World War II affected aviation in Hawaii forever. The military took over all airfields in the Territory after December 7, 1941 and improved the airfield and built new facilities at major fields. After the War the airports were returned to the Territory and commercial aviation resumed. New airlines entered the interisland and trans-Pacific markets. John Rodgers Field was renamed Honolulu Airport.
CHRONOLOGY OF AVIATION IN HAWAII
1940 (1 Feb)
The 11th Bombardment Group was activated at Hickam Field.
1940 (6 Apr)
Hickam Field (17th Air Base) was the largest U.S. Air Corps Station, with approximately 100 officers and 3,000 men. The base consisted of two groups: 1) 5th Bomb Group, consisting of 5 squadrons, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, 23rd Bomb Squadron, 31st Bomb Squadron, 72nd Bomb Squadron and 4th Recon Group. 2) 11th Bomb Group, activated Feb. 17, 1940.
There was another eruption of Mauna Loa and B-18 Bombers from Hickam and Wheeler tried to disperse the flows by bombing the lava tubes. This time the effort was not successful but the flow stopped naturally.
An airstrip was added to the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe. The completed runway, 5,700 feet long by 1,000 feet wide, was paved with asphalt concrete. Facilities included five steel hangars, five seaplane ramps, concrete parking areas, two warm-up aprons, a maintenance hangar, two seaplane hangars, and two Midway-type hangars.
Colonel S. W. Fitzgerald was relieved by Colonel Harold C. Davison as C.O. 18th Bomb Wing and Hickam Field.
1940 (1 Nov)
The Hawaiian Air Force was activated (General Order 37, October 28, 1940). This was the first Air Force outside the Continental U.S. Maj. Gen. Frederick L. Martin, C.G. (Headquarters, Ft. Shafter) was in charge.
1940 (5 Nov)
The Hawaiian Air Force was set up with two base commands (General Order 41, November 2, 1940); 17th Air Base (at Hickam Field) with Brig. Gen. Walter H. Frank, C. G. of the 18th Bomb Wing (B-10s), and 18th Air Base (at Wheeler Field) with Brig. Gen. Harold G. Davidson, C.G. of 14th Pursuit Wing (P-26s).
1940 (9 Nov)
Brig. Gen. Walter H. Frank relieved Brig. Gen. H. C. Davidson as C. O. 18th Wing.
1940 (19 Nov)
Brig. Gen. Jacob H. Rudolph relieved Brig. Gen. Frank as Commanding General 18th Wing at Hickam.
Bellows Field and Haleiwa Airfield went into operation.
A total of 1,153 people came to Hawaii from the Mainland by air. Flights took 16 hours and the cost was $278.
Congress appropriated $3.3M for the dredging of the seaplane harbor at Keehi Lagoon.
In order to provide aviation facilities to the Army and Navy on the Neighbor Islands, 91 acres of land at Hickam Field was traded to the Territory of Hawaii for access to airfield land on Kauai (Port Allen), Maui (Puunene), Molokai (Homestead Field), and Hilo and Upolu on the Big Island.
A tract of 14.69 acres was set aside at Molokai Airport for the Navy.
Pan American Airways started a connection by Clipper to Alaska and delivered air mail to Auckland, New Zealand through Honolulu, Canton Island and New Caledonia.
From 1927-1940 funds expended on John Rodgers Airport added up to $356,000. This was broken down to $51,000 Federal, $91,000 Territorial, and $113,000 by Inter-Island Airways.
The Hickam AFB aircraft strength at beginning of year was: 117 planes, mostly obsolete.
1941 (12 Jan)
The First Transport Squadron (8 planes) was formed to service 17 neighbor island Army air fields.
Thirty-one P-36s with pilots and crew chiefs left San Diego on the carrier Enterprise for the Territory of Hawaii. Fifty five P-40 aircraft also arrived by aircraft carrier.
Total of 55 P-40s had arrived by carrier. The planes were flown off the deck to Army airfields.
Act 35, Session Laws of Hawaii 1941, appropriated $7,500 for the acquisition of lands in Kailua (Kona) for an airport. The Civil Aeronautics Administration provided $2,500 toward the cost on a 75/25 basis.
1941 (2 May)
Hilo Airport was dedicated. The Civil Aeronautics Administration contributed $314,000 of national defense funds to Hilo Airport.
1941 (13 May)
Twenty-one B-17D aircraft were flown right from the Boeing assembly line to Oakland (Hamilton Field) and on to Hickam Field in 13 hours and 10 minutes.
The Army Air Force was created.
The Hawaiian Air Force had plans to employ 72 B-17s to conduct daily surveillance flights 833 nautical miles from Hawaii, each covering a five degree slice. Due to lack of aircraft, the plans were not put into effect.
1941 (14 July)
The Hawaiian Air Force moved to Hickam Field as construction had progressed sufficiently to accommodate them.
The 19th Bombardment Wing arrived from the West Coast via Hickam en route to build up defense of the Philippine Islands.
Inter-Island Airways acquired three DC-3 24-passenger aircraft and they flew from Oakland to Honolulu in 14 hours and 58 minutes. Because of this new aircraft and its increased passenger carrying capacity.
1941 (5 Sept)
The 14th Bomb Sq. (9 B-17D Flying Fortresses) under command of Major Emmett O’ Donnell Jr., with a crew of 75, left Hawaii for the Philippine islands via Midway, Wake, Port Moresby and Darwin. They landed at Clark Field, Manila on September 12. Thirty five B-17 Bombers were ferried through Hickam to the Philippines.
1941 (1 Oct)
Inter-Island Airways’ name was changed to Hawaiian Airlines, Ltd.
Layout was complete and the Army Corps of Engineers began dredging Keehi Lagoon for seaplane runways, using the spoil to augment John Rodgers Airport. $5 million was appropriated by Congress for the project.
1941 (16 Oct)
The 19th Bomb Group at Hamilton was alerted for the Philippine Islands.
1941 (22 Oct)
Twenty-six B-17s completed a flight to Hickam. They were divided into several groups for onward flight.
Construction began at Barber Point Naval Air Station. Two asphalt concrete runways were built: 1,000 feet wide and 8,400 and 8,300 feet in length. Work was completed in 1943.
1941 (27 Nov)
The Hawaiian Islands were placed on alert. An attack by Japanese forces was expected in the Philippines. Additional security measures were taken but aircraft were bunched up to protect against anticipated sabotage rather than dispersed against potential air attack.
1941 (29 Nov)
The 7th Bomb Operation ground echelon, consisting of 2,500 officers and men, 18 P-40s and unassembled 52 A-24s, with food and ammunition, left Honolulu in a convoy to the Philippine Islands. The convoy was diverted Dec. 12 to Australia.
1941 (5 Dec)
One of two B-24s equipped for high altitude photography of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands had reached Hawaii. It was held until “satisfactorily armed.”
1941 (6 Dec)
The 7th Bomb Group Air echelon left Hamilton Field, California for Hickam. (38th and 88th Reconnaissance Squadrons.)
1941 (by 7 Dec)
The Hawaiian Air Force, an integrated command for slightly more than one year, under the command of Major. Gen. Frederick L. Martin, was deployed. It consisted of:
754 officers and 6,706 enlisted men
Headquarters 18th Bombardment Wing at Hickam Field (5th and 11th Bomb Groups (H) and 58th Bomb Squadron (L) Headquarters 14th Pursuit Wing at Wheeler Field.
86th Observation Squadron at Bellows Field.
231 military aircraft:
6 detector stations in operation. (one of which was at Opana on the northern tip of the Kahuku Mountains)
Defense plans included a system of SOP’s for alerts:
Sabotage (considered most likely).
Occupation of all fields.
Since sabotage was considered most likely, aircraft were concentrated with extra guards. Aerial reinforcements were being rushed to Philippine Islands as most probable spot of attack by Japanese. Defense plans among military in Hawaii were general rather than specific regarding interchange of vital information and assistance.
1941 (7 Dec)
At 0755 on a Sunday morning, 183 aircraft from six Japanese aircraft carriers struck American military facilities and vessels on Oahu, just as Billy Mitchell had predicted in 1924. The second wave consisted of 170 aircraft. Ninety-four American ships were in Pearl Harbor. Four hundred American aircraft were parked at Ford Island, Hickam Field, Wheeler Field, Ewa MCAS, Kaneohe MCAS, Bellows Station and Haleiwa Field. The American Aircraft Carrier Saratoga was in San Diego, the Lexington was delivering planes to Midway Island and the Enterprise delivering planes to Wake Island. The Japanese attack sunk 18 American ships and destroyed 188 American aircraft and caused 2,335 American military deaths while losing 29 Japanese planes, damaging 50 Japanese planes and suffering fewer than 100 Japanese deaths. A flight of 11 B-17s arrived during the attack from the West Coast and landed at Wheeler, Haleiwa, Hickam and the golf course at Kahuku. One plane was destroyed and three badly damaged.
Gambo Flying Service lost two planes and two civilian Aeronca aircraft were fired on by the attacking forces. World War Two had started in Hawaii and was followed within a few hours by attacks on the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies.
1941 (7 Dec)
Hawaiian Air Force Casualties and Damage from Japanese Attack:
Killed Missing Wounded Total
Hickam 124 37 274 432
Wheeler 37 6 53 96
Bellows 2 0 9 14
Total 163 43 336 542
Aircraft: Only 79 out of 231 assigned were operational after the attack; 64 were totally destroyed; the remainder heavily damaged.
Property Damage: Hangars at both Hickam and Wheeler were severely damaged. The aircraft repair station in Hickam’s Hangar 35 was completely gutted. There was major damage to repair facilities in Hangars 11, 13 and 17.
1941 (7 Dec)
Two Hawaiian Airlines transports were damaged on the ground during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
1941 (7 Dec)
The first civilian casualty in Hawaii of the War was Robert Tyce, owner of the K-T Flying Service, who was killed by machine gun fire from Japanese torpedo planes as they flew over John Rodgers Airport on their way to Pearl Harbor.
1941 (7 Dec)
Two small planes from the K-T Flying Service were shot down near the entrance to Pearl Harbor and the pilots lost. Small planes of other flying services received bullet holes but were able to return to Rodgers Airport without injury to pilots or passengers.
1941 (8 Dec)
Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack all airports were taken over by the armed forces of the United States. Some of these airfields were considered vulnerable to attack and unusable, and the others were placed under strict control of either the Army or Navy.
1941 (8 Dec)
All civilian aircraft in Hawaii were grounded. Within a few days, Hawaiian Air was approved by the Military Governor to make emergency flights under military direction, carrying engineers, medicines, munitions, etc. to the neighbor islands. Passenger priority supervision was exercised by the Army for security purposes and expediting war priority transportation. As a security measure, the airplane windows were blacked out.
1941 (15 Dec)
There was an "Agreement with the United States Relative to Operation and Maintenance of the John Rodgers Airport and Keehi Lagoon Seaplane Base".
Kalaupapa Leper Settlement on Molokai was isolated and the Gambo Flying Service was authorized by the military to furnish emergency transportation of medical supplies, etc. direct to Kalaupapa. These flights were made by Marguerite Gambo with a Fairchild monoplane which was suitable for operation into the small field at Kalaupapa.
The Army Corps of Engineers was about 10 percent complete on the dredging of three seaplane runways at Keehi Lagoon which were to be two to three miles long by 1,000 feet wide by 10 feet deep. Dredging was intensified with as many as nine dredges working on the project which was usable by late 1943 and completed in September of 1944. More than 10 million cubic yards of coral was placed between John Rodgers Airport and Hickam Field, in Fort Shafter Flats, in Mapunapuna and elsewhere in the vicinity. However, the most important construction was four runways at John Rodgers Airport which would become Naval Air Station Honolulu (NAS 29) and home base for an Army and Navy Air Transport Command.
During the early days of the War, Hawaiian’s Sikorsky planes were converted to cargo planes, carrying critical medical supplies and equipment to the other islands and bringing back cargo of fresh vegetables and beef. Thus began the first U.S. air-freight service.
Hilo Airport was taken over by the Army and an Air Corps fighter squadron was stationed there. U.S. Army Engineers constructed military installations and continued the expansion of runways, taxiways and parking aprons.
Upolu Point Airport was operated as an auxiliary field to Hilo. A simulated deck of an aircraft carrier was installed and air-group pilots completed their training by qualifying in day and night deck landings before going aboard the carriers for combat duty.
Puunene Airport, Maui, was taken over by the Navy and was greatly expanded. It was operated as the Naval Air Station, Puunene, Maui, for the training of carrier air groups.
Molokai Airport (Homestead Field) was taken over and developed by the Army, but not to the extent of Hilo or Puunene.
Burns Field, Kauai, was too small for military aircraft and was rendered unusable by the Army.
John Rodgers Field was taken over by the Army at the beginning of the war and used as a troop transport base while runway construction was in progress.
1941 (25 Dec)
The Hawaiian Air Force Base Command was established at Hickam Field with four subordinate echelons—Hickam Field Base Command, Wheeler Field Base Command, Bellows Field Base Command, and the Hawaiian Air Depot (located at Hickam Field).
Air service to Lanai was stopped as the field was not large enough to handle the larger aircraft being used by Hawaiian Airlines.
Congress appropriated a sum of $1.9 million for the development of John Rodgers Airport in conjunction with the seaplane project. Layout for the Seadrome as submitted by Mr. Robert Campbell in July 1941 was carried out by the U. S. Engineers and the Navy in the war development of John Rodgers Airport.
1942 (January 16)
First significant deployment of aircraft from Hawaiian Air Force begins with movement of 6 B-17s, commanded by Lt. Col. Walter c. Sweeney, to Palmyra for duty with TG 8.9.
1942 (January 30)
B-17s of Hawaiian Air Force TG 8.9 returned to Hawaii, having completed a mission (began on 16 January 1942) which afforded a pioneer look at the problem of air operations over vast Pacific areas, especially the problems of navigation and the servicing of aircraft.
1942 (5 Feb)
The Hawaiian Air Force was redesignated the 7th Air Force.
1942 (20 March)
Hawaiian Airlines started it first scheduled air freight service between the islands.
The Pearl Harbor Naval Base had accomplished the impossible task of repairing the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown and refitting it in three days rather than the estimated three months. The Carriers Hornet, Enterprise and Yorktown and their fighter and bomber aircraft won the Battle of Midway in early June of 1942 by sinking four Japanese aircraft carriers, a major turning point.
At the beginning of the war, the facilities of Pan American Airways were placed at the disposal of the Navy and in June 1942, operations for the Navy were commenced on a contractual basis in conjunction with the Naval Air Transport Service.
1942 (27 June)
Admiral Nimitz appointed a Joint Army-Navy Board on Aviation Facilities in the Main Hawaiian Group, chaired by Army MG Hale. The Naval Air Station on Keehi Lagoon was to have two CV Groups of 180 aircraft and five VP squadrons of 60 aircraft. The Board recommended the following priorities for naval construction:
Naval Air Station, Maui;
Runway A, Keehi Lagoon, John Rodgers Airport;
Barbers Point, Oahu;
John Rodgers Airport;
Nuupia Pond Development,
Naval Air Station, Kaneohe;
Barking Sands, Kauai;
Runways B and D, Keehi Lagoon, John Rodgers Airport;
New Site at Spreckelsville, Maui.
Ewa Field was established as a Marine Corps Air Station. The airfield had four runways, each 300-feet wide, with lengths varying from 2,900 feet to 5,000 feet.
1942 (3 Nov)
The firm of Holmes and Narver was appointed architect-engineer for the Kahului Naval Air Station on the island of Maui.
As Pearl Harbor became congested with ships in 1942, work was rushed on Keehi Seadrome so that seaplane transport operations could be removed from Pearl Harbor.
Civilian aviation operations on Kauai were handled by the Army Air Corps at Barking Sands during the War. After the war, these operations returned to Port Allen Airport.
The Navy determined that Puunene Airport was not adequate and found it necessary to establish another large air station on Maui. A total of 1,341 acres of cane land near Kahului was selected and construction of Kahului Naval Air Station began in 1942.
1943 (15 March)
Naval Air Station Kahului, Maui was placed in commission under command of Commander Phil LeRoy Hayes.
1943 (19 April)
A Joint Resolution of the Territorial Legislature officially changed the name of Hilo Airport to General Lyman Field.
1943 (10 June)
The establishment of the Naval Air Station, Keehi Lagoon, was approved by the Secretary of the Navy. The station was to serve as a terminal for NATS and Pan American Airways. The initial operation of both land and sea plane was planned for December 1, 1943.
The landplane area at John Rodgers airport had been filled by spoil from seaplane channel dredging and three runways were completed. The field was taken over by the Army at the beginning of the war and used as a troop carrier transport base while construction of the runways was in progress.
The Navy received a permit from the Territory to enter and construct facilities for their own use at John Rodgers Airport. Extensive construction was undertaken to provide a base for seaplane and landplane operations, principally for the Naval Air Transport Service. The field was officially designated as Naval Air Station Honolulu. The Army continued to use the field in conjunction with the Navy and all B-29s and many other combat planes were staged through this airport, thus making it one of the most important installations in the war.
1943 (20 Sept)
Operations were officially begun by the arrival and landing of a JRF piloted by the Command Officer, Naval Air Station, Kahului, followed immediately by nine SBDs and one F6F aircraft of Composite Squadron 23 under command of Senior Naval Aviation Present, with personnel and gear on hand for duty.
1943 (26 Dec)
The Secretary of the Navy redesignated the Naval Air Station, Keehi Lagoon as U.S. Naval Air Station, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, with the primary mission of maintaining and operating a base for Naval Air Transport Units, Pacific Wing.
The Navy established a weather and communications facility at Upolu Airport and used it as an auxiliary field to the Naval Air Station, Hilo for training of carrier pilots. The runway was extended to 4,000 feet and housing was provided for the personnel operating the airfield.
The Army made extensive improvements to Molokai Airport including paving runways, taxiways and aprons and lighting of runway 5-23.
The Navy moved onto Hilo Airport under agreement with the Army and constructed a Naval Air Station on which to base and train two full air groups. While the Navy had more extensive installations and greater use of the field, the Army Air Corps continued to operate the control tower, and from Army installations served a sizeable air transport operation conducted by the 19th Troop Transport Squadron. The Naval Air Station also serviced a similar Navy activity. Civilian passenger service continued under the Army.
During the war years, John Rodgers Airport was also home base for the Naval Utility Flight Unit, Naval Air Transport Service, 1522d AAF Base Unit, 15th Air Service Squadron and 19th Troop Carrier Squadron.
The Marine Corps built a small airstrip near Kamuela, Hawaii. It was a graded and oiled strip 3,000 feet long for small aircraft, and was named Bordelon Field. It was built on Parker Ranch land. After the war the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission leased this installation from Parker Ranch.
The Maui Airport at Puunene had been used by the military before the Pearl Harbor attack and was enlarged to become Naval Air Station 30.
Naval Air Station 24 was built at Hilo Airport.
Barbers Point Naval Air Station was under construction at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. It became NAS 14 and was intended to support four air carrier groups.
NAS 1504 at Midway was supported by Barbers Point NAS.
1944 (1 Jan)
Naval Air Station Honolulu (NAS 29) was operational in late 1943 but was commissioned on January 1, 1944. The Navy completed construction of a terminal building, control tower and maintenance hangars for land planes operated by the Naval Air Transport Services. On the north side of the field, the Navy built the Naval Air Station Honolulu to support the Naval Air Transport operations and to house about 5,000 men.
The Seabees began construction of a second runway at Naval Air Station Kaneohe. It was asphalt concrete and 400 feet by 50,000 feet long.
1944 (1 April)
Full scale operation commenced at U.S. Naval Air Station, Honolulu, for both land and sea planes.
1944 (15 July)
An Oahu Local Air Traffic Guide published on July 15, 1944 by the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of the 7th Air Force shows 13 airfields and a local air traffic pattern to be entered at 1,500 feet above mean sea level. Odd altitudes went clockwise and even altitudes went counterclockwise. An alternate route existed over the Waianae Mountains at 3,000 feet msl. The total capacity of Oahu for aircraft is not recorded but must have been somewhere in the vicinity of 1,200.
1945 (29 Jan)
Hawaii became the center of two world air routes offered by the Civil Aeronautics Board.
One Hawaiian Airlines C-53 Douglas aircraft was converted to augment the Sikorsky freighters then in use by the airline.
1945 (1 Nov)
The ban was lifted on private flying, opening the airfields to civilians.
1945 (16 Nov)
Pan American Airways resumed commercial seaplane operations between San Francisco and Hawaii with the Boeing Clippers which had been leased to the Navy during the War.
Act 153, Session Laws of Hawaii 1945, appropriated $150,000 for the construction of a new airport in the district of Hana. This amount was matched by the Civil Aeronautic Administration, providing a total of $300,00 for the project which included the acquisition of rights-of-way and lands. The greater portion of the lands on which the airport was constructed was already owned by the Territory. The new site is approximately four miles northwest of the village of Hana.
John Rodgers Airport and Keehi Seadrome, as constructed by the U.S. Army Engineers and the Navy, consisted of a total area mounting 4,020 acres with four paved runways 200 feet wide and with lengths varying from 6,150 feet to 7,650 feet. There were always three seaplane channels 1,000 feet wide, varying from 10,560 feet to 15,827 feet in length.
Act 153, Session Laws of Hawaii 1945, appropriated $115,000 for the acquisition of lands for Lihue Airport.
1946 (25 March)
Naval Air Station Honolulu was redesignated U.S. Naval Air Facility, Honolulu by the Navy Department. The mission of the base, the support of Naval Air Transport Service, remains unchanged except that operations are to be conducted on a reduced sale.
1946 (2 April)
Hawaiian Air Transport Service began its operations with Beechcraft D-18 F planes, and provides non-scheduled service to all Territorial airports and provides special tourist sight-seeing flights to the neighbor islands, and provides charter services as required.
1946 (1 May)
Port Allen Airport was dedicated. It was used by non-scheduled operators. Scheduled airlines were required to continue service from Barking Sands.
1946 (15 May)
Hickam Field Army Air Base was transferred to the Pacific Air Service Command and merged with the Hawaiian Air Depot.
Pacific Ocean Airlines inaugurated air service between Hawaii and the Mainland. They discontinued operations in April 1948.
1946 (23 June)
The Territory of Hawaii held an air show at NAS Honolulu. This represented the initial major civil air function at this field since the resumption of civil flying after the war.
Every available foot of frontage for fixed base operators at John Rodgers Airport was optioned by mid-1946. Space in the overseas terminal appeared to be at a premium. Requests for space from prospective trans-Pacific operators included the following: Pan American Airways, United Air Lines, KNILM (Dutch Airlines), Australian National Airways, Far East Air Transport, Matson Navigation Co., Transocean Airlines, Pacific Overseas Airlines, Samoan Area Airways, China National Aviation Corp., and Philippine Airlines.
In addition space for federal agencies had to be provided. These included the CAA Control Tower, Airways Traffic Control and Communication Center, U.S. Customs, U.S. Immigration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Public Health and U.S. Weather Bureau.
The following local fixed-base, or non-scheduled operators applied for space at John Rodgers Airport during 1946 and began operation: Andrew Flying Service, K-T Flying Service, Hawaiian Air Transport Services, Trans-Pacific Airlines, Cockett Airlines, Trans-Air Hawaii, Island Flight Service, Hawaiian Aeromotive Repair Service, Hawaiian School of Aeronautics, Rainbow Airlines, Woolley Aircraft Co., Aero Service and Supply and Purdy Aero Repair Service.
1946 (26 July)
Trans-Pacific Airlines, later to become Aloha Airlines inaugurated a non-scheduled operation using DC-3 planes.
Matson Airlines inaugurated air service between Hawaii and the Mainland. They discontinued operations in July 1947.
1946 (18 Sept)
Air service to Lanai Airport was resumed by Hawaiian Airlines with Douglas DC-3s. The field was an unpaved sod strip. The land was donated to the Territory by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.
1946 (30 Sept)
Permission to operate Hilo Airport as a commercial airport was granted the Territory of Hawaii by letter from the Commanding General, Armed Forces; however operational control still remained with the Air Force pending formal cancellation of the existing lease. The land was owned by the Territory but it was under lease to the US Army Air Force. The field had two paved runways, one 6,500 feet and the other 6,000 feet in length. Most users of the airport are commercial operators and the Army and Navy operating between the islands. Terminal facilities were built by the Navy during the war. A master plan was prepared which showed one terminal building to be used jointly by all passenger carrying airlines, a freight terminal and areas for hangar facilities, aircraft parking, etc.
1946 (1 Oct)
John Rodgers Airport was returned to the Territory of Hawaii for operation and maintenance. The airport was one of the largest in the U.S. and comprised 4,019.476 acres. It had four paved landplane runways 200-feet wide with lengths varying from 6,200 linear feet to 7,650 linear feet. There were three seaplane runways each 1,000 feet wide with an average length of 2.7 miles. Only the Navy used the seaplane runways, operating an average of five flights per week with the Mars type seaplanes between Honolulu and California. All commercial overseas flights between the West Coast of the U.S., Australia, the Philippines and East Asia were operating from the Overseas Terminal on the south side of the airport. All interisland operators were based on the north side of the airport. Eleven airlines operated from the airport. The buildings and other facilities were constructed by the Navy during the War. The passenger terminal building was remodeled and the adjacent area landscaped to provide amenities to the traveling public. Concessions included RCA Communications, a barber shop, flower shop and blind vendor’s news stand.
The Aeronautics Commission obtained the services, under contact, of CAA personnel to operate the control tower until Federal funds became available for this purpose. The Navy moved its crash-fire equipment from the south side of the airport to its main fire station on the north side. The commission hired a crash-fire crew to work with two pieces of equipment procured from the Navy and to function in coordination with Navy crash fire activity on the airport. A guard force was recruited for public safety, but was replaced by members of the Honolulu Police Department under contractual arrangements.
1946 (1 Oct)
Puunene Airport was taken over by the Territory of Hawaii under a permissive agreement with the Navy.
1946 (4 Oct)
Col. Clarence S. Irvine and crew flew their Boeing B-29 Superfortress Dreamboat from Hickam Field to Cairo, Egypt nonstop, in 39 hours and 36 minutes. The bomber made the 9,444 mile flight via the North Pole.
1946 (21 Oct)
Cockett Airlines started its non-scheduled charter operations using twin-engine Beechcraft airplanes.
Netherlands Indies Airlines inaugurated air service. They discontinued operations in August 1947.
A 1946 photograph of Barbers Point NAS shows 500 planes on its ramp, nearly wingtip to wingtip.
During World War II, Navy and Marine aircraft destroyed 15,401 enemy aircraft while losing 897 in aerial combat. The military bases in Hawaii had been of immense value in staging, training, repairing and providing fuel, ammunition, supplies and replacement equipment.
Hawaiian Airlines purchased six additional Douglas DC-3 planes and one 7-passenger Beechcraft for its regular passenger and cargo service.
Port Allen Airport was released to the Territory by the military and the runways were repaired at a cost of $33,456 of which the Federal government contributed $17,500.
Maui Flying Academy, operating from Maui Airport, provided service between Maui and Hana Airports on the island of Maui, in addition to general charter service to Lanai and Molokai with infrequent flights to Hilo and Honolulu.
Valley Isle Aviation operated from Kahului Airport, providing service on the island of Maui similar to that furnished by Maui Flying Academy.
Hilo Flying School provided charter and rental services from General Lyman Field to the island of Hawaii.
Pacific Skyways, Ltd., operated from Port Allen Airport, providing services for the island of Kauai.
Morse Field was declared surplus by the military.
1947 (27 Feb)
The Army Air Corps P-82 Twin Mustang Betty Jo took off from Hickam Field and flew some 5,000 miles to LaGuardia Field, New York, non stop with no air-to-air refueling, in 14 hours and 33 minutes. This was the longest flight ever to be made by a fighter airplane.
1947 (25 April)
Australian National Airways inaugurated air service. They discontinued operations in April 1948.
1947 (27 April)
William A. Patterson, president of United Air Lines arrived at John Rodgers Airport in the first DC-6 to be put in overseas service. The occasion was to inaugurate United’s scheduled daily service between Honolulu and San Francisco on May 1, 1947.
1947 (2 May)
John Rodgers Airport was renamed Honolulu Airport upon the approval of Act 31, Session Laws of Hawaii 1947, entitled "An Act to Officially Establish the Name of Honolulu Airport" changed the name of John Rodgers Airport and Keehi Lagoon Seaplane Harbor to Honolulu Airport. This was in line with the Mainland practice in changing longstanding names of airports to that of the city where the airport was located. The designating of airports by the geographical location eliminated confusion in the selling of tickets and operational communications throughout the world.
1947 (6 June)
Molokai Airport was returned to the Territory of Hawaii by the Navy.
1947 (20 June)
The Hawaii Aeronautics Commission held its organization meeting. Glenn T. Belcher was elected chairman and Robert L. Campbell was appointed Director of Aeronautics. On September 23, 1947 Mr. Belcher was appointed as Assistant Director of Aeronautics.
1947 (1 July)
Operation of the control tower at General Lyman Field was taken over by the Air Force when that organization was formed from the Army Air Corps, and continued until October 1948 when it was turned over to the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission which funded tower operation by Civil Aeronautics Administration personnel.
1947 (1 July)
Act 32, Sessions Laws of Hawaii 1947: “An Act relating to aeronautics; creating an aeronautics commission for the Territory of Hawaii; prescribing the powers, duties and functions of such commission and providing revenues; making regulatory provisions as to airports, air navigation facilities, and aeronautics and prescribing penalties; adding a new chapter to the Revised Laws of Hawaii 1945; repealing sections 4930 and 4932 of the Revised Laws of Hawaii 1945; and adding a new section and other laws to conform to this act . . ." transferred the powers vested in the Superintendent of Public Works (By Act 50 of the Special Session Laws of Hawaii 1941, and previous legislation of 1932) to the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission to take effect 10 days after the organization meeting of the Commission, but not later than July 1, 1947.
1947 (1 July)
By Act 32 of the 1947 Legislature, the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission was created, and as of July 1, 1947, management and control of all airports used for commercial aviation in the Territory were transferred from the Superintendent of Public Works to this new commission. The commission consisted of seven members who were appointed by the Governor. The following airports were under the management of the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission: Oahu—Honolulu Airport, Bellows Field, Haleiwa Airport; Kauai—Port Allen Airport; Molokai—Kalaupapa Airport, Molokai (Homestead) Airport; Maui—Maui Airport (Puunene), Kahului Airport, Hamoa Airport (Hana); Lanai—Lanai Airport; and Hawaii—General Lyman Field (Hilo Airport), Kamuela Airport, Upolu Airport; Morse Field (South Cape). Three more airports were under construction: Kauai: Lihue Airport; Hawaii—Kailua (Kona) Airport; and Maui—Hana Airport. Kipapa Airport on Oahu may be made available for student pilot flying.
Philippine Airlines inaugurated air service to Hawaii.
1947 (18 Sept)
The US Air Force officially became a separate service after President Truman signed the Unification Bill on August 26, 1947.
China National Aviation Corp. inaugurated air service to Hawaii.
Trans-Ocean Airlines inaugurated air service to Hawaii.
1947 (15 Nov)
Trans-Air Hawaii, initiated four DC-3s in freight and express service and carried a total of 12 million pounds during the year 1947. On November 27, 1947 Trans Air received a CAB Letter of Registration to fly a regular freight schedule between islands.
1947 (31 Dec)
In 1947 overseas operations between Honolulu and the Mainland through Honolulu from the Philippines, Australia and the Orient totaled 2,729 arrivals at Honolulu Airport: Pan American World Airways, 1,794; Transocean (including PAL), 300; United Air Lines, 247; Australian National Airways, 168; Pacific Overseas Airlines, 95; Matson Navigation Co., 53; China National Aviation Co., 33; Royal Netherlands Indies Airways, 27; Far Eastern Air Transport, Inc, 8; and Qantas Airways, 4. Commercial airlines carried 63,055 passengers between Hawaii and the Mainland, and scheduled interisland passengers numbered 314,608.
Andrew Flying Service operated a charter service and flying school.
Hawaiian Air Transport Service with twin-engine Beechcraft airplanes operated a deluxe charter and tour service.
K-T Flying Service operated a charter service and flying school.
Island Flight Service consolidated with Aero Service and Supply in the operation of a repair, rental and charter service.
GI Flight Training under the government vocational training program for veterans was the main source of revenue for flight schools with GI contracts This federal expenditure was a great help to the struggling private flying industry.
The Hawaiian School of Aeronautics operated a ground and flying school.
The 1947 Territorial Legislature recognized the need for an airport to serve the Kona area. It officially designated an area parallel to the beach and known as Kailua airstrip to become Kona Airport.
Act 23, Session Laws of Hawaii 1947, appropriated $270,000 for construction of Lihue Airport. The Civil Aeronautics Administration provided additional funds by matching the construction fund and 25 percent of the land acquisition costs.
The 7th Air Force was renamed the Pacific Air Command in 1947 but was inactivated in 1949. The Air Force, created out of the Army, became a separate service in 1947. Wheeler Field was inactivated in 1947 and put in caretaker status, while activity at Hickam was limited mostly to servicing through traffic by air transports.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration moved its communications facilities to the third floor of the Honolulu Airport terminal building and the U.S. Weather bureau established an airport weather station there.
Before the Korean War, the Air Force and Navy combined airlift operations into MATS, a single-manager concept. Between 1949 and 1954, MATS flew 559,000 passengers across the Pacific through Hickam.
Act 23, Session Laws of Hawaii 1947, provided $17,500 for paving and developing Port Allen Airport into a suitable field for use by charter or privately owned aircraft. The airport was located on land owned by the Territory. This field, because of its short runways, could not be used by the Army during the War and was plowed up to prevent its possible use by the enemy. After the war it was regraded and opened to small aircraft operation. In lieu of restoration, The Army paid the Territory $17,500 to match the Legislative appropriation for construction.
Upolu Airport was returned to the Territory by the Navy and civilian air service was resumed, with the Navy buildings used for terminal facilities.
1948 (16 Jan)
The U.S. Army granted a right-of-entry into Morse Field to the Territory.
1948 (24 Jan)
Mokuleia Field was renamed for George Dillingham. It was now called Dillingham Field.
Paving of a 2,500-foot runway at Port Allen Airport began, along with an aircraft parking apron and connecting taxiway. The work was completed May 22, 1948.
1948 (26 March)
Hickam Field was redesignated Hickam Air Force Base.
1948 (1 April)
A lease was entered into by the Aeronautics Commission with the Spencecliff Corp. for the operation of a restaurant, coffee shop and cocktail lounge (Sky Room) at Honolulu Airport. It was anticipated that the restaurants would be an important source of non-aeronautical revenue.
1948 (4 April)
Bellows Field was officially opened for private aircraft after the Territory acquired a temporary right-of-entry for a portion of it. The airfield was owned by the U.S. Army Air Force and was developed extensively by the Army during the war.
1948 (12 April)
Reconstruction of Lanai Airport was started on April 12, 1948 and was the first Territorial Airport to be developed under joint Civil Aeronautics Administration-Territorial participation of funds. The project consisted of one-paved runway 80-feet wide and 3,700 feet long, with necessary taxiways and parking aprons. By Act 23 of the 1947 Session of the Territorial Legislature, an amount of $105,000 was appropriated for the development. This amount was matched by CAA funds, making a total of $210,000. The project was scheduled for completion in July 1948.
British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines inaugurated air service to Hawaii.
1948 (2 June)
New rules and regulations of the Territorial Airport System were approved by Acting Governor Oren E. Long. These rules were the first revision since the rules and regulations were promulgated by the former Territorial Aeronautical Commission on July 12, 1930. The rules regulated airport and aircraft operation and also enabled the Honolulu Police Department to enforce vehicular traffic regulations at Honolulu Airport.
1948 (4 June)
Philippine Air Lines placed DC-6s in operation between San Francisco and Manila on the first sleeper service across the Pacific.
1948 (10 June)
Construction began on Kailua (Kona) Airport. It was comprised of a paved runway 100-feet wide by 3,500 feet in length with taxiways, aircraft parking mat, and an access road connecting the main road through the village of Kailua. Territorial funds of $140,000 were matched by the Civil Aeronautics Administration. Work was scheduled for completion in 1949.
1948 (30 June)
The following aeronautical activities were available at Honolulu Airport: Scheduled Airlines (Overseas)—Pan American Airways, United Air Lines, China National Aviation Corporation, British Commonwealth Pacific Airways and Philippine Airlines; Non-scheduled (Overseas)—Trans-Ocean Airlines (Guam-USA, China –USA), Pacific Overseas Airlines (Contract & Ferry); Scheduled Interisland—Hawaiian Airlines (Passenger and Freight); Trans-Air Hawaii (Temporary permit); Non-scheduled Interisland—Andrew Flying Service, K-T Flying Service, Hawaiian Air Transport Service, Cockett Airlines, Island Flight Service; Trans-Pacific Airlines; Flying Schools—Andrew Flying Service, K-T Flying Service, Hawaiian School of Aeronautics, Aero Service & Supply; Island Flight Service; Mechanic’s Schools—Honolulu Vocational; Repair Shops (Light Plane)—Andrew Flying Service, K-T Flying Service, Hawaiian School of Aeronautics, Leighton & Schriver Metal Shop, Aviation Radio Maintenance Company, Associated Aircraft Repair, Aero Service & Supply; Repair Shops (Heavy Planes)—Hawaiian Airlines, Trans-Pacific Airlines, Trans-Air Hawaii, Hawaiian Air Transport Service, Cockett Airlines, Pan American Airways; Government Planes—Military Air Transport Service, Utility Flight Unit, Civil Aeronautics Administration.
1948 (30 June)
As of this date the following airports were under the management of the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission: Honolulu Airport, Bellow Field, Haleiwa Airport, Port Allen Airport, Kalaupapa Airport, Molokai Airport, Hamoa Airport (Hana), Lanai Airport, General Lyman Field (Hilo), Kamuela Airport, Upolu Airport, Morse Field (South Cape). Three new airports were under construction to be added to the list on completion: Lihue Airport, Kailua (Kona Airport) and Hana Airport. There were no civil airports at Kahului; that site still belonged to the Naval Air Station. Puunene still served as Maui Airport.
1948 (30 June)
The construction of Maui Airport began in 1938 by the Department of Public Works and the development was continued by various agencies such as the U.S. District Engineers under the Civil Aeronautics Administration-Territorial airport program, then by a joint Army-Navy program and then completed by the Navy. The airport comprised 2,317.969 acres of land. The land was owned by the Territory of Hawaii, Army- Navy and Hawaii Commercial and Sugar Company. The main portion of the airport, including the runways and taxiways, was located within the boundaries of land owned by the Territory and consisted of 515.639 acres. This area, which was under lease to the Navy, was in the process of being declared surplus to their needs and returned to the Territory. Plans for future development of this airport were not made since negotiations were under way with the Navy for a long-term lease on Kahului Naval Air Station which was considered much more desirable for commercial airline operation. The airport had two paved runways 400 feet in width and 6,900-feet and 6,000-feet in length. The airport was used mainly by commercial airlines operating between the islands. Each airline had its own terminal facilities.
1948 (30 June)
Molokai Airport was located on land belonging to the Territory and was leased to the Army during the war. It had been declared surplus to the Army’s needs and was in the process of being returned to the Territory. Development was made by the Army and consisted of two runways, 4,400-feet and 3,200 feet in length. Each is paved to a width of 200- feet. The only terminal facility belonged to Hawaiian Airlines.
1948 (30 June)
Upolu Airport had one paved runway 4,000-feet long and was the only airport in that part of the island which met the requirements for scheduled airline operation. Hawaiian Airlines was the principal user and made one stop a day en route from Honolulu to Hilo, and return.
1948 (30 June)
Kamuela Airport was located on Parker Ranch lands and was built by the U.S. Marines during World War II. It had a paved runway 3,000 feet in length, and was used extensively by charter airlines and freight planes. The 1947 Legislature appropriated $60,000 for the development of this field but the construction necessary to develop a field with sufficient length to meet schedule airline operation using DC-3 aircraft would necessitate an expenditure of several hundred thousand dollars. Studies were on-going as the community wanted to be able to fly to Honolulu.
1948 (30 June)
Morse Field was an Army air field located on the south tip of the Island of Hawaii and was controlled by the Territory on a temporary permit basis pending final transfer. Because of its remote location, the Aeronautics Commission did not see commercial use, but wanted to retain the strip as an emergency landing field.
1948 (30 June)
Hamoa Airport in Hana was owned by the Territory and had been in operation since May 1934. Hawaiian Airlines used to operate from there with smaller planes, but the field could not be economically developed to meet the requirement of larger type air carriers. Plans were being developed for a new airport in the Hana District. Presently only small charter and private airplanes land there.
1948 (30 June)
Construction plans for the new Hana Airport were about 30 percent complete.
1948 (30 June)
Haleiwa Airfield was on privately owned land under lease to the U.S. Army and was used by both the Army and Navy during the War. The use of this field by small plane operations was acquired by the Department of Public Works prior to the creation of the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission at no cost to the Territory. The Army lease expired in September 1948 and upon the expiration for this lease, its continued use by the Territory has not been determined.
Construction began on Lihue Airport including one runway, a small aircraft parking apron and connecting taxiways.
Puunene Airport reverted to the Territory of Hawaii under a Quitclaim Deed. No improvements were planned as the Aeronautical Commission planned to use Kahului Naval Air Station as the principal airport on Maui.
Northwest Airlines inaugurated air service to Honolulu.
Land was acquired near Ahukini, Kauai for construction of Lihue Airport. A contract for grading and paving a 3,750 foot runway was let for $359,627. To complete the project, paving taxiways and parking areas brought the total to $678,854. Grading and paving was completed in December 1950.
Morse Field at South Point on the Big Island was provided to the Territory from the Army.
1949 (12 March)
A bid of $27,234 was accepted for construction of a terminal building at Kona Airport. Construction began on April 1.
1949 (6 June)
Trans Pacific Airlines received a CAB certificate for scheduled operations serving all major airports with 5 DC-3 28-passenger planes.
1949 (1 July)
Federal funds became available for the operation of the control tower at General Lyman Field.
1949 (10 July)
Kona Airport at Kailua was dedicated.
Canadian Pacific Airlines inaugurated air service to Honolulu.
Associated Airways inaugurated air service to Honolulu.
1949 (1 Sept)
Lihue Airport opened to limited operation while the terminal was being built.
A search was on for a site for a new airport for Kamuela as Bordelon Field was found to be unsuitable for development.
Northwest Airlines began regularly scheduled service between Portland, Seattle and Honolulu.
The Hawaii Aeronautics Commission accepted Naval Air Station Kahului from the Navy on a permitted basis.
Fencing was installed at Kona Airport to keep cattle off the runway. The runway was lengthened to 3,800 feet. This was later extended to 4,400 feet.
The Navy decommissioned Marine Corps Air Corps Air Station.