Hartford–Brainard Airport

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Hartford–Brainard Airport
Hartford-Brainard Airport CT - 23 Apr 1990.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerConnecticut Airport Authority
LocationHartford, Connecticut
Elevation AMSL18 ft / 5 m
Coordinates41°44′12″N 072°38′58″W / 41.73667°N 72.64944°W / 41.73667; -72.64944Coordinates: 41°44′12″N 072°38′58″W / 41.73667°N 72.64944°W / 41.73667; -72.64944
WebsiteHFD Website
FAA Diagram
FAA Diagram
HFD is located in Connecticut
HFD is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 4,417 1,346 Asphalt
11/29 2,314 705 Asphalt
NE/SW 2,309 704 Turf
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 70 21 Asphalt
Statistics (2015)
Aircraft operations61,470
Based aircraft144

Hartford–Brainard Airport (IATA: HFD, ICAO: KHFD, FAA LID: HFD) is a towered public airport three miles (5 km) southeast of downtown Hartford, in Hartford County, Connecticut. It is owned by the Connecticut Airport Authority.[1] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021 categorized it as a regional reliever airport facility.[2]

The airport is named after former mayor Newton C. Brainard.


Originally called Brainard Field when it opened in 1921, Hartford–Brainard Airport may well be the country’s first municipal airport. Located in a former cow pasture in the southeast Hartford Neighborhood of South Meadows, Brainard opened in 1921. Among the facility’s claims to fame are visits by some of the early 20th century’s greatest aviators — including Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh — who landed there to great acclaim. For its first decade, officials limited the airfield’s use primarily to small passenger flights, but in 1933, city officials opened Brainard to commercial traffic. Passenger airlines, such as Eastern Airlines, and Colonial Airlines served Brainard. But the airport couldn't handle the large Douglas DC-3 and heavier planes that became common by the 1930s. The weight of the planes was too much for just grass. Later, the city installed a blacktop runway. Additionally, Brainard could not accommodate large aircraft because its runways are too short and the airport's proximity to Connecticut River also meant fog problems.[3]

As a result, larger aviation began to move to the new Bradley International Airport in South Windsor after it opened in 1952, and by 1958 all commercial carriers had relocated. No longer the principal airport for the Greater Hartford area, the Hartford city council voted for closure. In 1959, the next year the state and the city of Hartford entered into an agreement that year giving control of the airport to the state. A large runway was taken for the development of the South Meadows commercial and industrial district off Brainard Road and reduced the airport's size to 201 acres (81.3 ha).[4]

Today, Brainard serves as the reliever airport for Bradley Airport. It has approximately 360 people working at the various airport-related businesses and government agencies based on-site. Some city and state officials favor redeveloping the Hartford South Meadows, including the airport, with offices, commercial and retail space, apartments, a marina, a riverwalk system and perhaps a modern energy plant.[5]


Hartford–Brainard Airport covers 201 acres (81 ha) and has three runways and one helipad:[1]

  • 2/20: 4,417 x 150 ft (1,346 x 46 m) Asphalt
  • 11/29: 2,314 x 71 ft (705 x 22 m) Asphalt
  • NE/SW: 2,309 x 150 ft (704 x 46 m) Turf (closed during winter months from November 2 to April 30 except for ski-equipped aircraft or helicopter training)
  • Helipad H1: 70 x 77 ft (21 x 23 m) Asphalt

In the year ending June 12, 2001 the airport had 120,217 aircraft operations, average 329 per day: 99% general aviation, 1% air taxi and <1% military. 144 aircraft are based at this airport: 87% single-engine, 10% multi-engine, 1% jet aircraft, 1% helicopters and 1% gliders.[1]

The Connecticut Wing Civil Air Patrol 071st Royal Charter Composite Squadron (NER-CT-071) operates out of the airport.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for HFD (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-07-05
  2. ^ "List of NPIAS Airports" (PDF). FAA.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  3. ^ Thornton, Steve. ""Something to Show for Our Work": Building Brainard Airport". ConnecticutHistory.org. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  4. ^ Neyer, Constance (19 July 1999). "Air Show to Honor Brainard Airport's 75 Years". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  5. ^ Haar, Dan (6 December 2016). "Dan Haar: Brainard Airport Fights Back As Redevelopment Plan Returns". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  6. ^ http://www.ctwg.cap.gov/ct071.html Civil Air Patrol 071st

External links[edit]