Bowman Field (airport)

Bowman Field (airport)

Infobox Airport
name = Bowman Field
nativename =
nativename-a =
nativename-r =

image-width =
caption =
type = Public
owner =
operator = Louisville Regional Airport Authority (LRAA)
city-served = Louisville, Kentucky
location =
elevation-f = 546
elevation-m = 166
coordinates = coord|38|13|41|N|085|39|49|W|type:airport_region:US|display=inline,title
website = []
r1-number = 6/24
r1-length-f = 4,357
r1-length-m = 1,328
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 14/32
r2-length-f = 3,579
r2-length-m = 1,091
r2-surface = Asphalt
stat-year =
stat1-header =
stat1-data =
footnotes = Source: Federal Aviation AdministrationFAA-airport|ID=LOU|use=PU|own=PU|site=07244.*A, effective 2007-06-30]

Bowman Field Airport codes|LOU|KLOU|LOU is a public airport located five miles (8 km) southeast of downtown area of Louisville, in Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA. The airport covers 426 acres (1.7 km²) and has two runways. It is classified by the FAA as a reliever airport for nearby Louisville International Airport.


Bowman Field is Kentucky's first commercial airport and one of the oldest continually operating airfields in North America. The airport has played a vital role in the growth and evolution of the country's aviation industry. It was founded by Abram H. Bowman, who was drawn to aviation by the interest generated during World War I.

Bowman found an outlet for his enthusiasm after meeting and forming a brief partnership with Louisvillian Robert H. Gast, a pilot and World War I veteran of the Royal Flying Corps. Bowman leased a parcel of land east of Louisville from the U.S. Government in 1919 to operate the airfield, which opened in 1921.

The first business ventures began with the aerial photography business in 1921, and the 465th Pursuit Squadron (Reserve) began operations at Bowman Field in 1922.

During the Great Depression, Louisvillians would often come to the Art Deco terminal building to watch airplanes depart and land as a form of inexpensive entertainment.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Eastern Air Lines, Trans World Airlines (TWA) and the original Continental Airlines operated passenger and mail service in and out of Bowman Field. Commercial airline service continued until 1947, when operations were transferred to Standiford Field.

During World War II, Bowman Field was one of the nation's most important training bases as well as the nation's busiest airport. The facility became known as "Air Base City" when a bomber squadron moved in and more than 1,600 recruits underwent basic training in a three-month period. The United States Army Air Forces' school for flight surgeons, medical technicians, and flight nurses also called Bowman Field home.

Historic buildings

In 1988, three adjacent buildings at the airport were added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Bowman Field Historic District. They are the airport Administration Building (1929; 1936-37), the Curtiss Flying Service Hangar (1929), and the Army Air Corps Hangar (1931-32). Since many urban airports are located in industrial areas, this verdant setting is unusual and contributes to the ambience of the Bowman Field Historic District.cite paper|title=Bowman Field Historic District National Register of Historic Places Inventory report|publisher=National Park Service|date=1982-08123|url=]

The buildings of the Bowman Field Historic District are related not only by historical function and physical proximity, but by their Art Deco/Art Moderne styling and through the use of masonry materials such as brick, stone and concrete.

The dominant landmark of Bowman Field is its terminal, more commonly known as the Administration Building, appropriately styled in aerodynamic Moderne. As constructed in 1929, it was a fairly modest two-story structure with one-story wings, housing administrative and communications offices, weather station, and restaurant. During 1936 and 1937 it was nearly tripled in size. This was accomplished by demolishing the east wing and retaining the west and central sections to serve as west wings of the new building. The Administration Building faces an elliptical landscaped island surrounded by a driveway and paved parking area.


Bowman Field is surrounded by tree-lined suburban neighborhoods, but accidents are relatively rare. As of 2008, the most recent two landing accidents had occurred in April 2008 and April 2002. [cite news|title=Colorado pilot injured in crash near Bowman|publisher="Courier-Journal"|date=2008-04-08|author=Edelen, Sheryl|url=]

Current operations

Today, Bowman Field is home to hundreds of privately owned aircraft as well as several commercial operations, including Central American Airways, which opened its doors in 1946, Falcon Aviation (which can trace its roots to the old Louisville Flying Service that began operations in 1932), Kentucky Flying Service, and Louisville Executive Aviation. The Aero Club of Louisville, Inc. and the Glendale Flying Club also operate out of the airport. Several flight schools operate there as well.

For the 12-month period ending June 30, 2007, the airport had 98,722 aircraft operations, an average of 270 per day: 97% general aviation, 2% air taxi and <1% military. There are 368 aircraft based at this airport: 82% single-engine, 14% multi-engine, 2% jet, and 2% helicopter.

Kentucky Flying Service is no longer in operation. It was started by Captain Richard C. Mulloy who flew C-46s and C-47s with the Flying Tigers over "The Hump" in World War II. He was known by employees and students of Kentucky Flying Service as "Dick Mulloy."

Bowman Field is currently operated by the "Louisville Regional Airport Authority", which also operates Louisville International Airport.

ee also

*History of Louisville, Kentucky
* Kentucky World War II Army Airfields


* [ Bowman Field] (official web site)

External links

* [ Richard C. Mulloy] - who started Kentucky Flying Service
* [ Louisville Art Deco page on Bowman Field]
* [ Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms, a National Park Service "Discover Our Shared Heritage" Travel Itinerary]
* [ Glendale Flying Club]

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