Essex County Airport

Essex County Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Essex County Airport

type = Public
owner = Essex County Improvement Authority
operator =
city-served = Caldwell, New Jersey
location = Fairfield, New Jersey
elevation-f = 173
elevation-m = 53
website =
r1-number = 4/22
r1-length-f = 4,553
r1-length-m = 1,388
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 9/27
r2-length-f = 3,721
r2-length-m = 1,134
r2-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2006
stat1-header = Aircraft operations
stat1-data = 245,872
stat2-header = Based aircraft
stat2-data = 281
footnotes = Source: Federal Aviation AdministrationFAA-airport|ID=CDW|use=PU|own=PU|site=13578.*A, effective 2007-12-20]

Essex County Airport Airport codes|CDW|KCDW|CDW is a public airport located two miles (3 km) north of the central business district of Caldwell, a borough of northwestern Essex County in the U.S. state of New Jersey. It is owned by the Essex County Improvement Authority and is a popular general aviation airport for aircraft traveling to New York City and northern New Jersey.

Although the FAA officially lists the airport's location as Caldwell and the FAA/IATA identifier "CDW" is an abbreviation of that name, the airport buildings and the larger part of the airport grounds are located in town of Fairfield.


Early Days (1929-1932)

The property that would eventually become the airport was originally occupied by the Fairfield Dairy Company, owned by Stephen Francisco.

In April 1929 Essex Airport Corporation was formed by Walter Marvin and six other individuals. The intention of the company was to open an airport to serve Montclair, New Jersey, a town seven miles away. The tract of land that Essex Airport Corporation intended for the airport was the Fairfield Dairy Company land that had also been used during WWI as a temporary airfield for the Naval Rifle Range which had been located along the Passaic River in Pine Brook. Some of the early references to airport have the designation “Marvin Airport”, named after Walter Marvin.

In May 1929, soon after the creation of Essex Airport Corporation, Curtiss Airports Corporation acquired Essex Airport Corporation. Since Walter Marvin was also president of Curtiss Airports Corporation at the time, this rapid acquisition was most likely the original intention.

In Sept of 1929 Curtiss-Wright Airport was open to flight operations, and in Oct 1930 a “Grand Opening” air show at the Curtiss-Wright Airport was held.

Caldwell-Wright (1932-1973)

In Sept 1932 Curtiss Airport Corp and Curtiss-Wright Flying Service are shut down and sometime between late 1932 and early 1933 the name of the airport was changed to Caldwell-Wright reflecting the separation of airport operations from the other entities of the corporation. The use of Caldwell within the airport’s name is due to the location of the airport within Caldwell Township. It was not until the early 1950s, that Caldwell Township changed its name to Fairfield in order to avoid being confused with the near-by Caldwell Borough. The reference to “Caldwell Airport” continues to present day and is consistently used by pilots and FAA tower controllers during radio communications.

From Sept 1932 to Jan 1942 White Flying Service was active at airport, providing flight services.

With the impending military buildup prior to America’s entrance to WWII, the demand for aircraft increased, prompting a major expansion of the entire aviation industry. With the formation of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in July 1929, the corporation had three principal divisions; one of the three, the Propeller Division, (originator of the Electric Propeller) was ultimately headquartered at Caldwell-Wright Airport. The Caldwell Plant and headquarter offices of the Propeller Division was opened on April 19, 1941, just 96 days after the groundbreaking. The first 300 men waited as their machines were placed in the factory, so that as soon as the installation was complete, the men could begin work. The Caldwell plant was huge, it covered convert|380000|sqft|m2|-3, and was built with the most modern industrial designs available at the time. The entire production area employed convert|16950|sqft|m2|0 of actinic glass (tinted glass which absorbs a high percentage of solar radiation) to assure maximum use of sunlight. The air circulation system was capable of a complete change of air every five minutes. During WWII employment at the Caldwell plant grew to approximately 6,000. The rapid expansion of the Propeller Division was seen in the building of the Caldwell plant. Where the plant was originally designed to occupy a floor area of convert|270000|sqft|m2|-3, the factory was increased to its final size of convert|380000|sqft|m2|-3 even before the plant was competed in record time.

In addition to the building of the propeller plant, the airport was expanded to allow for much larger planes to land by enlarging the runways to 4,500 feet.In total Curtiss-Wright supplied 85 percent of the propellers for U.S. aircraft in World War II.

Curtiss-Wright opened the airport for public use in 1965. Originally the tract owned by Curtiss-Wright was in excess of convert|650|acre|ha|0. The company gradually began selling parcels of the land for industrial development and by 1973 the airport land remaining was reduced down to convert|278|acre|ha|0.

Essex County Airport (1973-present)

Fairfield's largely agricultural community began to change in the 1950s and 1960's with the post war boom and construction of major highways nearby. Development of large residential tracts and a modest amount of single-story industrial space followed. It was in these two decades that Fairfield's development pace had quickened, especially along Route 46 and around the airport. The airport itself, however, did not benefit from that development and was ready to be sold by Curtiss-Wright Corporation in June 1972 for residential units or industrial development. For the past several years while the land value was appreciating, Curtiss-Wright had been leasing the airport to Fairfield Aviation, who operated the airport. Now that the land value grew, Curtiss-Wright decided to sell off the airport property for $6.5 million.

John Clarey, of Fairfield Aviation (Also President of Aviation Advisory Council of New Jersey) and Harry Hamlen, who was the editor and publisher of Air-List-Ads aviation magazine, and director of the Aviation Advisory Council of New Jersey, were responsible for keeping airport from becoming redeveloped. Hamlen and Clarey were the main drivers in persuading the Essex County Improvement Authority (ECIA) to purchase the airport in 1973.

John Clarey retired as president of Fairfield Aviation in New Jersey in 1978In December 1983 construction began on the first of two four-story, convert|80000|sqft|m2|-3|sing=on office buildings located on the east side of the airport.

The ECIA originally had great plans for mixed office and industrial development of the airport's perimeter as well as general overhaul of all runways, hangars and control equipment. However the plans of industrial development had to be abandoned due to wetlands and other environmental issues. A restaurant with an aeronautical theme (94th Bomb Group Restaurant) was built in 1986. This restaurant was very popular up until March 2006 when it closed was torn down. The ECIA has not yet released details on what will replace the restaurant, but it will most likely be new airport buildings.

The Essex County Airport gained notoriety when John F. Kennedy, Jr., who based his private aircraft there, crashed after departing the airport en route for Martha's Vineyard on July 16, 1999.

Now the Airport is under the management of retired Army and Air Force veteran Tom Gomez, and is still operated by the ECIA. The airport has completed a big list of new projects including new hangars, high intensity pilot controlled lighting, PAPI, Rwy 22 repaved and restripped, and many more upgrades to operational status. Taxiways P, D, G, and B have all also been repaved. Future projects for the airport have been yet to be released by airport officials

Currently the airport has three flight schools, one fixed based operator, one aircraft sales company, and several certified service centers for Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft. The FAA Control Tower at Caldwell handles mostly training flights during basic operating hours, however the traffic also includes light and medium jets, helicopters, and private government flights.

Caldwell/Essex County Airport is very likely to be effected by increase in VLJ traffic due to begin in late 2007. The airport has a runway of 4,553 ft with minimal jet traffic, and no commercial traffic. A direct link to transit makes it the perfect choice for jets traveling to the New York City area, without the delays of larger airports.Fact|date=July 2007

Facilities and aircraft

Essex County Airport covers an area of 275 acres (111 ha) which contains two asphalt paved runway] s: 4/22 measuring 4,553 x 80 ft (1,388 x 24 m) and 10/28 measuring 3,721 x 75 ft (1,134 x 23 m).

For the 12-month period ending January 1, 2006, the airport had 245,872 aircraft operations, an average of 673 per day: 98% general aviation, 2% air taxi and <1% military. At that time there were 281 aircraft based at this airport: 79% single-engine, 19% multi-engine and 2% helicopter.

Fixed Based Operators (FBOs) at this airport include Mac Dan Aviation and previously Caldwell Air Service. Caldwell Air Service closed its doors in April 2008, after being unable to pay rent on their hangar amid rising fuel prices and competition from Mac Dan. An FAA Air Traffic Control Tower is located on Wright Way near the north side of the field near both of the FBOs.

Local chapters of the Yankee Air Force and the Experimental Aircraft Association hold regular monthly meetings in the Operations building. [ EAA Chapter 73] is one of the pioneer chapters, in continuous operation since 1959.

See also

*List of airports in New Jersey
*List of airports in the New York City area
*Transportation in New York City


External links

* [ Century Air Flight Academy]
*Wikimapia|40.8736|-74.2805|15|Aerial photo

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