Sikorsky Memorial Airport Article

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Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport
Sikorsky Memorial Airport Logo.jpg
Sikorsky Memorial Airport CT.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Bridgeport
OperatorSikorsky Memorial Airport Operations and Safety Department
Serves Bridgeport, Connecticut
Location Stratford, Connecticut
Hub for Tailwind Air Service
Elevation  AMSL9 ft / 3 m
Coordinates 41°09′48″N 073°07′34″W / 41.16333°N 73.12611°W / 41.16333; -73.12611
SIKORSKY MEMORIAL AIRPORT Latitude and Longitude:

41°09′48″N 073°07′34″W / 41.16333°N 73.12611°W / 41.16333; -73.12611
Website bridgeportct.gov/airport
Maps
FAA Airport Diagram
FAA Airport Diagram
BDR is located in Connecticut
BDR
BDR
Location of airport in Connecticut/United States
BDR is located in the US
BDR
BDR
BDR (the US)
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 4,761 1,451 Asphalt
6/24 4,677 1,426 Asphalt
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 40 12 Asphalt
Statistics (2015)
Aircraft operations47,380
Based aircraft190

Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport ( IATA: BDR, ICAO: KBDR, FAA LID: BDR) is a public airport in Fairfield County, Connecticut, [1] owned by the city of Bridgeport. It is three miles (6  km) southeast of downtown, [1] in the town of Stratford. It was formerly Bridgeport Municipal Airport.

It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a national general aviation facility. [2] It has three Fixed-Base Operators (FBO's) and several private hangars.

In 2016, Tailwind Air Service initiated seaplane service between Sikorsky and the New York Skyports Seaplane Base in central Manhattan. [3]

History

The airport was originally Avon Field, a racetrack where aircraft landed on the grass infield. It was the site of the country's first air show held in 1911, on the grounds of what is now St. Michaels Cemetery. [4] It became known as Mollison Field after Captain Jim Mollison's crash landing there in 1933 during an attempt to fly across the Atlantic. The City of Bridgeport purchased the airport in 1937, after which it became Bridgeport Municipal Airport.

In 1972 it was rededicated as the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport, honoring the airport's most famous tenant, Igor Sikorsky, who selected Stratford as the site for his Sikorsky Aviation Corporation in 1929. [5]

During the 1950s American Airlines stopped at Bridgeport with one Convair a day; operations ceased in 1960. Allegheny Airlines then provided service until 1976.

In the 1980s, the airport was served simultaneously by five carriers and or their regional affiliates: Business Express Airlines, Continental Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, US Air and United Express. [6] By 1992, airlines provided service from Bridgeport to several cities in the northeast, including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Boston and Newark. [7]

The airport has been the subject of heated debate in Stratford and Bridgeport. While the City of Bridgeport owns the airport, the whole property is in the Town of Stratford. Before the end of World War II little more than salt marshes surrounded the airport, but in the 1950s and 1960s Stratford permitted extensive residential development in the Lordship area near the airfield. Bridgeport has pushed for runway and terminal expansion, hoping to attract new service to the airport, arguing that service to the airport is necessary for the growth of Bridgeport's economy. Stratford has opposed terminal expansion and runway lengthening that would interfere with existing roads. Even when the airport was served by major carriers, Stratford advocated for limits on flights because of noise in the Lordship and South End neighborhoods. In 2003 the Federal Aviation Administration mandated the lengthening of the two runways with unpaved safety overruns at each end. Stratford and Connecticut officials have resisted the FAA effort to install the overruns, but the FAA has notified Stratford, Bridgeport and state officials that it may obtain a federal court order to use eminent domain to complete the overruns.

In June 2006 US Helicopter began scheduled flights to New York's Downtown Manhattan Heliport, continuing to John F. Kennedy International Airport. This was the first airline service since 1999. On September 25, 2009 US Helicopter suddenly shut down.

In February 2007 state legislators from Bridgeport, in an effort to force expansion, introduced legislation allowing the State of Connecticut to take over the airport. Officials from Stratford would prefer the town take ownership of the airport and oppose the proposed state takeover.

In September 2009 the last airline service was terminated when US Helicopter shut down. It had provided scheduled flights to New York's Downtown Manhattan Heliport, continuing to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

In October 2016, runway 6-24 was re-opened after being closed in late 2014 for a 300-foot length of “EMAS,” or “engineered materials arresting system” could be installed at its east end. [8]

Facilities and aircraft

The Metlife blimp on the southern field in July 2011.

Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport covers 800 acres (324 ha) at an elevation of 9 feet (3 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 11/29 is 4,761 by 150 feet (1,451 x 46 m) and 6/24 is 4,677 by 150 feet (1,426 x 46 m). [1]

Notably, both runways have a runway safety area that do not meet FAA requirements. Both are sufficiently wide, but 6/24 is 10% and 11-29 is 25% of the required length. [9]

In the year ending June 30, 2010 the airport had 67,951 aircraft operations, average 186 per day: 96% general aviation, 3% air taxi, and 1% military. 190 aircraft were then based at the airport: 74% single- engine, 13% jet, 11% multi-engine, and 3% helicopter. [1]

Airships

At over 800 acres, the airport can accommodate a number of airships, usually moored on the field south of the 11-29 runway. Often blimps use Sikorsky as a base of operations for flyovers of regional sporting events because of lack of space at other airports, security concerns, and avoiding controlled airspace around cities and larger airports. Approximately 20 dockings are made per year. [10] Visitors have included the Ameriquest, Fuji, Hood, [11]. Metlife, [12] and Monster.Com airships.

Helicopters

Connecticut Airpad 37 (CT 37) is a private-use heliport active since November 1960, featuring two asphalt helipad landing facilities called H1 and H2. [13]

Stratford Eagles Composite Squadron

The SECS is a member group of the non-profit and all-volunteer Connecticut Wing Civil Air Patrol, which is an official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, carrying designation NER-CT-022. [14] It performs various duties such as pilot training, search and rescue, disaster relief, and fire watch. [15]

Officially formed in 1963, the group moved to its present World War II era barracks on west side of the airport at 1100 Stratford Road in 1972. [16]. A predecessor group of the same name had been active in spotting German U-boats and air-sea rescue operations during the war from the airfield. [17]

Since September 2016, Major Kenneth Fortes is the current squadron commander, and the first African-American to lead a Connecticut Wing squadron. [18]

Curtiss and Sikorsky hangars

A historically important structure on the airport's grounds is the Curtiss Hangar, built in 1928 by Glenn Curtiss. The hangar served as the home of a branch of the Curtiss Flying School for several years. In 1930, Sikorsky began flying boat production next to the hangar including the Pan AM Clipper. Early Sikorsky helicopter development, including the first practical helicopter, the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300 occurred on the grounds. [19]

The Curtiss hangar was referred to as "Hangar 1", while the Sikorsky hangar was referred to as "Hangar 2". [20]

Howard Hughes kept aircraft in the hangar, Amelia Earhart visited, and Charles Lindbergh test piloted the Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake" in the 1940s. [21]. During World War II 8000 Chance-Vought F4U Corsair fighter-bombers were produced across the street and flown from the hangar for the war in the Pacific. [22] The XF4U prototype was stored in the hangar. [23]

In 2018, it was announced by the Connecticut Air and Space Center that the hangar is being restored into a museum of flight to focusing on locally manufactured aircraft including a Chance-Vought F4U Corsair, a replica of the Gustave Whitehead 1901 flyer and a Sikorsky S-60 helicopter. [24]

Airlines and destinations

AirlinesDestinations
Tailwind Air Service Boston, New Bedford, New York-Skyport

Cargo

AirlinesDestinations
FedEx Express Hartford

Notable events

  • In October 2018, an emergency landing was made by a L-39 Albatros, a Czechoslovakian-made high-performance jet trainer after it lost a piece of its landing gear. There were no injuries. [25]
  • In May 2017, the World War II B-17 bomber Yankee Lady visited the airport. At that time it was one of only nine operational B-17 bombers in the world. [26]
  • On 27 September 2013, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics named the airport and the former Vought – Sikorsky Aircraft Plant as an aerospace historic landmark. [27]
  • In 1999, scheduled air service were halted. [28]
  • On April 27, 1994 a chartered aircraft overshot the 6-24 runway and struck a fence, killing eight of the nine aboard. [29]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e FAA Airport Master Record for BDR ( Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "List of NPIAS Airports" (PDF). FAA.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  3. ^ https://flytailwind.com/flight-review-tailwind-new-york-skyports-seaplane-base-to-stratford-ct-usa/
  4. ^ "The History of Lordship!". lordshiphistory.com.
  5. ^ History of Sikorsky Memorial Airport Archived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine. from City of Bridgeport website
  6. ^ The View from - Sikorsky Memorial Airport from New York Times website
  7. ^ Small Airports: Convenience and Limits from New York Times website
  8. ^ https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Safer-runway-re-dedicated-at-Sikorsky-Memorial-9642029.php
  9. ^ http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents/ddotinfo/Chapter_2_Inventory.pdf
  10. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/nyregion/noticed-sikorskys-airship-enterprise-of-sorts.html
  11. ^ https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Hood-blimp-floats-over-region-3832150.php
  12. ^ https://www.airportia.com/united-states/igor-i-sikorsky-memorial-airport/photo/36788590/Metlife_Blimp_and_Plane_at_Igor_Sikorsky_Memorial_Airport_Stratford_CT
  13. ^ http://www.airnav.com/airport/CT37
  14. ^ http://stratfordeagles.com
  15. ^ http://www.stratfordeagles.com/id10.html
  16. ^ http://www.stratfordeagles.com/id7.html
  17. ^ https://www.lordshiphistory.com/CIVILAIRWEBPAGE.html
  18. ^ https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Stratford-squadron-gets-1st-African-American-9971543.php
  19. ^ https://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/glenn-curtiss-was-here-19082214/
  20. ^ https://www.ctairandspace.org/copy-of-volunteer-1
  21. ^ http://www.connecticutmag.com/the-connecticut-story/ct-files-connecticut-s-real-life-flying-saucer/article_a436a4cc-51e7-11e7-a6b0-0fc8458dc62e.html
  22. ^ http://www.connecticutmag.com/the-connecticut-story/curtiss-hangar-renovation-begins-on-connecticut-cathedral-of-flight-history/article_89f68f2e-d847-11e6-a57d-57f0ef2a495f.html
  23. ^ https://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/glenn-curtiss-was-here-19082214/
  24. ^ https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Curtiss-hangar-slated-for-restoration-13248237.php
  25. ^ https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Damaged-Plane-Makes-Emergency-Landing-at-Sikorsky-Memorial-Airport-498117781.html
  26. ^ https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/B-17-to-be-at-Sikorsky-Memorial-Airport-Tuesday-11170458.php
  27. ^ https://www.aiaa.org/SecondaryTwoColumn.aspx?id=19687
  28. ^ http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents/ddotinfo/Chapter_2_Inventory.pdf
  29. ^ https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Safer-runway-re-dedicated-at-Sikorsky-Memorial-9642029.php
  30. ^ personal calendar
  31. ^ "Remarks at the Bridgeport Municipal Airport, Stratford, Connecticut, 17 October 1962". www.jfklibrary.org.
  32. ^ https://londonist.com/2016/01/amy-johnson
  33. ^ https://www.ctairandspace.org/copy-of-volunteer-1

External links