Boone County Regional Airport
The Boone County Regional Airport is located three miles outside of Harrison (Boone County). The airport is a mixed-use airport, with the majority of usage coming from general aviation. It is estimated that, in 2015, the airport provided 120 jobs and had an economic impact of over $12 million to the local economy.
The first flight to what is now the Boone County Regional Airport was in 1921. It was flown by Earl Rowland, a local flying legend. He was a World War I pilot, a test pilot for Cessna Aircraft, a member of the World War II Air Transport Command, and winner of five national air races. Although his landing in Harrison in 1921 inaugurated aviation to the area, a real airport would wait more than two decades more.
The airport was originally conceived and built by Harrison businessmen, with shares of stock purchased in 1944. In 1947, the airport passed into municipal control. Boone County took over the airport in 1966.
The Boone County Regional Airport has one runway of 6,161 feet and covers an overall area of 425 acres. In 2015, there were forty-eight aircraft based at the airport, and the airport saw approximately 8,500 flight operations a year.
At one time, SeaPort Airlines provided three daily flights on eight passenger Cessna 208 Caravan turboprop aircraft to Memphis, Tennessee. These flights were partially subsidized through the federal Essential Air Service (EAS), which provides federal funds to help small and remote cities gain commercial airline service. In September 2016, SeaPort Airlines entered bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings, leaving the airport without an essential flight service. The U.S. Department of Transportation sent out requests for proposals from airlines interested in the EAS program at Harrison. In October 2016, the airport board chose Contour Airlines.
The airport has tried to market itself as a gateway to the Ozark Mountains, especially Branson, Missouri, twenty minutes to the north, to varied success. To attract passengers, the airport eliminated all landing and parking fees. Two car rental companies, Hertz and Enterprise, provide ground transportation for arriving passengers. Taxis are also available for hire.
There have been three crashes that have involved loss of life at the airport since 1963. All were private aircraft, and a total of five people have been killed. In July 2014, a single-engine airplane with one passenger aboard crashed in the woods soon after take-off. The pilot, George Atiyeh, survived but suffered broken bones, a punctured lung, partial paralysis, and bleeding in the brain. Atiyeh, a nephew of a former Oregon governor, is known as a leading environmentalist in Oregon.
For additional information:
“Boone County Airport.” AirNav.com. https://www.airnav.com/airport/KHRO (accessed September 17, 2020).
Boone County Regional Airport. http://boonecountyairport.com/ (accessed September 17, 2020).
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