Salina Regional Airport
Salina Regional Airport
|Owner||Salina Airport Authority|
|Elevation AMSL||1,288 ft / 393 m|
Salina Regional Airport (IATA: SLN, ICAO: KSLN, FAA LID: SLN), formerly Salina Municipal Airport, is a public airport three miles southwest of Salina, in Saline County, Kansas. The airport is owned by the Salina Airport Authority. It is primarily used for general aviation operations, with service by one passenger airline, SkyWest Airlines (operating as United Express), subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.
Salina Regional Airport is the home of the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus Aviation Program with degrees available in Airport Management, Aviation Certificates, Aviation Electronics, Aviation Maintenance Management, Aviation Safety, Professional Pilot, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Design and Integration, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight and Operations.
The airport is on the site of the former Schilling Air Force Base (previously known as Smoky Hill Army Air Field and Smoky Hill Air Force Base).
The construction of military airfields after the Pearl Harbor Attack that caused the entry of the United States into World War II resulted in the construction of the Smoky Hill Army Air Field (AAF) on 2,600 acres (1,052 ha), southwest of Salina, Kansas. The first unit associated with the airfield was the 376th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron, whose engineers first laid out the base in April 1942. Construction began in May 1942 with the aid of nearly 7,000 construction workers. The airfield was officially activated on 1 September 1942 and was assigned to the II Bomber Command, Second Air Force.
Enough construction was completed that the 376th moved into facilities on 10 September. The first aircraft to arrive, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, arrived later that month and were assigned to the 346th Bombardment Group. The mission of Smoky Hill AAF was that of a Second Phase Heavy Bomber Operational Training Unit (OTU). Combat groups formed in First Phase training were reassigned to the airfield, training focused to teamwork of the combat crew was stressed: bombing, gunnery, and instrument flight missions were performed by full crews. Upon completion, the groups moved on to third phase the final level of training before overseas deployment to the combat theaters.
The 366th was joined by the 400th Bombardment Group in the training mission at Smoky Hill AAF on 31 July 1943. The 366th concentrated on B-17 Flying Fortress training; the 400th on B-24 Liberator training.
The airport was the takeoff and landing point for the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, flown by Steve Fossett in the first nonstop, non-refueled solo circumnavigation of the earth from February 28 to March 3, 2005. Fossett's later nonstop non-refueled solo circumnavigation in the GlobalFlyer was also Salina to Salina, from March 14 to March 17, 2006, setting a new record for greatest distance traveled on a closed course.
Salina Regional Airport has memorialized the records set by Steve Fossett with Fossett Plaza. The plaza features a memorial, seating area, plaques with the story of the Global Flyer and Steve Fossett, and a viewing area to observe the many flight operations at the airport.
Facilities and aircraft
Salina Regional Airport covers 2,862 acres (1,158 ha) at an elevation of 1,288 feet (393 m) above mean sea level. It has four asphalt runways: 17/35 is 12,300 by 150 feet (3,749 x 46 m); 12/30 is 6,510 by 100 feet (1,984 x 30 m); 18/36 is 4,301 by 75 feet (1,311 x 23 m); 4/22 is 3,648 by 75 feet (1,112 x 23 m).
Possessed of such a long runway and located approximately 85 miles southeast from the continental center of the United States, many corporate and private jets stop at this airport to refuel and allow passengers to have a break, earning Salina the moniker "America's Fuel Stop." Avflight Salina is responsible for all fueling and ground handling of transient and military aircraft.
The airport also hosts a variety of Forward Operating Location (FOL) activity and has been the operating site for many missions by NASA, NOAA, Wings of Freedom, the Commemorative Air Force and Virgin Atlantic Global.
Airline and destinations
|United Express||Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Hays|
A report from the 40th Bombardment Wing in 1953 described the problem. "One of the foremost and the first problems encountered was an excessive amount of solvent being required to properly wash and clean aircraft," the report said. "Some method of reducing the amount of solvent used was needed. This problem was met by installing a system of settling tanks ... Approximately 12,000 to 14,000 gallons of solvent are used per month."
In 1989, the Salina School District unearthed three of 107 underground fuel storage tanks on its vo-tech property. It first became known that Trichlorethylene (TCE), a degreaser used to clean aircraft and a carcinogen, as well as other compounds disposed of on the former base, have migrated into the soil and groundwater, forming a toxic plume. In 1999, the US Army Corps of Engineers published its first remedial investigation. In 2005, the Corps shared the draft of a second remedial investigation of the contamination in the Salina Airport Industrial Area. Residents in the area of the plume were advised not to drink the water, per the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Soilwater intrusion assays in 1999 by EPA and again in 2005 showed vapor levels inside Kansas State University's Tullis building did not exceed state standards for air quality, but they may exceed federal EPA guidelines. As of 2005, the federal government had spent more than $17 million studying the problem in its jurisdiction. In December 2007 the Corps groundwater contamination cleanup was put on hold. In August 2008, the city of Salina offered to clean-up former Schilling AFB, as suggested by the Corps.
In 2010, after the plume had reached residential areas near the former base, Salina officials, the Salina Airport Authority, the Salina school district and Kansas State University – Salina (now Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus), who own 96% of the property filed a federal lawsuit in Kansas City, Kansas, for the clean up costs. In spring of 2013 the Department of Justice signed a settlement that the government would pay $8.4 million merely toward developing the plan to clean up the former base. A remedial investigation, feasibility study and cleanup remedy were estimated to cost about $9.3 million, of which the Salina public entities agreed to pay $936,300. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment oversees the cleanup process. As of September 2015 studies have continued to find groundwater contamination in soil and bedrock, and no concentrations of vapor requiring immediate action were found in an area around Salina Regional Airport.
- Essential Air Service documents (Docket DOT-OST-2002-11376) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- 90 Day Notice (January 23, 2002): from Midwest Express Inc., a Mesa Air Group subsidiary, of intent to discontinue scheduled non-subsidized Essential Air Service between Salina, Kansas, and Kansas City effective April 20, 2002.
- Order 2002-3-31 (March 29, 2002): prohibiting Air Midwest, Inc., d/b/a US Airways Express, from terminating its unsubsidized service at Salina, Kansas; and requiring the carrier to maintain service between the community and Kansas City, Missouri, for an initial 30-day period following the end of the notice period; and requesting proposals from carriers interested in providing replacement service at the community.
- Order 2004-2-14 (February 17, 2004): selects Air Midwest, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mesa Air Group, Inc., d/b/a US Airways Express, to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) for a two-year period at Manhattan and Salina, Kansas, at a combined annual subsidy rate of $721,605.
- Order 2006-3-15 (March 15, 2006): re-selecting Air Midwest, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mesa Air Group, Inc., d/b/a US Airways Express, to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) for the two-year period beginning March 1, 2006, at Manhattan and Salina, Kansas, at a combined annual subsidy rate of $974,008.
- Order 2007-12-25 (December 21, 2007): re-selecting Air Midwest, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mesa Air Group, Inc., d/b/a US Airways Express to provide subsidized essential air service (EAS) at Manhattan and Salina, Kansas, for a total annual subsidy of $1,619,566 for the two-year period beginning March 1, 2008.
- Order 2008-2-5 (February 1, 2008): prohibiting Air Midwest, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Mesa Air Group, Inc., d/b/a US Airways Express from suspending its subsidized essential air services at Manhattan and Salina, Kansas, until Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. begins full replacement service, and selecting Great Lakes to provide those services for a new two-year period at an annual subsidy rate of $1,997,237.
- Order 2009-11-25 (November 30, 2009): requesting proposals from carriers interested in providing essential air service (EAS) at Salina, Kansas, for the two-year period beginning April 1, 2010, with or without subsidy. With respect to this order, we are soliciting proposals for service to Salina only. In the past, the communities of Salina and Manhattan were handled under the same contract because the flights were historically routed Salina-Manhattan-Kansas City. However, on or about August 26, 2009, American Eagle inaugurated subsidy-free regional jet service from Dallas-Fort Worth to Manhattan.
- Order 2010-3-17 (March 12, 2010): selecting SeaPort Airlines to provide essential air service (EAS) at Salina, Kansas, for a first-year annual subsidy of $1,489,435 and a second-year of $1,493,381 for the two-year period beginning when it inaugurates full EAS.
- Order 2012-2-4 (February 3, 2012): re-selecting SeaPort Airlines Inc. to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) at Salina, Kansas, using 9-seat Pilatus PC-12 aircraft for the four-year period beginning April 1, 2012, through March 31, 2016, for an annual subsidy of $1,490,479.
- FAA Airport Master Record for SLN ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
- KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Summer 1959 issue
- AFHRA Smoky Hill Army Air Field
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Timothy Rogers (2016-02-11). "Great Lakes Airlines Selected for Salina, KS Flights". Salina Airport Authority. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
- "United schedules additional domestic routes in S18". Routes Online. January 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- Duane Schrag (18 September 2005). "Contamination conundrum". Salina Journal. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Tim Unruh (July 1, 2005). "SALINA AIRPORT AUTHORITY:How safe is our water? Local officials want feds to deal with contaminants". Salina Journal.
- Duane Schrag (28 August 2005). "Tainted air". Salina Journal.
- Michael Strand (7 December 2007). "Corps groundwater contamination cleanup on hold". Salina Journal.
- "Corps groundwater contamination cleanup on hold". Salina Journal. August 15, 2008.
- Maria Sudekum, (26 March 2013). "Feds OK Schilling AFB cleanup settlement". airforcetimes.com. Gannett Media. Associated Press. Retrieved 27 August 2014.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- TIM HORAN (26 September 2015). "Investigation of Schilling contamination continues". Salina Journal. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Salina Airport Authority, official site
- Aerial image as of August 1991 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective January 2, 2020
- FAA Terminal Procedures for SLN, effective January 2, 2020
- AC-U-KWIK information for KSLN
- Resources for this airport: