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Ellington Airport (Texas)


Ellington Airport (Texas)

Ellington Airport
Ellington Field
Airport type Public / Militar
Owner City of Houston
Operator Houston Airport System
Serves Houston, Texas
Elevation AMSL 32 ft / 10 m
EFD is located in Texas
Location of airport in Texas
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 8,001 2,439 Concrete
17R/35L 9,000 2,743 Concrete
17L/35R 4,609 1,405 Concrete
Statistics (2009)
Aircraft operations 126,702
Based aircraft 197

Ellington Airport[1][2] (ICAO: KEFDFAA LID: EFD) is a public and military use airport in Harris County, Texas, United States.[1] It is owned by the City of Houston and located 15 nautical miles (17 mi, 28 km) southeast of downtown Houston.[1] Formerly known as Ellington Field,[3][4] it is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation reliever airport.[5] The airport does not have scheduled commercial passenger service. On September 4, 2013, the City of Houston unveiled a plan which if approved, would build a terminal building on the site with the facility being rebranded as the Houston Spaceport.


  • History 1
  • Overview 2
  • Facilities and aircraft 3
  • Statistics 4
    • Annual traffic 4.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Established by the Army Air Service on May 21, 1917, Ellington Field was one of the initial World War I Army Air Service installations when aviation was in its infancy.[6] Originally created as a training facility, Ellington Airport is currently used by military, commercial, NASA aircraft and general aviation sectors. Ellington Airport is one of the few airfields built for World War I training purposes still in operation today.

In January 2009, a name change from Ellington Field to Ellington Airport was approved by the Houston City Council.[7] In August 2011, the city announced that the facility would be renamed Ellington International Airport.[8] However, as of May 2013, it is still listed as Ellington Airport by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Houston Airport System.[1][2]

In April 2014, Sierra Nevada Corporation signed an agreement with Houston Airport System officials to explore development of Ellington as a commercial Spaceport. The ultimate goal of the agreement is to use Ellington as a landing site for the company's Dream Chaser space plane. A feasibility study found it would cost US$48 million to $122 million to equip Ellington for landing and launching small space vehicles on a regular basis. With federal approval in June 2015, Ellington Airport was granted a Launch Site License from the Federal Aviation Administration that established the airport as the 10th commercial spaceport in the United States.[9]


Entrance to the airport
World War II, Vietnam era and modern US aircraft flying in formation at Wings Over Houston at Ellington Airport

Ellington Airport consists of three active runways (a 9,001 - foot ILS CAT I runway, an 8,001-foot (2,439 m) runway, and a 4,609-foot (1,405 m) runway).[10] The airport supports the operations of the United States military, NASA and a variety of general aviation tenants.[4] The field is a base for NASA's administrative, cargo transport and high-altitude aircraft, which also includes NASA's fleet of T-38 Talon jets bailed to the agency from USAF, Gulfstream Shuttle Training Aircraft, and a former USN C-9 "Weightless Wonder VI" replaced the USAF NKC-135 aircraft known as the Vomit Comet, a zero-g trainer.[11] The only two WB-57F aircraft used for atmospheric research and reconnaissance still flying in the world today are housed at Ellington.[12] The Texas Air National Guard, Texas Army National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard also maintain a presence at the base. The Coast Guard facility known as Coast Guard Air Station Houston operates 3 Eurocopter MH-65C "Dolphin" Short-Range Recovery (SRR) helicopters for search and rescue (SAR) and port security roles. Ellington Field is also home to the largest flying club in Texas and the annual "Wings Over Houston" airshow.[10]

Ellington Field once had scheduled commercial air service: fixed-wing route flown in the United States at only 25 nmi (46 km). Flight times were as short as six minutes, depending on direction of departure. To this day, Ellington Field serves as a reliever airport for both Bush Intercontinental and the William P. Hobby Airport, and handles diverted aircraft from those two airports during bad weather events and peak traffic times.[7] A Terminal Aerodrome Forecast is produced for the airfield 365 days a year at 20Z, 04Z, and 12Z by the 26th Operational Weather Squadron, a USAF weather squadron.

Facilities and aircraft

Ellington Field covers an area of 2,362 acres (956 ha) at an elevation of 32 feet (10 m) above mean sea level. It has three runways with concrete surfaces: 4/22 is 8,001 by 150 feet (2,439 x 46 m); 17R/35L is 9,000 by 150 feet (2,743 x 46 m); 17L/35R is 4,609 by 80 feet (1,405 x 24 m).[1]

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2009, the airport had 126,702 aircraft operations, an average of 347 per day: 70% general aviation, 22% military, 6% air taxi, and 2% scheduled commercial. At that time there were 197 aircraft based at this airport: 46% single-engine, 28% jet, 12% multi-engine, 12% military, 2% helicopter, and 1% glider.[1]


Annual traffic

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at Ellington Airport, 1987 thru 2014[13]
Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers
1987 0 1997 111,405 2007 2
1988 0 1998 102,550 2008 0
1989 0 1999 96,943 2009 0
1990 35,908 2000 73,880 2010 1
1991 85,560 2001 60,255 2011 0
1992 108,976 2002 76,035 2012 0
1993 114,656 2003 80,306 2013 2
1994 117,895 2004 53,947 2014 4
1995 91,028 2005 0
1996 94,299 2006 0


  1. ^ a b c d e f g FAA Airport Master Record for EFD (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 2, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "About Ellington Airport". Houston Airport System. May 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ "KEFD – Ellington Field Airport".  
  4. ^ a b "About Ellington Field". Houston Airport System. Archived from the original on March 2, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  5. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" ( 
  6. ^ World War I Group, Historical Division, Special Staff, United States Army, Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War (1917–1919)
  7. ^ a b "Ellington Field gets new name".  
  8. ^ McEver, Melissa. "Major expansion set at Ellington Airport." Houston Business Journal. August 12, 2011. Retrieved on August 15, 2011.
  9. ^ "Houston Airport System plans from spaceport approved by FAA". June 30, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Program Overview: Ellington Field". Houston Airport System. Archived from the original on March 13, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Ellington Field Aircraft" (PDF).  
  12. ^ "Study of Cloud Ice Crystals May Improve Climate Change Forecasts".  
  13. ^ Traffic Updates. Retrieved on Mar 28, 2015.

External links

  • Official website
  • Houston Airport System - Ellington Airport Master Plan
  • Ellington Field at
  • Wings Over Houston Airshow
  • FAA Airport Diagram (PDF), effective June 23, 2016
  • FAA Terminal Procedures for EFD, effective June 23, 2016
  • Resources for this airport:
    • FAA airport information for EFD
    • AirNav airport information for KEFD
    • ASN accident history for EFD
    • FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart, Terminal Procedures

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