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Airports in the news

20 October 2011

Airports in the news

Lately, news about airports has crossed my path. I found them to be interesting and thought that you may, as well.

The Albert Whitted Airport is an historic one located in St. Petersburg FL on Tampa Bay. It is not large and was in danger of being closed by the FAA, until some of the local people formed the Albert Whitted Airport Preservation Society and became involved.

HQ building of the Albert Whitted Airport Historical Society — photo by Joseph May

This story was not repeated for Twin Pine Field in New Jersey. Ross Sharp of Shortfinals’s Blog covered this story quite well.

Historical airfields compete for existence usually because they had been built in the country but subsequent population growth encompassed many of the formerly rural fields, making their locations problematic. One can no longer go to Roosevelt Field in Garden City NY to see where Charles Lindbergh began his record setting solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean for this reason. Thankfully, the 126 foot (38.2m) long fresco of aviation history, by Congressional Gold Medal recipient Aline Hofheimer, was relocated before the terminal’s destruction. This mural can now be seen at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, adjacent to La Guardia Airport on Long Island NY (which also has a large mural in Terminal “A” (the historic Marine Air Terminal built for flying boats back in the day).

There is a saying that goes something like, “Build a mile of road and you have a mile of road. Build a half mile of runway and you have a portal to the world.” But that is not always the case. Here is an article from The Infrastructurist about some of the underutilized airports in the world. It makes for a study in economics. The airports are:

  • Ciudad Real — near Madrid, Spain (somewhat)
  • Yangyang International — South Korea
  • Hengchun Airport — Taiwan
  • King Fahd International Airport — Saudi Arabia
  • Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Lambert–St. Louis International Airport

One final but small observation: Palm Beach International Airport is one of the few that I know of which has a public viewing area to watch aircraft coming and going. It is not a perfect spot but it is a good one, especially with an easterly wind. I once saw a pilot of a small twin engine aircraft swoop in under the flight path of a departing airliner to drop into a landing on the runway of the departing airliner. A horrible decision on the part of the small aircraft pilot — akin to a driver making a right from the left hand lane at a stop light, selfishly taking advantage of everyone else complying with the rules of the road and placing them unnecessarily at risk. But he made a low altitude (less than a five story building height) sharp left turn to smoothly land on the runway. The pilot is probably a good one to have in a combat zone though not in a civil environment. Sadly, the days of the viewing area have ended, though, since two buildings are being erected which will obliterate the view.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 26 October 2011 03:09

    Joe: Do have any pictures of the aviation history fresco at Vaughn College? (Couldn’t find any at the web site.)


    • travelforaircraft permalink
      26 October 2011 08:03

      Dave: I had no luck finding an image either. Odd, since it is so large and she has such a reputation. I’ll keep looking, though. I’ll probably fly into LaGuardia early next year and get photos of her fresco as well as the mural at the airport’s Marine Air Terminal. Thanks for the search. Joe

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