Aerial view of Yeager Airport, 2009
|Owner/Operator||Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority|
|Serves||Charleston, West Virginia|
|Location||Kanawha County, West Virginia|
|Elevation AMSL||947 ft / 289 m|
Yeager Airport (IATA: CRW, ICAO: KCRW, FAA LID: CRW) is a public airport three miles (6 km) east of downtown Charleston, in Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States. It is owned by the Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority. The airport hosts McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, home to eight C-130 Hercules aircraft of the West Virginia Air National Guard's 130th Airlift Wing (130 AW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the West Virginia Air National Guard.
The airport sits on a hilltop over 300 feet (about 100 m) above the valleys of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers, and the hill drops off sharply on all sides. Arriving passengers enjoy a view of downtown Charleston or the rolling hills north and east of the field. In March 2015 a landslide caused part of this hill to slip into the valley below. The area of the slide was part of an engineered fill of 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt, created in 2007. The slide destroyed part of the emergency overrun at the end of the runway, a few buildings, and covered a section of Keystone Drive. The runway was not affected.
Federal Aviation Administration records show 225,150 passenger enplanements in calendar year 2015, a decrease of 6.8% from the 241,566 enplanements in 2014. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017-2021 categorized it as a non-hub primary commercial service facility.
Runway 5/23's heading is 235°. An Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) was built at the end of Runway 5 to act as an equivalent to a 1,000 ft. runway safety area, as required by the FAA. Yeager's secondary runway 15/33, now taxiway C, was headed 335° and was 4,750 feet (1,450 m) long. It was mostly used by general aviation.
In the year ending August 31, 2018 the airport had 30,700 aircraft operations, an average of 84 per day: 38% general aviation, 45% air taxi, 14% military, and 4% airline. In August 2018, 62 aircraft were based at this airport: 30 single-engine, 13 multi-engine, 4 jet, 7 helicopter, and 8 military.
During World War II, Charleston's airport, Wertz Field, closed when the airport's approaches were blocked by the federal government building a synthetic rubber plant next to the airport. There were already plans for a new Charleston airport.
The city started construction in 1944; the airport opened in 1947 as Kanawha Airport and American Airlines flights started in December. A terminal was built in 1950, designed by Tucker & Silling. In 1985 the airport was named for then-Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, a native of nearby Lincoln County who piloted the world's first supersonic flight in the Bell X-1. In 1986 the terminal was renovated. Concourse C, designed by L. Robert Kimball and Associates and costing $2.8 million, was completed in 2001.
On February 27, 2008, Yeager's Governing Board voted to close the secondary runway, Rwy 15/33, to allow construction of two new hangars and ramp space for four more C-130s to be based at the Air National Guard facility.[deprecated source] It will allow the airport to triple the general aviation area's hangar space and create room for off-runway businesses, and provide parking for up to ten additional commercial airliners. $5 million was given to the airport to build a canopy around the front of the terminal. An additional $2 million was given for a covered walk-way from the terminal to the parking garage.
On June 25, 2009, AirTran Airways began service from Charleston to Orlando. AirTran was the first low cost airline at Yeager Airport since Independence Air left years before. AirTran used the Boeing 717-200 until June 3, 2012, when AirTran's last flight departed from Yeager Airport.
On March 3, 2011, Spirit Airlines began flights to Fort Lauderdale and on May 5, 2011, Spirit started seasonal flights between Charleston and Myrtle Beach. On June 10, 2012 Spirit ended service to Fort Lauderdale, leaving seasonal service to Myrtle Beach.
People Express Airlines planned service to Orlando International Airport, on a similar schedule to AirTran's former operations at Yeager Airport, but filed for bankruptcy before starting.
On August 10, 1968, Piedmont Airlines Flight 230 was on an ILS localizer-only approach to runway 23 when it struck trees 360 feet from the runway threshold. The aircraft continued and struck up-sloping terrain short of the runway in a nose down attitude. The aircraft continued up the hill and onto the airport, coming to rest 6 feet beyond the threshold and 50 feet from the right edge of the runway. A layer of dense fog was obscuring the runway threshold and about half of the approach lights. Visual conditions existed outside the fog area. All three crew members and thirty-two of the thirty-four passengers perished. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the accident on an "unrecognized loss of altitude orientation during the final portion of an approach into shallow, dense fog." The disorientation was caused by a rapid reduction in the ground guidance segment available to the pilot at a point beyond which a go-around could be successfully effected.
On July 13, 2009, Southwest Airlines Flight 2294 from Nashville International Airport to Baltimore-Washington International Airport was forced to divert to Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia after a hole formed on the top of the plane's fuselage near the tail resulting in depressurization of the cabin and deployment of the oxygen masks. The 133 passengers and crew landed safely.
On January 19, 2010, PSA Airlines Canadair CRJ-200 N246PS on flight 2495 to Charlotte, North Carolina on behalf of US Airways with 30 passengers and 3 crew, overran the runway following a rejected take-off at 16:13 local time (21:13 UTC). The aircraft was stopped by the EMAS at the end of the runway, sustaining substantial damage to its undercarriage.
On February 8, 2010, a Freedom Airlines Embraer ERJ-145 on flight 6121 to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport on behalf of Delta Air Lines with 46 passengers and 3 crew, rejected takeoff from Charleston at high speed and came to a safe stop about 400 feet (122 meters) short of the runway end. Both right main gear tires exploded and the fragments damaged the flaps.
On March 13, 2015, a landslide below the approach to Runway 5/23 caused damage to an overrun area, although operations at the airport were largely unaffected by the damage.
On May 5, 2017, an Air Cargo Carriers Short 330, subcontracted by UPS and operating as Air Cargo Carriers Flight 1260, crashed after suffering a hard landing at Yeager Airport. Both the captain and first officer were killed in the accident. Early reports state that the left wing made contact with the surface of Runway 5, separated from the fuselage, and the aircraft cartwheeled left off the runway and down a heavily wooded hillside. The National Transportation Safety Board cited in its final report the causes of "the flight crew's improper decision to conduct a circling approach contrary to the operator's standard operating procedures (SOP) and the captain's excessive descent rate and maneuvering during the approach, which led to inadvertent, uncontrolled contact with the ground. Contributing to the accident was the operator's lack of a formal safety and oversight program to assess hazards and compliance with SOPs and to monitor pilots with previous performance issues."
Yeager Airport has three concourses.
|American Eagle||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|||
|Spirit Airlines|| Orlando|
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|2||Charlotte, North Carolina||73,000||American|
|3||Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois||33,000||American, United|
|7||Myrtle Beach, South Carolina||3,000||Spirit|
|9||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||1,000||Spirit|