Buchanan Field Airport
Concord Army Air Base
|Owner||Contra Costa County|
|Serves||Contra Costa County, California|
|Location||Concord / Pacheco|
|Elevation AMSL||26 ft / 8 m|
Buchanan Field Airport (IATA: CCR, ICAO: KCCR, FAA LID: CCR) is a public airport in Contra Costa County, California, United States, a mile west of the center of Concord and east of Pacheco. The airport's street address is 550 Sally Ride Drive, Concord.
In 1942 Contra Costa County, California, purchased land for an airport in Central County for $88,000. The airport was being developed by the county until the United States Army Air Forces Fourth Air Force expropriated the site. The Army added land and built airport facilities and a training base for pilots, Concord Army Air Base.
In 1946 the War Assets Administration (WAA) returned the airport to the county. In 1947 the transfer was formalized and the airport was named for County Supervisor William J. Buchanan, who served on the County Board of Supervisors for more than forty years. The airport continued to be used on occasion by the U.S. Army to transport troops, especially during the Korean War.
In 1972 George Lucas used Buchanan Field Airport for one of the last exterior scenes in the movie American Graffiti. In the scene, Steven Bolander (Ron Howard) says goodbye to friend Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) before Curt leaves for college on the Douglas DC-7C in the background.
In 1977 Buchanan Field reached its peak of activity with 357,000 total operations; by that criterion, Buchanan Field was the 16th busiest airport in the nation, ahead of San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport. During this time noise became a concern and in 1988 the county Board of Supervisors instituted a county noise restriction ordinance restricting certain aircraft from operating at Buchanan Field.
Beginning in the 1990s the Board of Supervisors updated the Buchanan Field Airport Master Plan. Commercial development of adjacent property such as Sam's Club, Taco Bell, Sports Authority, and Jiffy Lube was allowed in 1992. The county has developed a new airport in Byron in the eastern part of the county.
On August 14, 2018, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors (Board) passed a resolution declaring the economic importance of these airports by recognizing that they are essential economic engines that aid Contra Costa County to meet their current and future transportation and economic needs of the community. The Board further directed staff to proactively pursue innovation and sustainable opportunities to enhance the economic development potential of the airports, as they are capital assets to the county and an integrated transportation asset to the Bay Area region.
|JSX||Burbank, Orange County|||
Buchanan Field had commuter airline flights to San Francisco International Airport from 1969 to 1979 on Stol Air Commuter Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders and Britten-Norman BN-2A Trislanders. In 1969 San Francisco and Oakland Helicopter Airlines (also known as SFO Helicopter) scheduled Sikorsky S-61s nonstop to Oakland International Airport continuing to SFO, up to five flights a day. SFO Helicopter had left the airport by 1975. In 1978 Stol Air had up to six flights a day to SFO; they ended in 1979.
Airline service returned to the airport in mid-1984: for less than a year, WestAir Commuter Airlines, successor to Stol Air, had eight weekday de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters to SFO. WestAir, then independent, left Concord before becoming a United Express airline.
Jet service arrived when Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) began nonstop BAe 146-200s to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on May 1, 1986. In 1988, after being acquired by USAir, PSA had four weekday BAe 146s to LAX with one continuing to San Diego. In 1991 USAir replaced the BAe 146s to LAX with USAir Express Dash 8s, then Beechcraft 1900Cs; these ended around the end of 1991.
In 1991 American Eagle Airlines (Wings West Airlines) had four daily Fairchild Swearingen Metroliners to American Airlines' hub at San Jose. American later shut down its San Jose hub and American Eagle dropped Concord in 1992.
Buchanan Field covers 495 acres (200 ha) at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m). It has four asphalt and concrete runways: 1L/19R is 5,001 by 150 feet (1,524 x 46 m), 1R/19L is 2,770 by 75 feet (844 x 23 m), 14L/32R is 4,602 by 150 feet (1,403 x 46 m), and 14R/32L is 2,799 by 75 feet (853 x 23 m).
In the year ending February 28, 2009 the airport had 93,874 aircraft operations, average 257 per day: 97% general aviation, 3% air taxi, and <1% military. 387 aircraft were then based at the airport: 83% single-engine, 10% multi-engine, 5% jet, and 2% helicopter.
On the evening of December 23, 1985, a Beechcraft Baron N1494G, executing a missed approach from an instrument approach to runway 19R, lost control and crashed into the roof of the Macy's Department Store at nearby Sunvalley Mall, killing the pilot and two passengers and seriously injuring 84 Christmas shoppers in the crowded mall, spraying them with burning fuel. Four of the victims on the ground later died. The accident brought increased opposition to the airport and caused Pacific Southwest Airlines to delay its flights that had been planned to start in January 1986.
Another plane crashed on April 13, 2004, shortly after leaving Buchanan Field. The plane landed on a minivan traveling down nearby Interstate 680 in Pleasant Hill and nearly severed the left leg of a 12-year-old girl. (Her leg was successfully reattached and she has made a near full recovery.) Officials determined the crash was the fault of a mechanic who had worked on the plane.
On December 21, 2006, at about 1900 Zulu, a 1989 Piper Malibu (PA46), registered as N1AM, crashed while flying the LDA (Localizer Directional Aid) approach into CCR. The aircraft was too low and hit obstructions on the ground. The plane hit the median of Highway 4, crashing between the highway and Marsh Drive just north of the runway. Three passengers were killed instantly one died after surgery.
On October 25, 2016, shortly after departing Buchanan Field, a Beechcraft Bonanza registered N364RM crashed into a hill near Kirker Pass Road in Concord. The two occupants, both pilots, were killed in the crash. No one on the ground was injured. The investigation is ongoing and the cause has not been determined.