Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport

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Rick Husband
Amarillo International Airport
Amarillo Texas airport satellite photo 1997.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of Amarillo
Operator Amarillo Airport Department
Serves Amarillo, Texas
Elevation AMSL 3,607 ft / 1,099.4 m
Coordinates 35°13′10″N 101°42′21″W / 35.21944°N 101.70583°W / 35.21944; -101.70583Coordinates: 35°13′10″N 101°42′21″W / 35.21944°N 101.70583°W / 35.21944; -101.70583
Website http://airport.amarillo.gov
AMA is located in Texas
Location of airport in Texas/United States
AMA is located in the US
AMA (the US)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 13,502 4,115 Concrete
13/31 7,901 2,408 Concrete
Statistics (2007, 2015, 2016)
Aircraft operations (2007) 98,058
Based aircraft (2016) 44
Total Passengers (2015) 679,653
Amarillo Air Force Base
Amarillo Army Airfield
Shield Strategic Air Command.png Air Training Command Emblem.png
Part of Strategic Air Command/Air Training Command
Amarillo, Texas
Type Air Force Base
Site history
Built 1942
Built by United States Army Air Forces
In use 1942–1968
USGS 2006 aerial photo

Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (IATA: AMA, ICAO: KAMA, FAA LID: AMA) is a public airport six miles (10 km) east of downtown Amarillo, in Potter and Randall Counties, Texas, United States.[2] The airport was renamed in 2003 after NASA astronaut and Amarillo native Rick Husband, who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in February of that year.


Passenger airline service

Harold English opened English Field in 1929. That year Transcontinental & Western Air began passenger airline service to Amarillo. In 1931, Amarillo was a stop on coast-to-coast service between Los Angeles and New York City operated by Transcontinental & Western Air with Ford Trimotor aircraft.[3] The airline's timetable stated this transcontinental flight could be accomplished in 36 hours with "overnight hotel stops" being made in each direction on a routing of Los Angeles – Kingman, Ariz. – Winslow, Ariz. – Albuquerque – Amarillo – Wichita – Kansas City – St. Louis – Indianapolis – Columbus, Ohio – Pittsburgh – Philadelphia – New York City (via Newark Airport). Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA) eventually changed its name to Trans World Airlines, which, in turn, continued to serve Amarillo for many years.

In later years, Braniff International, Central Airlines and successor Frontier Airlines (1950–1986), as well as Continental Airlines began serving Amarillo. The April 1957 Official Airline Guide (OAG) lists 23 weekday departures: eleven on Braniff, eight on TWA, two on Central and two on Continental. Trans-Texas Airways (TTa, which was subsequently renamed Texas International) also then began serving the airport. Trans World Airlines operated flights to Wichita, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. In 1960, TWA was operating all of its flights into Amarillo with Lockheed Constellation propliners.[4] By 1961, Continental was serving the airport with British-manufactured Vickers Viscount turboprops flying Amarillo – Lubbock – Dallas Love Field as well as Amarillo – Lubbock – Midland/Odessa – San Angelo – Austin – Houston Hobby Airport service.[5] In 1966, Braniff was operating Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprop service nonstop (and also direct via Lubbock) to Dallas Love Field, as well as direct to Denver via Colorado Springs.[6] By 1967, Braniff in cooperation with Eastern Airlines were operating interchange thru plane Electra propjet service between Atlanta and Denver via Amarillo on a daily round trip routing of Atlanta – Birmingham  – Memphis – Little Rock – Tulsa – Oklahoma City – Amarillo – Denver.[7] Also in 1967, Central Airlines was serving Amarillo with Douglas DC-3 prop aircraft and Convair 600 turboprops on direct services to Borger, Texas, Denver, Kansas City, Liberal, Kansas, Oklahoma City, Pueblo, Colorado, Topeka and Wichita.[8] Following its acquisition of and merger with Central, Frontier Airlines operated Convair 580 turboprops to Denver and Memphis via intermediate stops at various destinations in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Trans-Texas Airways began serving the airport during the mid 1960s with Convair 240 propeller aircraft flying Amarillo – Lubbock – Abilene – Austin – Houston Hobby Airport service.[9]

The first scheduled jet service into Amarillo was flown by Trans World Airlines in 1964. By 1966, TWA was serving the airport with Boeing 727-100 and Convair 880 jetliners with nonstop flights to Albuquerque and Wichita, and direct, no change of plane jet service to Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York LaGuardia Airport, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Francisco.[10] In 1967, TWA was flying nonstop Boeing 727 service from Amarillo to LAX. By 1983, TWA had ceased all flights into the airport thus ending over 50 years of passenger service at Amarillo.[11]

By 1968, Braniff International had introduced jet service into the airport with Boeing 727-100 and British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven jets. At this time, Braniff was operating nonstop 727 flights to Denver and also direct to Dallas Love Field (DAL) via a stop in Lubbock in addition to flying daily nonstops to DAL with the BAC One-Eleven twin jet and also operating a daily BAC One-Eleven service on a routing of Amarillo - Oklahoma City - Tulsa - Fort Smith, AR - Little Rock - Memphis.[12] Braniff later operated nonstop Boeing 727-100 and Boeing 727-200 flights from the airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).[13] Continental also began jet service and in 1971 was operating Boeing 727-200 and Douglas DC-9-10 flights with routings of Amarillo - Lubbock - Dallas Love Field; Amarillo - Lubbock - Midland/Odessa-Houston Intercontinental Airport and Amarillo - Lubbock - Midland/Odessa - El Paso - Los Angeles (LAX).[14] Continental would subsequently end its Amarillo service but would then return in 1982 when the airline merged with Texas International.

By 1978, Texas International was operating Douglas DC-9-10 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jets into the airport on nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, San Antonio and Lubbock with direct one stop DC-9 service to Austin and Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) as well as no change of plane multi-stop flights to Corpus Christi, McAllen, TX and Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX.[15] Also in 1978, Southwest Airlines began operating nonstop Boeing 737-200 service to Dallas Love Field.[16] Other airlines operating mainline jet service into the airport in the past included American Airlines with Boeing 727-100, Boeing 727-200, Fokker 100 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 nonstops to Dallas/Fort Worth,[17] Continental Airlines (following its merger with Texas International in 1982) with Douglas DC-9-10 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 nonstops to Austin and Denver as well as one stop DC-9 service to Houston Intercontinental[18] and Delta Air Lines with Boeing 737-200 nonstops to Dallas/Fort Worth.[19] Aspen Airways also operated jet service into Amarillo in the past with British Aerospace BAe 146-100 aircraft flying both independently and later as United Express with nonstop flights to Denver.[20]

Airline terminal and airport name change

In 1952 the airport name changed to Amarillo Air Terminal. After the adjacent Amarillo Air Force Base was deactivated in 1968 a portion became part of Amarillo Air Terminal. The primary instrument runway, built for the USAF Strategic Air Command base, at 13,502 feet (4,115 m) is among the longest commercial runways in the United States and is still used for military training. During the mid-1970s the airport was used for jet training by (then) West German national airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG.[21] In 1976 the airport changed its name to Amarillo International Airport upon the opening of a U.S. Customs port-of-entry office.

The original English Field terminal building was converted in 1997 to a museum maintained by the Texas Aviation Historical Society. This museum lost its lease with the City of Amarillo and is now located in buildings southeast of the main runway, formally known as Attebury Grain.[22] The name of the original airfield is memorialized in the English Fieldhouse, a local restaurant located adjacent to the general aviation terminal.

In 2003 the airport terminal building was rededicated to NASA astronaut Rick Husband, the commander of mission STS-107 of the Space Shuttle Columbia and an Amarillo native. Husband and his crew were killed when the Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry on February 1, 2003.

The terminal building underwent a $52.2 million renovation that was designed by the firms Reynolds, Smith & Hills and Shiver Megert and Associates and completed in 2011.[23]

Amarillo Field/Amarillo Army Airfield (1942–1946)

The base was established in April 1942 as a basic training centre and technical school for flight engineers as part of the Fourth Technical Training District and the first students began training there in September 1942.[24] In mid-October 1945 all training stations were transferred to the Eastern Technical Training Command which was redesignated Technical Training Command.[24]:33 By this time Amarillo specialized in the training of mechanics for the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-29 Superfortress.[24]:39 The base was closed on 15 September 1946.

Amarillo Air Force Base (1951–1968)

Base gate at Amarillo AFB in the 1960s

On 1 March 1951 the Air Training Command activated Amarillo Air Force Base as a technical training base to provide airplane and engine mechanic training. The 3320th Technical Training Wing was established to oversee these training operations.[24]:73 In 1959 the 3320th Technical Training Wing was redesignated as Amarillo Technical Training Center and on 15 July 1959 a field training squadron was established at Amarillo.[24]:122

In early 1965 ATC began planning to close its operations at Amarillo and transfer its facilities to Air Defense Command.[24]:160

In February 1966 following an outbreak of spinal meningitis at the basic training school at Lackland Air Force Base the 3330th Basic Military Training School was established at Amarillo. As a result of the continuing expansion of the USAF to meet the demand of the Vietnam War, Amarillo continued to conduct basic training until the base was closed.[24]:162

On 5 January 1959, Strategic Air Command (SAC) established the 4128th Strategic Wing at Amarillo Air Force Base assigned it to the 47th Air Division.[25] In July 1959 the 4128th Strategic Wing was assigned to the 810th Air Division.[26] The wing became operational on 1 February 1960 when the 718th Bombardment Squadron, consisting of 15 B-52s moved to Amarillo. On 1 July 1962 the wing was reassigned to the 22d Air Division.[27] On 1 February 1963 the 4128th was replaced by reactivated 461st Bombardment Wing, Heavy (461st BW), which assumed its mission, personnel and equipment.[28]

On 25 March 1968 the 461st Bombardment Wing was inactivated and its aircraft were reassigned to other SAC units. As part of the inactivation, Amarillo Air Force Base was closed on 31 December 1968.[24]:174 The base was transferred to civilian control on 16 February 1971.[24]:186

Visits by NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA)

On July 1, 2007 the Space Shuttle Atlantis made a stop at the airport while being transported on top of the NASA Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) from Edwards Air Force Base to Florida—one of the few visits by the shuttle to a commercial airport. After a brief stay it was flown on to Offutt Air Force Base.

In 2009 the airport was again used as a refueling stop by the NASA Boeing 747 SCA. On September 20, the Space Shuttle Discovery was transported from Edwards Air Force Base to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with stops in Amarillo, Carswell Air Force Base in Ft.Worth, and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Facilities and aircraft

Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport covers 3,547 acres (1,435 ha) and has two concrete runways: 4/22 is 13,502 ft × 200 ft (4,115 m × 61 m) and 13/31 is 7,901 ft × 150 ft (2,408 m × 46 m).[2] In 2007 the airport had 98,058 aircraft operations, average 268 per day: 48% military, 29% general aviation, 14% air taxi and 9% scheduled commercial. In November 2016, there were 44 aircraft based at this airport: 20 single-engine, 15 multi-engine, 8 jet and 1 helicopter.[2] Leading Edge Corporation has an aircraft painting facility located on the airport; many American Airlines and United Airlines jetliners are painted there.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
American Eagle Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Southwest Airlines Dallas–Love, Las Vegas
United Express Denver, Houston–Intercontinental
ViaAir Austin[29]

Top destinations

Top domestic routes out of AMA
(Mar 2017 – Feb 2018)
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Dallas–Love, TX 122,420 Southwest
2 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 115,630 American
3 Las Vegas, NV 31,940 Southwest
4 Houston, TX 29,100 United
5 Denver, CO 23,950 United

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ "Amarillo Globe-News". Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for AMA (Form 5010 PDF), effective Nov 10, 2016.
  3. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Feb. 1, 1931 TWA system timetable
  4. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, April 24, 1960 TWA system timetable
  5. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, April 30, 1961 Continental Airlines system timetable
  6. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, April 24, 1966 Braniff International system timetable
  7. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, June 13, 1967 Eastern Airlines system timetable
  8. ^ http://www.timetablemages.com[permanent dead link], July 1, 1967 Central Airlines system timetable
  9. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Oct. 30, 1966 Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
  10. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, May 23, 1966 TWA system timetable
  11. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1983 TWA route map
  12. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, July 1, 1968 Braniff International system timetable
  13. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Nov. 15, 1979 & April 1, 1981 editions, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Amarillo flight schedules
  14. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 3, 1971 Continental Airlines system timetable.
  15. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Mar. 15, 1978 Texas International system timetable
  16. ^ https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eps01 TSHA Online - Texas State Historical Association
  17. ^ https://www.departedflights.com Archived 2017-09-12 at the Wayback Machine., June 1, 1983, April 2, 1995 & June 1, 1999 editions, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Amarillo flight schedules
  18. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Amarillo flight schedules
  19. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Amarillo flight schedules
  20. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Amarillo flight schedules
  21. ^ Warnecke, Ann. "Amarillo Voices: Journal is worth much more than a thousand words - Amarillo.com - Amarillo Globe-News". amarillo.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-14. 
  22. ^ "Board asks for English Field lease extension". Amarillo Globe News. June 29, 2004. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. 
  23. ^ "Amarillo Int'l Unveils Clearly Upgraded Terminal". Archived from the original on 2014-10-07. Retrieved 2012-06-04. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i Manning, Thomas (2005). History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas. p. 18. ASIN B000NYX3PC. 
  25. ^ "Factsheet 47 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10 May 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  26. ^ "Factsheet 810 Strategic Aerospace Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10 November 2007. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  27. ^ "Factsheet 22 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10 May 2007. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  28. ^ Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Office of Air Force History. pp. 255–6. ISBN 0912799129. 
  29. ^ "ViaAir New Additions". Retrieved 12 June 2018. 
  30. ^ http://www.transtats.bts.gov/airports.asp?pn=1&Airport=AMA&Airport_Name=Amarillo,%20TX:%20Amarillo%20Airport&carrier=FACTS

External links

  • [1]
  • FAA Airport Diagram (PDF), effective September 13, 2018
  • FAA Terminal Procedures for AMA, effective September 13, 2018
  • Resources for this airport:
    • AirNav airport information for KAMA
    • ASN accident history for AMA
    • FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for KAMA
    • FAA current AMA delay information
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