Kenton County Airport Grows

Two years of operation have ended and not only Northern Kentucky, but the entire state can be justly proud of the position that the Greater Cincinnati Airport occupies today in aviation circles, and its ability to give the entire Metropolitan Area of Cincinnati the service to which it is entitled and deserves.

If we may turn back a few pages to review this accomplishment, it was said at the dedication of this airport that, “Aviation can be counted on to make great strides in development within the next decade, and the Greater Cincinnati Airport stands ready to keep pace with this progress and to give this Metropolitan Area an airfield that will enable it to become a great aviation center.”

From a possible sixteen locations within a radius of twenty miles of Cincinnati that were considered for the construction of an airport, the location was selected by the Air Transport Command as best for an airfield in this locality.  It is an area of 928 acres, at an altitude of 886 feet and located upon a plateau overlooking the Ohio River 12.8 miles from downtown Cincinnati.  There are four runways, each 5,500 feet in length and 150 feet in width.

For more than a year, this field was used by Lockbourne Air Base to train pilots for the then famous B-17 Bomber.  Near the end of the war, the Kenton County Airport Board obtained priority to proceed with the construction of an administration building, water line, loading ramps, and other facilities necessary to make this field the outstanding airport it is today.

With the foresight of the Air Transport Command and Civil Aeronautics Administration, this field has proven worthy of their selection in every respect.  When first opened in 1947, there were but 24 passenger operations per day, or 48 arrivals and departures.  Today, there are 68 operations consisting of 136 arrivals and departures.

In addition to the most modern equipment in the Control Tower and the latest design of instrument landing system, the Airport Board, at the present time has under construction the replacement of the old type of runway lights, with new high intensity landing lights.  This work will be completed in probably 90 days and from reports of similar installation at, other fields, these lights can be seen for approximately 50 miles.

As a very well known and apt pilot explained its operation. the instrument landing system is used when overcast sky prevents the pilot from seeing the field.  This instrument will guide the airplane directionally over the center of the runway and along the glide path to the end of the runway.  This is accomplished by radio beams which actuate two needles, one horizontal and one vertical, on a dial in the plane.  By glancing at this instrument that pilot can tell instantly whether he is too high or too low, whether he is to the left or right of the center of the runway he desires to follow.

A ceiling light automatic recorder make a complete record of the height of the clouds at all times, and with this information the Control Tower can advise an incoming plane exactly the altitude to approach the field.

One of the latest pieces of equipment installed is located three miles southwest of the airport and is the omni-directional range station, but few of the planes are equipped to make full use of this station now.

The Airplanes at present time using the field, and responsible for the records which we have given are: American, Trans-World, Delta, and Piedmont.  These four lines and their connections can furnish services to any part of the world with the most modern up-to-date equipment available.

Former geographical barriers and distances, oceans, mountain ranges, lakes and rivers, have ceased to exist insofar as plane travel is concerned.  The boundaries of cities, states and nations become insignificant when spoken of in connection with air travel.  Only recently there was dedicated, in Northern Michigan, an airport constructed to serve the planes of Trans-Canada Airlines.

For local charter flights service, the pilot training staff and facilities of the Boone County Airlines are used.  In addition to the above, the All-American Airways operate exclusive mail planes for fast dispatch of air mail.

A modern post-office is located north of the Administration Building, and interchange and handling of air mail and parcel post at the field effects other savings in time, which is valuable with such a cargo.

The Kenton County airport was the scene last fall of a huge air show, lasting two days, September 18 and 19, and attracting more than 60,000 visitors.

Taking part in the Air Show were Kentucky National Guard planes, a B-29 Bomber which made a non-stop flight from Barber's Point, Hawaii, to the airport; and stunt flying exhibitions.


From the Winter, 1949 issue of In Kentucky, by George S. Lyon, a former Facility Construction Engineer.