An Overview of the Data presented within the State Airports Lists

In early 2013, during the first round of FAA/ATC sequestration threats, the entire Public (both individuals and the media) was left scrambling, trying to figure out which airports might be impacted. FAA and NATCA were preaching doom and gloom, but the Public questions produced few solid answers. In fact, the most obvious answer was that there existed no solid database showing the entirety of U.S. controlled airports. Nor was there an easy way to compare two different airports, in terms of operations per day, based aircraft, how many controllers, operating costs, or AIP annual subsidy amounts. Lacking this data, concerned citizens were denied a chance to help FAA figure out how to better spend its diminishing financial resources.

The ‘State Airports Lists’ webpages aim to correct this problem. These pages were created in early 2014, and present data for roughly 800 different U.S. airports … which is just a fraction of the thousands of U.S. airports. Within each state list, the airports are presented in a descending order – from busiest to slowest.

The sample page presented below (for the airport at Bellingham, WA) identifies nine sections, marked ‘A’ through ‘I’. A key then follows, explaining content and data sources for all data.

  • Airport
    The airport’s official name, location, and total acreage. Acreage is an important data point and fundamental aviation impact, as it reflects the taking of land away from other, potentially more beneficial uses. [Source: Form 5010’s, submitted by airport operators]
  • Four Nearest Airports:
    The four closest airports with published instrument procedures are presented, including their direction and distance. All four airport codes are linked to pages showing further airport information. The ‘average distance’ reflects close or distant proximity to other well-developed airports. [Source: compiled from data]
  • Based Aircraft:
    The TOTAL number of based aircraft is presented, followed by numbers of single-props, multi-props, jets, helicopters, military, and personal/recreational aircraft (gliders & ultralights). [Source: Form 5010’s, submitted by airport operators]
  • ATADS trends:
    FAA uses ‘Air Traffic Activity Database System’ (ATADS) to compile operational statistics for hundreds of airports, including most airports with control towers. All ATADS data from 1990 forward was collected and processed, to identify the peak traffic year. The data is presented here, showing trends for 2012 vs. 2007, vs. 2000, and vs. the peak year for each tracked airport. [Source: FAA’s ATADS data]
  • Operations per Day:
    An average operations per day is calculated, with one count representing one takeoff or one landing. Also included is the local operations percentage (when the local operations are at least 34% of total operations), and enplanements (for CY2012, where compiled by FAA). [Source: Form 5010’s, submitted by airport operators]
  • Control Tower status:
    Control tower hours of operation are listed, showing the average hours/day the tower is open. Control towers are also color-coded with a heavy border: FAA towers (orange), Contract towers (green), and military towers (blue). Airports without control towers have a thin, subdued border. Tower staffing is also presented; FAA towers show staffing numbers as of 9/24/11, while most Contract Towers have from 5- to 8- controllers. [SOURCE: FAA’s ‘Controller Workforce Plan’; Contract Tower Association’s ‘Annual Report’]
  • AIP funding data:
    Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds were compiled for the years 2010 through 2013. The average annual AIP subsidy is presented for selected airports, including all airports with an average subsidy exceeding $250,000 per year. This figure is then divided by annual operations to produce an estimated ‘Annual Subsidy per Airport Operation’ (in red). All AIP subsidies above $5 per operation are presented. [SOURCE: FAA’s AIP annual summary reports]
  • Airport Diagram:
    FAA has created Airport Diagrams for hundreds of airports. Many of these were downloaded from FAA, then uploaded to for use in the Airport Lists. Click on the Airport Diagram tile to view the jpeg file. [Source: ‘Digital Products’ at’, copied winter 2014]
  • Links:
    Airports with a history of aviation impacts may have a link to an webpage, with further airport/impact information. These links will be added as the new pages are created. Four other useful links include:
    • click on the VFR map tile (top right corner) to open a full-window, scrollable map centered on the airport, provided by;
    • a link to the airport’s page at Wikipedia;
    • a link to the airport’s page at Note: this website does not include webpages for the lesser airports; that data can normally be viewed at
    • and, a link to the airport’s ‘Arrivals’ page at

Finally, a bar with links to each of the State Airport Lists is provided at the top and bottom of all List pages.