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San Carlos Airport

In 1939, future mayor of San Jose, Ernie Renzel, helped negotiate an option to buy 483 acres of the Stockton Ranch from the Crocker family. This was to be the site of San Jose's airport. In 1945, test pilot James M. Nissen and two partners leased approximately 16 acres of this land to build a runway, hangar, and office building in order to start a flight school. When the city decided it was necessary to develop a municipal airport, Nissen sold his share of the aviation business and became San Jose's first airport manager. Renzel and Nissen were key in the development of San Jose Municipal Airport in the decades that followed, culminating with the 1965 opening of what became Terminal C. Beginning in 1948, San Jose began its first airline flights with Southwest Airways Douglas DC-3s on a multi-stop run between San Francisco and Los Angeles. More airlines began to operate out of the airport for the next two decasdes and in 1968, United Airlines began operating Boeing 727 non-stops from Denver, Chicago and LAX, and Douglas DC-8 non-stops from Baltimore and New York. KSJC was one of the first airports in the nation to participate in the noise regulation program enacted by the U.S. Congress in the 1980s. In 1988, American Airlines opened a hub at the facility, and two years later Terminal A was opened to help accommodate the American operation. The airport was renamed after Norman Y. Mineta in 2001, who was San Jose's former mayor and congressman, as well as both a former United States Secretary of Commerce and a United States Secretary of Transportation. At the same time that happened, the San Jose City Council approved an amended a three-phase, nine-year expansion plan that called for a single, consolidated "Central Terminal" with 40 gates, an international concourse, and expanded security areas. In 2005, the originally-approved master plan was scaled-back with a new two-phase plan that called for a simplified Terminal B, with a North Concourse to replace the older Terminal C. Terminal A would also be expanded to include more check-in counters, security checkpoints, and drop-off/pick-up curbside space.

Airport history

The San Carlos Flying Field was established during World War I on a field north of Cordilleras Creek and east of what today is called Old County Road. Its first pilot's license was issued on July 10, 1917 and five years later the airfield was taken over by Charle's P. Cooley's family. Mr. Cooley served as the main flight instructor while his father handled the operations of the field. A fire occurred on July 12, 1940, destroying the main hangar and twelve aircraft. It was then around 1935 that the Cooleys established a different airfield near the foot of what is currently known as Twin Dolphin Drive in San Carlos. That facility had a 200' x 2100' runway and a building that housed various industrial activities. It was eventually determined that the airport needed to be moved because the length of its runway was limited by its proximity to the Phelps and Steinberger Sloughs. In 1948, another airfield was opened at the current location of the San Carlos airport. In 1952, the Cooley familiy transferred ownership to Mr. Francis Michaud, who then changed its name to San Carlos-Belmont Airport. Repair and administrative buildings were constructed and plans to increase the runway's length to 7000 feet were made. In 1957, the field's name was changed again, this time to San Mateo County Airport, Inc, with ownership being split between Michaud, the Piombo Construction Company, and six other parties. San Mateo County bought the property the airport sits on in 1964. The airport is currently 100% funded with user and business fees and receives no money from the County's General Fund.

Airport location

The airport is just two miles northeast of San Carlos, California, in San Mateo County, California, off U.S. Route 101. 

Airport facts

● The airport is on 110 acres of land at an elevation of 5 feet. It has one runway, 12/30, which is 2,600' x 75 feet'. 

● San Carlos Airport is home to over 30 businesses, including Bay Aerial Helicopter Service, FlyBayArea, JATO Aviation, Rabbit Aviation Services, Surf Air, Zanette Aviation Insurance, West Valley Flying Club, Diamond Aviation Charter, and the San Carlos Flight Center.

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