North Little Rock Municipal Airport

The North Little Rock Municipal Airport, owned by the City of North Little Rock (Pulaski County), is located four miles north of that city’s business district. The airport is an officially designated general aviation reliever airport, meaning that the overwhelming majority of usage for the airport comes from general aviation, not commercial flights. In 2015, the total economic impact of the airport was estimated at 138 jobs and just under $16 million provided to the local economy.

In 1949, 570 acres of land were acquired for construction of the airport, which would have two runways. The airport was officially opened in September 1960. Some portions of the airport had already been in use, including a runway. In honor of the celebration, there was a fundraiser to fight polio in which people could take short flights for $2.00. All proceeds went to the March of Dimes.

During the early years of the airport’s operations, the mayor of North Little Rock and the airport operators often found themselves at odds over the fundamental purpose of the airport. People who lived near the airport committed acts of vandalism toward structures and airplanes. As the 1960s progressed and the airport became part of the community, these problems eased. In 1962, a tornado hit the airport, destroying three aircraft and damaging some of the buildings on the property.

The North Little Rock Municipal Airport has two runways. The primary runway is 5,002 feet long, and the crosswind runway is 3,019 feet long; the airport covers an overall area of 621 acres. In 2015, there were 197 aircraft based at the airport, and the airport conducted just over of 45,000 flight operations. The vast majority of the flight operations are single-engine aircraft. Less than a quarter of the operations are multi-engine, jet, helicopter, or ultralight aircraft.

Hertz provides ground transportation for arriving passengers at the airport.

Between 1982 and 2016, there were fourteen crashes at the North Little Rock Municipal Airport. All were private aircraft, and there was one death recorded. In May 2016, a twin-engine plane crashed upon take-off from the airport. There were two passengers on board—a student pilot and an instructor. The student pilot was performing a “check-ride” in order to obtain a Federal Aviation Administration air transportation license. The instructor died in the crash and subsequent fire, while the student suffered serious burns.

On April 3, 2008, a tornado struck the airport, damaging several planes. In July 2015, an explosive device was found on the road near the North Little Rock Municipal Airport. No motive or culprit were determined.

For additional information:
Airport Opens Sunday.” The Times, September 15, 1960, p. 1.

North Little Rock History Commission. North Little Rock, Arkansas.

“North Little Rock Municipal Airport.” (accessed September 21, 2020).

Oman, Noel. “Mayor Puts Airport on Fast Track.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 31, 2019, pp. 1B, 8B.

Sandlin, Jake. “NLR Airport Revisits Plans for Restaurant.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 22, 2019, pp. 1B–2B.

Robert Sherwood
Georgia Military College


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