South Arkansas Regional Airport (a.k.a. Goodwin Field)

aka: Goodwin Field

The South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field is located eight miles west of El Dorado (Union County). The airport is owned by the municipality of El Dorado and is a mixed-use airport primarily used for general aviation. There has been spotty commercial service in the history of the airport.

The airfield was constructed in the early 1940s by the Civil Aeronautics Administration under the auspices of the National Defense airport program. The terminal building was built in 1947. There is minimal evidence that the Army Air Force actually used the airport to a great extent during World War II, despite the construction of it for that purpose.

The airport uses two asphalt runways, the longer one (4/22) at 6,601 feet and the shorter one (13/31) at 5,100 feet. A third runway (17/35) is no longer in service.

The age of the terminal has brought calls for its replacement, but a proposed new terminal building has met with resistance from local historical preservationists. A historical preservation survey conducted in 2005 noted some important features in the structure that should be preserved, and advocates for preservation argue that the terminal is an important historical artifact. The controversy focused on a choice between the refurbishment of the older World War II–era terminal or the construction of a new one; the anticipated cost for either would be similar. The ongoing debate delayed improvements or renovation to the terminal building. In 2016, the issue was still under review.

A new commercial hangar was constructed in 2014–2016. As well as providing a place for maintenance of aircraft, this hangar has been the site of fundraising galas. In 2015, the airport received a $600,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to repave the parking lot, in addition to site work for the hangar.

At one time, SeaPort Airlines provided flights to Houston, Texas; Hot Springs (Garland County); and Memphis, Tennessee, on passenger Cessna 208 Caravan turboprop aircraft. 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. The U.S. Department of Transportation sent out requests for proposals from airlines interested in the EAS program at El Dorado.

The most recent accident at the South Arkansas Regional Airport was in August 2015. A man from South Carolina was in route to the Grand Canyon when his aircraft developed engine trouble and crashed just outside of the airport property in a wooded area.

For additional information:
South Arkansas Regional Airport. http://www.flyeld.com/ (accessed September 27, 2016).

Robert Sherwood
Georgia Military College

Last Updated: 10/05/2016

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