Salina Municipal Airport

Salina Municipal Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Salina Municipal Airport

image-width = 250
caption = USGS aerial photo as of 17 August 1991
type = Public
owner = Salina Airport Authority
operator =
city-served = Salina, Kansas
location =
elevation-f = 1,288
elevation-m = 393
coordinates = coord|38|47|27|N|097|39|08|W|region:US_type:airport
website = []
r1-number = 17/35
r1-length-f = 12,300
r1-length-m = 3,749
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 12/30
r2-length-f = 6,510
r2-length-m = 1,984
r2-surface = Asphalt
r3-number = 18/36
r3-length-f = 4,300
r3-length-m = 1,311
r3-surface = Asphalt
r4-number = 4/22
r4-length-f = 3,648
r4-length-m = 1,112
r4-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2007
stat1-header = Aircraft operations
stat1-data = 84,977
stat2-header = Based aircraft
stat2-data = 137
footnotes = Source: Federal Aviation AdministrationFAA-airport|ID=SLN|use=PU|own=PU|site=06878.*A, effective 2008-06-05]

Salina Municipal Airport airport codes|SLN|KSLN|SLN is a public-use airport located three nautical miles (6 km) southwest of the central business district of Salina, a city in Saline County, Kansas, United States. It is owned by the Salina Airport Authority.

The airport is located on the site of the former Schilling Air Force Base and Smoky Hill Air Force Base. Currently it is mostly used for general aviation, but is also served by one commercial airline. Service is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. Salina Municipal Airport is also the home of the Kansas State University - Salina flight department.

The airport was used as 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 also used the airport as the takeoff and landing point for a later nonstop and nonrefueled solo circumnavigation in the GlobalFlyer from March 14 to March 17, 2006 which set a new record for greatest distance traveled by an aircraft on a closed course.


World War II

During World War II, the facility was known as Smoky Hill Army Airfield and was used as a United States Army Air Forces Second Air Force training field.

The Army Air Force acquired the land in 1943. It consisted of convert|2600|acre|ha|0, southwest of the Salina. Construction Smoky Hill Army Airfield required 7,000. In September 1943 the 20th Bomber Command and the 58th Bombardment Wing moved to Smoky Hill Army Airfield, and they were later joined by the 73d Bomb Wing. The B-17s were eventually replaced with B-29s and the base was used as a processing and staging area for heavy bombardment units going overseas.

Aircraft primarily from Smoky Hill Army Air Field used the air space above the ground for gunnery practice, shooting at targets towed behind other planes.

Cold War

The 301st Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, was established on October 15, 1947 and organized November 5, 1947 at Smoky Hills Air Field. On March 1948, the 97th Bomb Wing moved to Smoky Hill AFB and was attached to the 301st Bomb Wing for three months additional training. On May 16th, it moved to Biggs AFB, Texas. The 301st moved to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana on Nov 7, 1949. Both wings flew B-29s.

The 22nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), equipped with the B-29 Superfortresses, moved from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa to Smoky Hill AFB, in May 1948. The 22nd Bombardment Wing shared its commander with the 301st Bombardment Wing until the 22nd moved to March AFB, California on 09 May 1949. The name of the base was changed to Smoky Hill Air Force Base in January 1948.

The Defense Department deactivated the base in August 1949, with the 301st being relocated to another Air Force Base.

In 1951 the Department of Defense reopened the base as a prestigious Strategic Air Command (SAC) base. By 1952, the B-29s of the Strategic Air Command had again begun to operate from Smoky Hill, and Strategic Air Command's 802nd Air Division was formed in May of that year. By early 1954, the 802d Air Division was also at Smoky Hill.

The 40th Bombardment Wing, initially equipped with B-29s, received sleek new jets to replace the obsolete B-29s in 1954. During its first flight on 17 December 1954 -- 51 years to the day after the Wright Brothers flew for the first time at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the 1000th Boeing-Wichita B-47 Stratojet took off, bound for Smoky Hill. In Salina, home of the 802nd Air Division, Number 1000 was christened the "City of Salina." By 1955 the Wing had completed conversion to B-47s and was also flying KC-97 tankers.

In 1955 the base was named a "Golden Anniversary of Flight Base" primarily as a result of good base-community relations. The 310th Bombardment Wing at Smoky Hill Air Force Base won top honors in SAC's 1956 bombing evaluation exercises. On 16 March 1957 Smoky Hill Air Force Base was redesignated Schilling Air Force Base. Colonel David Schilling was a fighter pilot with 23 kills against the German Luftwaffe. More than any other American officer he was responsible for the development of aerial refueling techniques for fighter aircraft. He was killed in an automobile accident near RAF Mildenhall, England on 14 August 1956. In 1959, the Department of Defense began a major renovation of the base and also began construction of the 12 silo intercontinental ballistic missile complex. During the next year, millions of dollars were spent preparing the runways and taxiways for the next generation of bombers and tankers, namely the B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker. Overall spending at the base during this era amounted to $250 million.

The 45th Bombardment Squadron at Schilling transferred to Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas in June 1960. Beginning in August 1960 the Site Activation Task Force at Schilling Air Force Base, constructed and turned over to the Strategic Air Command the first operational Atlas F hardened silo missile squadron. Schilling's Atlas missile complex was turned over to SAC’s 550th Strategic Missile Squadron on 7-8 September 1962.

The activation of the 550th Strategic Missile Squadron along with a sister squadron at Lincoln, Nebraska, on April 1, 1961, marked the first standing up of Atlas F units. In June 1962, the first operational sites for the Atlas F ICBMs were accepted by SAC and in September the squadron was declared operational. In the following month during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 550th received orders to maintain all 12 missiles on alert status. In the wake of Defense Secretary McNamara’s May 1964 directive accelerating the deactivation of the first generation ICBMs, SAC inactivated the squadron in June 1965. With the closing of Schilling AFB, responsibility for the sites passed to F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, in July 1967. The sites were disposed of in March 1971. On 19 November 1964, the Department of Defense announced that Schilling along with 574 other bases around the world would be closed. At this time the base was home to approximately 5,090 men. Within the next six months, all planes and men were relocated, including the Atlas F ICBM Squadron, and the base was closed on 30 June 1965.

Post closure

The City of Salina worked hard at formulating a plan that would lessen the economic blow to the community of the closed base. The newly created Schilling Development Council announced plans for an airport-education-industry complex to replace the military operations. Special enabling legislation allowed the City to acquire, own, maintain, operate, improve and dispense with portions of the base. By May 1965 the Salina Airport Authority had been created and the conversion of Schilling Air Force Base to the Salina Municipal Airport and Salina Airport Industrial Center began.

Air National Guard use

In 1973, the Kansas Air National Guard assumed all operating and maintenance authority for the Smoky Hill Air National Guard (ANG) Range. The Range, which was previously maintained and operated by personnel of the former 184th Bomb Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, is located ten miles (16 km) south of Salina Kansas, in the rolling grasslands of the Smoky Hills. Equipped with the B-1 Lancer aircraft, the 184th Bomb Wing's mission was to maintain the peace by providing the best air tactics training environment possible. For the range mission, the wing employed 24 full time Active Guard Reserve (AGR) personnel and two civil service employees, the full time contingent being supported by traditional Air National Guardsmen during weekend unit training assemblies and rescheduled or additional weekday drill days or active duty.

In addition to meeting its military mission, the 184th carefully manages the natural and cultural resources of the Range, protecting the environment and providing recreational opportunities, as well as generating revenues from agricultural leases.

Smoky Hill ANG Range is the largest of 15 bombing ranges in the Air National Guard. Within Smoky Hill's convert|34000|acre|ha|0 lies a convert|12000|acre|ha|0|sing=on target area which is comprised of dual conventional ranges and three large tactical ranges. The tactical ranges provide the most realistic air-to-ground training available for all types of military aircraft. Smoky Hill also has four drop zones for cargo aircraft.

World War II B-29 (VH) Units Units Trained At Smoky Hill AAF

* 39th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 1 Apr 1944-8 Jan 1945
* 44th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 14 Dec 1945-12 Jul 1946
* 346th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 3 Oct 1942
* 382nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 11 Dec 1944-8 Jul 1945
* 400th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 31 Jul 1943
* 456th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 17 Aug-17 Oct 1945
* 462nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 1 Jul 1943
* 472nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 1 Sep 1943
* 485th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 8 Sep 1945-4 Aug 1946
* 499th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) 1 Dec 1943-22 Jul 1944

Facilities and aircraft

Salina Municipal Airport covers an area of 2,954 acres (1,195 ha) at an elevation of 1,288 feet (393 m) above mean sea level. It has four asphalt paved 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 4,300 by 75 feet (1,311 x 23 m), and 4/22 is 3,648 by 75 feet (1,112 x 23 m).

For the 12-month period ending February 28, 2007, the airport had 84,977 aircraft operations, an average of 232 per day: 90% general aviation, 7% air taxi, 3% military and <1% scheduled commercial. At that time there were 137 aircraft based at this airport: 74% single-engine, 13% multi-engine, 4% jet, 3% helicopter, 2% glider and 4% military.

Airline and destinations

* Great Lakes Airlines (Denver, Kansas City, Manhattan)

See also

* Kansas World War II Army Airfields


External links

* [ Salina Airport Authority] , official site

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