Apalachicola Regional Airport
Apalachicola Regional Airport
(former Apalachicola AAF)
|Elevation AMSL||20 ft / 6 m|
Apalachicola Regional Airport (IATA: AAF, ICAO: KAAF, FAA LID: AAF) is a county-owned, public-use airport located two nautical miles (4 km) west of the central business district of Apalachicola, a city in Franklin County, Florida, United States. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation facility. It was previously known as Apalachicola Municipal Airport. The airport supports general aviation activity in the area and provides service via a tenant fixed-base operator (FBO).
The current airport was originally constructed in 1939 by the U.S. Army Air Corps. Expanded in February 1942, Apalachicola Army Airfield became a sub base of Tyndall Field, the present day Tyndall Air Force Base. Apalachicola AAF's mission was to support the operations of the Training Command Flexible Gunnery School under the 2136th Army Air Forces Base Unit, and as a sub-base and auxiliary airfield for Tyndall. The Army Airfield was inactivated at the end of World War II on September 30, 1945 and turned over to Army Corps of Engineers on February 2, 1947 as excess. Eventually discharged to the War Assets Administration (WAA), it was deeded to municipality of Apalachicola and became a civil airport.
On March 15, 1964, a pilot with the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, was killed during an attempted emergency landing at Apalachicola Municipal Airport when his F-11A Tiger experienced engine difficulties while transiting from West Palm Beach, Florida back to the Blue Angels' home base at NAS Pensacola, Florida. LT George L. Neale, USN, age 29, who flew in the Number Four slot position of the diamond formation, was returning from a demonstration at West Palm Beach with one other of the six team jets and an R5D Skymaster support plane when he radioed Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Florida, that he was declaring an emergency and requesting permission to land at Tyndall AFB when he suffered engine mechanical problems south of Apalachicola. Spotting the Apalachicola Airport, he attempted a landing there, ejecting on final approach at 1115 hrs. as the fighter came down ~250 yards short of the runway. Although he cleared the airframe at ~150–200 feet altitude, his chute did not have sufficient time to deploy and he was killed. He was survived by his wife Donna, of Pensacola, Florida, and his mother, Mrs. Katherine Neale, of Avalon, Pennsylvania. Official Navy press reports at the time said that the cause of the mishap was being investigated.
Facilities and aircraft
Apalachicola Regional Airport covers an area of 1,100 acres (445 ha) at an elevation of 20 feet (6 m) above mean sea level. It has three runways (6/24, 13/31, 18/36) each of which has a concrete surface measuring 5,271 by 150 feet (1,607 x 46 m): . 
For the 12-month period ending August 25, 2009, the airport had 24,375 aircraft operations, an average of 66 per day: 94% general aviation, 5% air taxi, and 1% military. At that time there were 24 aircraft based at this airport: 92% single-engine and 8% multi-engine.
- FAA Airport Master Record for AAF ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on 2012-09-27.
- "Apalachicola Municipal Airport" (PDF). Florida Aviation System Plan (FASP). April 2005.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.
- Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
- Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
- Basham, Dusty, "Blue Angel Pilot Killed - Jet Fighter Falls Near Apalachicola", Playground Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Monday Morning, March 16, 1964, Volume 18, Number 27, pages 1, 2.
- "Apalachicola Regional Airport". brochure from CFASPP
- Aerial image as of January 1999 from USGS The National Map
- FAA Terminal Procedures for AAF, effective September 12, 2019
- Resources for this airport: