Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County

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Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County
Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County ( IATA: PAO, ICAO: KPAO, FAA LID: PAO) is a general aviation airport in the city of Palo Alto in Santa Clara County, California, USA, near the south end of San Francisco Bay on the western shore.

Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County covers 102 acres (41 ha) and has one asphalt paved runway (13/31) measuring 2,443 x 70 ft. (745 x 21 m). First time pilots should familiarize themselves with the complex SF Bay Area airspace, especially the overlying SFO Class B and the abutting SJC Class C airspace. Landing pilots should also watch out for bird and jackrabbit activity. Facilities at this busy towered airport include multiple aircraft repair shops and a staffed terminal, including a car rental counter. The airport is located within one-half mile of U.S. Route 101. Fifteen miles of hiking and biking trails, affording multiple opportunities for birdwatching, form part of the adjacent 1,940- acre (785 ha) Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. The airport is also adjacent to a public golf course. Dining options within a short walk include the Abundant Air Cafe, the Bay Cafe at the Golf Course and the popular Ming's Restaurant.

Instrument Approaches
Palo Alto airport has two approaches, both to runway 31 with 460' MDA/ 1-mi visibility minimums:
  • GPS Runway 31
  • VOR/DME Runway 31 from San Jose VOR
The VOR approach is almost impossible to get from ATC if you are GPS-equipped, because of the conflict with airline traffic in San Jose International.

Area history
In 1989 a comprehensive area history analysis was conducted by Earth Metrics, based upon review of extant aerial photographs.(Earth Metrics, 1989) The photo reconnaissance flights were flown in 1956, 1960, 1973, 1974 and 1980 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and are archived by the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. Comparison of the aerial photographs indicate that no development had begun in the vicinity prior to 1956 other than the Palo Alto Airport and the Regional Water Quality Control Board Plant (terminus of Embarcadero Way). Between 1956 and 1960, no new development had taken place in the area; however, by 1973, the Harvey Gum Factory was on the subject site and structures were either completed or under construction at 1890 Embarcadero Road and 2440-2450 Embarcadero Way. Conditions were identical in the 1974 aerial photograph. In the 1980 aerial photograph, the Harvey Gum Factory is standing, and additional infill construction can be seen in the area such as the Baylands Business Park adjacent and to south of the site and the structure now located at 1860 Embarcadero Road. The Harvey Gum Factory was demolished in 1982, based upon Palo Alto Planning Department records.

World War II
The airport was opened to the public in April 1940. Taken over by the United States Army Air Force on 22 March 1941 as a basic (level 1) pilot training airfield. Assigned to USAAF West Coast Training Center (later Western Flying Training Command). Conducted contract basic flying training. Fairchild PT-19s were the primary trainer used. Also had several PT-17 Stearmans and a few P-40 Warhawks assigned. There may have been as many as six auxiliary airfields in the area used for emergency and overflow landings during its USAAF use. Transferred to the United States Navy as King City NAAS in April 1945. Returned to civil control in December 1945.