Westchester County Airport
Westchester County Airport
|Owner||County of Westchester|
|Serves||White Plains, New York, Hudson Valley, New York metropolitan area, & Western Connecticut|
|Location||Rye Brook and Harrison, New York|
|Hub for||Tradewind Aviation|
|Elevation AMSL||439 ft / 134 m|
FAA airport diagram
Westchester County Airport (IATA: HPN, ICAO: KHPN, FAA LID: HPN) is a county-owned airport in Westchester County, New York, three miles (6 km) northeast of downtown White Plains, with territory in the villages of Rye Brook and Harrison. It is sometimes referred to as the White Plains Airport and is so identified by the Official Airline Guide (OAG).
The airport primarily serves Westchester County, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut; the New York-Connecticut state border runs along its eastern perimeter. Being approximately 33 miles (53 km) north of Midtown Manhattan, it is also considered a satellite or reliever airport for the New York metropolitan area.
HPN is currently serviced by five airlines, including regional code-sharing affiliates with scheduled flights for their major airline partners, to sixteen destinations throughout the United States. Two scheduled charter airlines also offer flights.
The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized HPN as a primary commercial service airport. Per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 904,482 passenger enplanements in calendar year 2008, 964,927 in 2009, and 999,831 in 2010.
Westchester County Airport was built during World War II in 1942 as a home to an Air National Guard unit to protect New York City and Rye Lake, part of the city's water supply system. In May 1983, with the growth of suburban Westchester, the Guard unit abandoned Westchester Air National Guard Base and moved to Stewart International Airport, in Orange County.
The first scheduled airline flights were by American Airlines in late 1949 with a weekday morning flight from New York LaGuardia Airport to HPN continuing to Syracuse Hancock International Airport and beyond and returning in the evening. Mohawk Airlines replaced American in 1955; Mohawk and successor Allegheny Airlines served HPN until 1979. The first scheduled jet flight was a Mohawk BAC One-Eleven in 1965. Before the federal Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, the airport was served in 1976 by Allegheny Airlines BAC One-Elevens and by several commuter air carriers including Air Speed, Command Airways and Commuter Airlines. Air Florida arrived in 1980 and United Airlines during the mid 1980s. American Airlines also resumed mainline service. On January 5, 2006, the last flight operated by regional carrier Independence Air left HPN for Washington, D.C. at 7:26 pm.
Major airlines that previously served the airport include American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Republic Airlines (1979-1986), United Airlines and USAir (now part of American Airlines). New start up carriers Air Florida, AirTran Airways, Carnival Air Lines and Midway Airlines also served the airport. AirTran Airways began service at the airport in 2006 with flights to Atlanta, Orlando and West Palm Beach. These flights ended on August 11, 2012. Smaller regional and commuter air carriers that previously operated flights included Air North, Altair Airlines, Business Express Airlines, Boston-Maine Airways (operating as Pan Am Clipper Connection), Brockway Air, Command Airways, Commuter Airlines, Continental Express (now United Express), Empire Airlines, Independence Air, Island Air, Mall Airways and USAir Express.
- Air Florida – Boeing 737-200
- AirTran – Boeing 717-200
- Allegheny Airlines – BAC One-Eleven
- American Airlines – Fokker 100
- Carnival Air Lines – Boeing 737-200
- Continental Express – Embraer ERJ-135 (operated by ExpressJet for Continental Airlines)
- Empire Airlines – Fokker F28 Fellowship
- Midway Airlines – Douglas DC-9-10
- Mohawk Airlines – BAC One-Eleven
- Northwest Airlines – McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
- Republic Airlines (1979-1986) – McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30
- United Airlines – Boeing 737-200, 737-300 and 737-500
- USAir – Fokker 100
In June 2005 the airport made headlines when a drunken teenager, with two friends, stole a Cessna Skyhawk from nearby Danbury Municipal Airport around 1AM and landed on a taxiway at Westchester County Airport around 4AM. The aircraft was low on fuel and allegedly flying erratically. HPN airport was closed at the time and no runway lights were illuminated. Police arrived on the scene and reported beer bottles falling out of the aircraft as they arrested the teens, all of whom were charged with various felonies relating to the unauthorized use of the aircraft, theft, and alcohol impairment.
JetBlue began service at the airport in 2007 and is now the airport's largest carrier with 11 daily round trips to five destinations. JetBlue and Delta are the only airlines with mainline jet aircraft at HPN.
In June 2009, Cape Air commenced service to Westchester with flights to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Cape Air introduced service to Lebanon Municipal Airport in New Hampshire in early 2010. All Cape Air flights depart and arrive from the Signature Flight Support facility south of the Main Terminal due to a lack of ticket counter space in the main terminal building.
In June 2010, a regional airline affiliate for Air Canada announced it would cease all flights into the airport. Commuter code sharing service with Beechcraft turboprop aircraft was flown on behalf of Air Canada for several years between the airport and Toronto. This ended international flights until service to the Bahamas began in 2011. However, the airport currently does not have any international nonstop service.
On November 18, 2010, American Airlines ended its American Eagle regional airline service to the airport and instead introduced American Connection flights operated by Chautauqua Airlines as a replacement flying smaller Embraer ERJ-140 regional jet aircraft. Later, the American Connection name was dropped and American Eagle service returned.
In 2013, Delta Air Lines announced that it would begin seasonal service to Orlando starting in December of that year. This service is currently operated on a seasonal basis by regional code sharing affiliate Delta Connection.
In August 2016, American Airlines announced nonstop service to Miami via its American Eagle subsidiary. Flights would depart twice-daily from HPN at 7 AM and 1:59 PM on Embraer E-175 aircraft operated by Republic Airways. Service commenced on December, 15 2016, only to cease in late 2017. This was the first commercial airline service addition since AirTran Airways folded.
Between December 2 and 20, 2017, Delta Airlines upgauged 1–2 flights on select days to Boeing 717 aircraft to test increased payload feasibility to HPN. This was necessitated by the airport's limit of 240 arriving and departing passengers per half-hour; operators who exceed this cap are fined. (Officially, this is said to improve service, but likely exists to pacify anti-airport residents in neighboring communities.)
As of February 2020, Delta continues to use this equipment for flights on the HPN-ATL route along with the Bombardier CRJ900.
On April 27, 2020, the airport was closed to general aviation traffic for one week and commercial airlines for about a month so Runway 16/34 could be repaved, a project originally scheduled to span four months with construction only occurring from midnight to 6 AM. This decision was made in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic-related air travel cuts, which drastically reduced commercial airline service to the airport. Some operators were forced to ferry their aircraft to nearby airports where they could continue flights. This was the first total shutdown of a U.S. commercial airport for reasons relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noise abatement systems and procedures
In its effort to mitigate aircraft noise pollution into neighboring communities, HPN maintains six major noise abatement programs that are in effect daily.
One of them is its Voluntary Restraint from Flying Program (VRFF), sometimes referred to as a voluntary curfew, that helps assuage anti-airport complainants by requesting--not mandating--that operators refrain from flying into the airport between midnight and 6:30 AM. Those that breach the VRFF are reminded of the initiative and notified of any noise complaints that may have resulted from their operations.
The airport's Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System (ANOMS) collects noise data from remote noise-monitoring terminals, and both registered aircraft and community noise levels are published in the Airport Monitor. This system works in conjunction with the High Range Noise Event (HRNE) Program; ANOMS staff can identity any operator who causes a maximum noise level event of 90.0 decibels or higher at any of its remote noise monitor terminals and advise them in order to prevent future noise level transgressions. As of September 2020, there are no fines, penalties, or aircraft restrictions associated with this program.
Additionally, HPN prohibits intersection takeoffs from its runways and restricts maintenance runups and use of reverse thrust. It also employs Advanced Authorization for operations.
Following several renovations and discussions about the airport's viability, HPN is currently served by six passenger airlines with flights to sixteen destinations throughout the United States. Although there has long been controversy over the airport and its proposed expansions, concerns have also arisen regarding travelers seeking relief from long delays at the other New York metropolitan area airports, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA). More recently, these concerns pertain to flight paths and vehicular congestion. The latter has been addressed by the County of Westchester with Bee-Line Bus System service to the airport and the encouragement of travelers to share rides to the airport.
The airport's environmental management performance is monitored through its ISO 14001 certified Airport Environmental Management System (AEMS). This enables operators to report the airport's impacts on surface water, groundwater, and noise. Airport-wide environmental management practices are also continually revised with this technology, and annual objectives and targets are determined to avoid or mitigate adverse environmental impacts. In addition, airport employees receive environmental training. In 2004, HPN was the third airport in the U.S. to achieve this level of environmental performance.
In May 2011, the New York State Department of Transportation published the "New York Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study," highlighting the economic impacts of public-use airports in New York state for fiscal year 2009. The study noted that HPN was one of only three airports in the state that increased its enplanements, surpassing the U.S. benchmark. It also noted that the cumulative economic activity for the airport was approximately $736 million.
The IATA code for Westchester County Airport is HPN. However, the origins of this code are controversial. Some believe it is derived from the name of the city, White Plains (IATA codes normally do not begin with W because those are reserved for radio signals), while others maintain the IATA code represents the first letter of the airport's three neighboring communities, Harrison, Purchase, and North Castle. The full ICAO code for Westchester County Airport is KHPN.
Facilities and aircraft
Westchester County Airport covers 702 acres (284 ha) at an elevation of 439 feet (134 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways: 16/34 is 6,549 by 150 feet (1,996 x 46 m) and 11/29 is 4,451 by 150 feet (1,357 x 46 m). Runway 29's threshold is displaced 1,297 feet (395 m) due to trees obstructing the approach path. The trees (in Connecticut) are 37 ft (11 m) tall and 370 ft (113 m) from the end of the runway.
Westchester County Airport has several fixed-base operators (FBOs), including Signature Flight Support East and West, Ross Aviation East and West, NetJets, and Million Air. Although varied in services offered, the FBOs at Westchester County Airport provide Jet A and 100LL fueling services, repairs and maintenance, aircraft tiedowns, de-icing, United States Customs, and other aircraft services. Some of the FBOs are particularly luxurious, providing limousine transportation services and deluxe surroundings.
There are three flight schools. Performance Flight operates out of the Million Air at Hangar M, while Academy of Aviation operates out of Ross Aviation West at Hangar T. Wings Air offers helicopter flight training out of Hangar T. Additionally, the Westchester Flying Club, a private organization of pilots, is based at the airport as well as the Westchester Aviation Association, a not-for-profit organization which promotes aviation education and understanding on the part of government authorities and the public.
Westchester County Airport is also the home of the New York Wing Civil Air Patrol headquarters, the Lt. Anthony L. Willsea Cadet Squadron (NY-422).
Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) is provided by Airport Operations Crews. The airport owns three ARFF apparatuses (three Oshkosh Striker 1500s), two of which are in service full-time. The ARFF Crews only respond to aircraft emergencies. All structure-related fire and rescue calls are deferred to the local fire departments. The Purchase Fire Department, for example, handles all structure calls on the southern part of the airfield, the Armonk Fire Department handles calls on the northern part and the Rye Brook/Port Chester Fire Department handle all calls on the east end, including the main terminal. EMS calls are handled by Port Chester-Rye-Rye Brook EMS, Harrison EMS and Armonk Fire/EMS depending on location of call.
In 2010, the airport had 191,017 total aircraft operations, an average of 523 per day: 23% commercial aviation, 48% heavy general aviation, and 29% light general aviation. 316 aircraft, including helicopters, are based out of this airport.
Westchester County Airport has one small, three-level terminal with six gates, of which only four can be used simultaneously because only four aircraft can be scheduled to use the terminal's ramp at any given time. The $35 million terminal was built in 1995 and designed by Lothrop Associates. Gates A, B, C, and F have jetways. The terminal also has a luggage carousel, a baggage reclaim office and two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening lanes. Passenger amenities include a gift shop, departure lounge, and food concessions such as a Dunkin' Donuts.
In November 2015, the airport began a $30 million construction project to expand the terminal and ramp areas. The project will expand the terminal by 20% and include additional check-in, screening and passenger waiting areas. The expansion will also include the addition of four new jet bridges. A separate terminal with "lodge-like ambiance" to serve passengers of private jets opened in 2019.
Airlines and destinations
|American Eagle||Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare (resumes June 3, 2021), Washington–National|
|Cape Air|| Lebanon|
Seasonal: Hyannis, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Provincetown
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|Delta Connection||Atlanta, Detroit (temporarily suspended)|
|Elite Airways||Martha's Vineyard (begins May 28, 2021), Nantucket (begins May 27, 2021)|
|JetBlue|| Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach|
|Reliant Air||Seasonal: Nantucket|
|Tradewind Aviation||Seasonal: Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Stowe|
|United Express||Chicago–O'Hare (resumes June 3, 2021)|
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|2||West Palm Beach, Florida||153,670||JetBlue|
|4||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||89,360||American, United|
|5||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||68,270||JetBlue|
|6||Charlotte, North Carolina||66,710||American|
|9||Fort Myers, Florida||45,800||JetBlue|
Expansion of the airport has raised concerns over adverse environmental impacts by numerous community advocacy groups and area residents. The facility lies between the Blind Brook watershed and the Rye Lake watershed/Kensico Reservoir. The Citizens for a Responsible County Airport which count the Sierra Club Lower Hudson and Federated Conservationists of Westchester as supporters have raised safety concerns about the stormwater runoff directed towards Westchester and New York City's drinking water supply. They are especially alarmed about PFAS discovered in groundwater tests between the Airport and the Kensico watershed.
In popular culture
- The airport was a filming location for The Best Man, Random Hearts, and Meet The Parents.
- In The West Wing episode "Celestial Navigation", Leo tells Toby and Sam to "Fly to Westchester County Airport and rent a car" to get their United States Supreme Court nominee, Roberto Mendoza, out of jail in Connecticut.
- In an episode of The Newsroom, Don Keefer explains to Sloan Sabbith that the most likely airports for out-of-town equity firm executives to use while visiting New York City in their private jets would be either "Teterboro or White Plains."
Accidents and incidents
- December 18, 1954: A Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar, registration number N711SE, operated by Sangamo Electric Company clipped trees about 800 feet before it struck the ground on a 680-foot knoll located on the instrument landing system (ILS) approach path. The ceiling was 300 feet with one mile visibility. Both pilots out of the three on board were killed.
- February 11, 1981: A Lockheed Jetstar, registration number N520S, operated by Texasgulf Aviation crashed 6,000 feet from the approach end of the runway into a heavily wooded area. The aircraft's electrical system had malfunctioned causing a deviation of the flightpath. All 8 occupants (2 crew, 6 passengers) died.
- December 24, 1988: A Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, registration number N555ST, crashed and was destroyed after departure in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC); the pilot and two passengers were killed. The crash occurred about 35 seconds after the pilot acknowledged an air traffic control (ATC) instruction to change radio frequencies, and witnesses reported that the aircraft was flying in a circle before impact. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) attributed the accident to spatial disorientation, pilot distraction, and the pilot's failure to maintain the climb; contributing factors were fog, low ceilings, and obscuration.
- June 14, 1990: A Cessna 337G Skymaster, registration number N72476, went into a stall and crashed after flying through low clouds on approach. The pilot, who did not have an instrument rating nor any documented experience with instrument flight rules (IFR) operations, had been given a special visual flight rules (SVFR) landing clearance after being advised of IMC weather at the airport. The aircraft was destroyed and the pilot and single passenger were killed. The NTSB attributed the accident to the pilot's decision to fly under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions (VFR into IMC) and his subsequent loss of aircraft control. Fog, clouds, rain and the pilot's lack of instrument flight experience were contributing factors.
- June 22, 2001: A Piper PA-32R-301, registration number N13VH, collided with terrain while the pilot was executing a missed approach in low visibility; the crash destroyed the aircraft and killed the pilot, who was the sole aircraft occupant. Immediately prior to the accident, the pilot had failed to respond to ATC, and performed a series of erratic ascents and descents. Post-crash toxicology tests found signs of chlorpheniramine, a sedating antihistamine, in the pilot's blood and urine. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) attributed the accident to "The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane while maneuvering in instrument meteorological conditions, due to spatial disorientation. Factors in the accident were the fog, and the pilot's use of a sedating medication."
- December 31, 2001: A Raytheon BE-23-B24R Sierra, registration number N2173W, lost altitude in a steep turn and crashed in a parking lot while maneuvering to land. The crash and ensuing fire destroyed the aircraft and killed the pilot, who was the sole aircraft occupant. The pilot had been flying to Northeast Philadelphia Airport when he lost radio communications and diverted to Westchester County Airport; the cause of the radio failure was not conclusively determined. The NTSB attributed the accident to "The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control."
- April 23, 2005: A Cessna 172R, registration number N61AF, crashed into trees about 1 mile (1.6 km) short of runway 16 during a practice Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach in IMC. The aircraft was destroyed and the student pilot and flight instructor in the aircraft were killed. The NTSB attributed the accident to "The flight instructor's failure to maintain the proper altitude\clearance during the approach, which resulted in an in-flight collision with trees. Factors in this accident were low ceilings, fog, and gusty wind conditions."
- June 18, 2011: A Cessna T210N, registration number N210KW, crashed on approach after the pilot took off from Westchester County Airport, immediately declared an emergency of an unspecified nature, and attempted to return. The aircraft came to rest inverted and was consumed in a post-crash fire, killing the pilot and 3 passengers. Witnesses reported that the engine was intermittently running rough before the flight and that the pilot performed an unusually large number of engine runups, while post-crash examination of the engine found evidence of severe detonation in the No. 2 cylinder and improper timing of the left magneto. Furthermore, noise abatement recordings from the airport revealed that the engine was significantly quieter on approach than during departure, suggesting that the pilot had reduced the power setting. The NTSB attributed the accident to "The pilot's decision to depart on the flight with a suspected mechanical deficiency and his subsequent decision to fly the final approach at a reduced power setting. Contributing to the accident was the improper timing of the magneto(s) that resulted in a severe detonation event."
- June 13, 2014: A Piper PA-46-500TP, registration number N5335R, crashed into trees at high speed immediately after an IMC takeoff, destroying the aircraft and killing the pilot, who was the sole occupant. Reportedly in a rush to attend a meeting, the pilot arrived at the airport 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to his scheduled departure time, demanding that the aircraft be readied immediately; the aircraft departed 23 minutes later. The accident was attributed to "The pilot's failure to maintain a positive climb rate after takeoff due to spatial disorientation (somatogravic illusion). Contributing to the accident was the pilot's self-induced pressure to depart and his decision to depart in low-ceiling and low-visibility conditions."
- PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. Effective August 25, 2011.
- User, Super. "Westchester County Airport". airport.westchestergov.com. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- http://www.departedflights.com, April 1, 1981 & February 15, 1985 editions, Official Airline Guide
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on September 27, 2012.
- "Enplanements for CY 2008" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. December 18, 2009.
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- February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide
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- OAG Flight Guide Worldwide, Feb. 2007
- Official Airline Guide (OAG), February 1, 1976
- http://www.airliners.net, photo of Northwest Jetlink Avro RJ-85 on final to Westchester County Airport
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1981 Air Florida route map
- Foderaro, Lisa W. (June 23, 2005). "Police Say 20-Year-Old Stole a Plane and Flew It Drunk". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
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- "Noise Office". airport.westchestergov.com. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
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- Vigdor, Neil (January 8, 2008). "Town Rethinks FAA Lawsuit". Greenwich Time. Archived from the original on August 6, 2007. Retrieved January 15, 2008.
- "Route 12 bus route" (PDF).
- "Holiday Travelers Urged to Get Rides to the County Airport". Archived from the original on October 26, 2007. Retrieved November 9, 2007.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering (May 9, 2013). Environmental Management System Development Process. doi:10.17226/22588. ISBN 978-0-309-22395-9.
- "Environmental Management System – ISO 14001 Certified". Airport.westchestergov.com. April 10, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- "Westchester County Airport's Call Letters Dispute". Archived from the original on January 10, 2008.
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- "About Us". Airport.westchestergov.com. May 22, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- "Lothrop Associates: Westchester County Airport Major Modernziation and Expansion". Archived from the original on May 20, 2006. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- "Westchester County Airport Concessions". whiteplainsairport.com. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
- "Luxury Private Terminal Opens at Westchester County Airport". Bohler Engineering. March 6, 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
- Pallini, Thomas. "This $70 million private jet terminal looks more like a Colorado ski chalet than it does an airport — take a look inside". Business Insider. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
- Liu, Jim. "Tradewind Aviation adds Westchester County – Stowe service in W19". Routesonline. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- "OST_R | BTS | Transtats". Transtats.bts.gov. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
- "COALITION AGAINST COUNTY AIRPORT EXPANSION CITES 'FOREVER CHEMICALS'". Yonkers Times. May 14, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- "westfilms". westchesterfilm.homestead.com. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- "twiztv.com". twiztv.com. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- "The Newsroom s03e01 Episode Script – SS". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- Accident description for N711SE at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on October 29, 2020.
- Accident description for N520S at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on October 29, 2020.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report NYC89FA056". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report NYC90FA129". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report IAD01FA070". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report NYC02FA044". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report NYC05FA075". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report ERA11FA349". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
- "NTSB Aviation Accident Final Report ERA14FA288". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Westchester County Airport.|
- Westchester County Airport, official site
- "Westchester County Airport (HPN)" (PDF). from New York State DOT
- (PDF), effective April 22, 2021
- FAA Terminal Procedures for Westchester County (HPN), effective April 22, 2021
- Aerial image as of April 1991 from USGS The National Map
- Resources for this airport: