Akron-Fulton International Airport

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Akron Fulton International Airport
Aerial view of KAKR.png
Type Public
Owner City of Akron
City Akron, Ohio, USA
Runway Length Material
7/25 1,932 m Asphalt
1/19 712 m Asphalt

Akron Fulton International Airport is located in Akron, OH. Opening in 1929, it was one of the first airports in the American midwest. For a few years before WWII it was known as Naval Air Station Akron. During WWII Goodyear built and test flew F4U Corsairs on the airport grounds. After the war the airport became publicly owned. In the 1930's through 1950's it was used by airliners such as the DC-3 and Lockheed Electra. Although most of it's traffic is now general aviation, it still has customs facilities and therefore is an international airport. In 1985 Akron Fulton Airport was recognized as the 3rd National Landmark of Soaring by the National Soaring Museum.

Historic Landmarks

Goodyear Airdock

The Goodyear Airdock in FlightGear

The Goodyear Airdock is one of the most prominent aviation landmarks in Akron. It was constructed in 1929, and construction cost 2.2 million USD (26.4 USD adjusted for inflation in 2007). At the time it was built, it was the largest building in the world without interior supports, and provided a huge structure in which lighter-than-air ships could be constructed. The first two built were the USS Akron and the USS Macon.

The Airdock is so large that temperature changes within the structure could be very different from that on the outside of the structure. To accommodate these fluctuations which could potentially cause structural damage, a row of 12 windows 100 feet (30.48 m) off the ground were installed. Furthermore, the entire structure is mounted on rollers to compensate for expansion or contraction resulting from temperature changes. Rumors (dating back to 1930) state that it actually rains inside the structure. When the humidity is high in the Airdock, a sudden change in temperature causes condensation. This condensation falls in a mist, creating the illusion of rain, according to the designer.

When World War II broke out, enclosed production areas were desperately needed, and the Airdock was used for building airships. The last airship built in the Airdock was the U.S. Navy's ZPG-3W, built in 1960. The building later housed the photographic division of the Goodyear Aerospace Corporation.

In 1980, the Goodyear Airdock was designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Airdock has more recently served as the site of the 1986 kickoff rally for the United Way of Summit County, where 200,000 members of the public visited. Bill Clinton spoke during his 1992 election campaign, bringing some 30,000 visitors to the site.

In 1987, the Loral Corporation purchased Goodyear Aerospace and the Goodyear Airdock as a result of James Goldsmith's greenmailing of Goodyear. The Loral Corporation (and its holdings, such as the Goodyear Airdock) was purchased by Lockheed Martin in 1996. The Airdock is not open to the public, but it can be seen by those traveling on U.S. Route 224 east of downtown Akron.

Akron-Fulton Airport Administration Building

The Akron-Fulton Airport Administration Building which houses the customs office.

The administration building is a significant contribution to the development of early commercial aviation in Akron. Its Art Deco architecture and its design are a good representation of the development of airports during the first major expansion of air travel in the 1920s and 1930s. The administration building is located just north of the runways and the Goodyear Airdock, which was built in 1929. The Akron City Council authorized construction of the terminal in 1930, with construction completed and the terminal opening on June 15, 1931.

The location and layout of the terminal was influenced by the City Beautiful movement, originally reached through a landscaped traffic circle and at the end of a boulevard-like parking area with lines of trees. The terminal building is in an Art Deco style, with a facade built of cream-colored brick and terra cotta detailing with cream, muted orange, and soft green colors.

The terminal served commercial air traffic until 1962, when the Akron-Canton Airport opened to the south. The customs and administrative offices continued to serve traffic from Canada, as well as small aircraft traffic, until the early 1990s. At that time, the property was sold, and the terminal was adaptively reused as Cafe Piscatelli, an Italian restaurant.

On the road side of the building, a monument to Columbus was erected by the Italian Community of Akron (not yet modelled in FlightGear). On the airport side is a small courtyard decorated in the Art Deco style.