were killed and 20 people were injured – mostly women and children – making it the worst aviation accident in Maine history.[45][46] The Long Creek Air Tragedy Memorial was erected in 2010 to honor the victims of the accident.
  • On July 17, 2010, at around 3:27 PM,[47] an Aerostar Yak-52 with registration number N52MY[48][49] – a two-person, single-engine aircraft – crashed near a South Portland shopping plaza, a few hundred feet from the Jetport.[50] The plane had just taken off from the Jetport's main runway after making several touch-and-go landings[47] and was apparently trying to return to the Jetport due to a mechanical problem. Both occupants of the plane were killed. There were no injuries on the ground.[51] NTSB investigators say the plane's propeller was not turning at the time of impact.[52] The owner and pilot of the plane, Mark Haskell, was an air traffic controller at PWM.[53] The passenger in the plane, Thomas Casagrande, was a certified flight instructor and retired military test pilot who was conducting Haskell's recertification that day.[53] The sign at the Jetport's plane spotting area is dedicated in memory of Haskell.[28] The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during an emergency return to the airport following a total loss of engine power.[54]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for PWM PDF, effective September 14, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Airport Statistics". Portland International Jetport. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
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  5. ^ a b "National Survey Finds Portland International Jetport is Region's Most Affordable". Portland International Jetport. Archived from the original on October 12, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Turkel, Tux (September 30, 2011). "Wheels Up for Jetport's New Terminal". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on October 1, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Anderson, J. Craig (February 13, 2020). "Portland jetport to receive $4.5 million grant for taxiway project". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
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  9. ^ City of Portland Municipal Activities of 1938
  10. ^ Maine Emergency Relief Administration Work Program Activities May 1, 1934 - July 1, 1935 by Hildreth Hawes
  11. ^ Portland Maine Municipal Activities in 1938
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  13. ^ "History". Portland International Jetport. Archived from the original on March 16, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
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  15. ^ Don, Henchel (March 7, 2010). Larsson, Björn; Zekria, David (eds.). "Aroostook Airways". Airline Timetable Images. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  16. ^ Sloan, Perry A. (August 14, 2006). "Air New England". AirTimes. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  17. ^ "Welcome airchive.com - BlueHost.com". airchive.com. Archived from the original on March 25, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  18. ^ "74intro". Departed Flights. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Portland International Jetport - ME - Coffman Associates". Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  20. ^ Krebs, Albin; Thomas, Robert Mcg Jr (February 25, 1982). "Muskie Prevails in Naming of Jetport in Maine". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
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  22. ^ a b "PWM89intro". Departed Flights. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  23. ^ "Presidential Timetable 12/18/86". DC-9: Presidential Airways History, Fleet (B737 and BAe-146) and Memorabilia. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
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  26. ^ "Airport Statistics - Portland International Jetport". www.portlandjetport.org. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  27. ^ a b Matuszewski, Kara (September 25, 2008). "New Air Service Connects Aroostook County And Southern Maine". WCSH.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ a b c d Quimby, Beth (August 20, 2011). "Jetport Spotters". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  29. ^ "HostGator Web Hosting Website Startup Guide". www.flycharter.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  30. ^ "Air Canada Announces Service Between Toronto Seven US Cities, Including Portland, this Spring - Portland International Jetport". www.portlandjetport.org. Archived from the original on March 2, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  31. ^ "Executive Summary Report" (PDF) (Press release). Coffman Associates. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 9, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  32. ^ "Gensler". Gensler. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  33. ^ Turkel, Tux (August 18, 2010). "Jetport Project Tapping Earth's Energy". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Passenger Airlines Serving Portland, ME". Portland International Jetport. Archived from the original on August 3, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  35. ^ "American Airlines Announces Summer Service To Dallas - Ft. Worth". Portland International Jetport. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  36. ^ https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/frontier-airlines-annouce-new-service-out-of-atlanta.amp
  37. ^ https://news.flyfrontier.com/frontier-airlines-announces-3-new-nonstop-routes-from-myrtle-beach/
  38. ^ https://news.flyfrontier.com/frontier-airlines-announces-new-nonstop-flights-from-philadelphia-to-portland-maine-and-providence/
  39. ^ "Start Summer Vacation Planning Today: Southwest Airlines Extends Flight Schedule Through August 10, 2020". Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  40. ^ http://www.startribune.com/sun-country-offers-four-new-summer-routes-including-the-only-nonstop-from-msp-to-portland-maine/564512372/
  41. ^ "RITA BTS Transtats - PMW". www.transtats.bts.gov. June 2017.
  42. ^ "Portland Jetport sets all-time passenger record". Maine Business News.
  43. ^ "Parking - Portland International Jetport". www.portlandjetport.org. Archived from the original on March 12, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  44. ^ Billings, Randy (April 1, 2010). "Fundraising for South Portland air crash memorial faces June deadline". The Forecaster. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2010. It happened at 4:45 p.m. on July 11, 1944.
  45. ^ Cornish, Caroline (July 11, 2010). "Long Creek Air Tragedy Memorial is Dedicated". WCSH. Archived from the original on December 10, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  46. ^ Billings, Randy (July 1, 2010). "South Portland Air Crash Memorial Takes Shape, Dedication Planned for July 11". The Forecaster. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  47. ^ a b "NTSB Identification: ERA10FA364". Retrieved July 30, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  48. ^ "FAA Registry (N52MY)". Federal Aviation Administration.
  49. ^ "Two confirmed dead in South Portland Plane Crash". Portland Press Herald. July 17, 2010. Archived from the original on July 20, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  50. ^ The Associated Press. "Small-plane crash in South Portland kills 2". Archived from the original on March 15, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  51. ^ Hench, David (July 18, 2010). "Plane Crashes in South Portland". Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Archived from the original on July 20, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  52. ^ Hench, David; Hoey, Dennis (July 20, 2010). "NTSB: Plane Propeller Had Quit Turning Before Crash". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  53. ^ a b Billings, Randy (July 20, 2010). "Pilot Prepped for Forced Landing in Fatal South Portland Plane Crash". The Forecaster. Archived from the original on July 29, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  54. ^ "NTSB Report-Aerostar Yak 52". NTSB. Archived from the original on May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014.

External links[edit]