A century ago, the U.S. Navy purchased its first airplane after a series of tests in which a brave pilot–wearing inflated bicycle inner tubes as a lifejacket–demonstrated one could land safely aboard a ship and then take off from the same vessel. The date of that purchase–May 8, 1911–is considered the birthday of naval aviation. In the hundred years since, the aircraft carrier has evolved from a scouting tool to a leading strike weapon.
Early last month Midway Phoenix, a subsidiary of Phoenix Air Group of Cartersville, Ga., and the U.S.
At the 60th anniversary of the pivotal naval battle that saved it from Japanese occupation, Midway Island is again fighting for its life–at least its economic life as a viable destination airport (MDY). According to Midway Phoenix, the company that operated the airport under contract from 1996 until last May 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now keeping the field open only for its own support.
Midway Phoenix of Cartersville, Ga., operates Midway Island Airport (MDY), some 1,200 mi northwest of Honolulu. Early last month Midway Phoenix informed its 150 employees that it would cease passenger operations to the island’s ecotourist resort and cancel its contract with Aloha Airlines, following a departing flight on March 2.
Construction has begun on a $5.5 million upgrade at Atlantic Aviation’s facilities at Chicago Midway (MDW). The project includes new construction of a 20,000-sq-ft hangar, a 10,000-sq-ft combined office and shop building and a 7,000-sq-ft ground-support building. There will also be a 3,500-sq-ft addition made to an existing building for extra shop space.
The runway at Midway Island remains open for emergency landings, thanks to $3.2 million from the DOT. The money will be used to upgrade navigational aids and maintain the runway until at least September 30, the end of the current fiscal year. The airfield was on the verge of closing January 6 when a Continental Airlines 777 with nearly 300 people aboard made an emergency landing at the former U.S.