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Plattsburgh Air Force Base
USGS aerial photo as of 4 May 1994
Owner United States Air Force
Location Town of Plattsburgh, near Plattsburgh, New York
Built 1954–1955
In use 1955–1995
Occupants United States Air Force
Elevation AMSL 234 ft / 71 m
Coordinates 44°39′14″N 073°27′56″W / 44.65389°N 73.46556°W / 44.65389; -73.46556Coordinates: 44°39′14″N 073°27′56″W / 44.65389°N 73.46556°W / 44.65389; -73.46556
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 11,758 3,584 Asphalt/Concrete

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Plattsburgh Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) base covering 3,447 acres (13.7 km²) in the extreme northeast corner of New York, 20 miles (32 km) south of the Canadian border. It is located on the western shore of Lake Champlain opposite Burlington, Vermont, in the city of Plattsburgh, New York.[1]

The base closed on 25 September 1995, pursuant to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990 (10 U.S.C. Sec. 2687 note) and the recommendations of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission. It is now a civilian airport and industrial complex, operated by the Plattsburgh Air Base Development Authority. The airfield is now known as Plattsburgh International Airport.


Major units

308th Bombardment Wing

380th Bomb Wing

497th Air Refueling Wing

820th Strategic Aerospace Division


Previous designations

  • Plattsburgh Air Force Base (1955-25 September 1995)

Major commands to which assigned

Major commands to which the base was assigned:

Major units assigned

Operational history



Early history

Missile operations

A Convair SM-65F Atlas #100 at Site 6 Au Sable Forks NY

Assigned aircraft

A B-47 Stratojet from Plattsburgh on display

Second half of the Cold War

F-4D Phantom IIs from the 134th Tactical Fighter Squadron from the Vermont Air National Guard at Plattsburgh

Built during the Cold War, Plattsburgh AFB's runway is large enough to land the space shuttle. It was on a list of alternate landing sites for the space shuttle.[2] Space shuttle Columbia astronaut Michael P. Anderson, born at Plattsburgh AFB, was an Air Force pilot at Plattsburgh AFB when he got selected by NASA in 1994.

BRAC 1991 and closure

Governor Mario Cuomo speaking at a rally in favor of keeping the base

Accidents and incidents

KC-135 Fuselage Departs Plattsburgh AFB

Base culture

Earl Stevenson, TSGT USAF (Ret. dec.), the subject of the memoir, "Strictly a Loner: My Life and Times with Plattsburgh's Poorest Millionaire" learned to play the stock market from his commander at Vandenberg AFB in the late 1950s. After space-A hopping around the world, he stopped in Plattsburgh, New York in 1966 and began renting rooms in the Northern New York city. He was often seen at the Base Hospital, the NCO club (image in book) and base Thrift Shop. He also frequented the Skyway Plaza.[3]

Current status

Operating tables being taken out of the old base hospital, in the Double Cantilever Hangar

After the base was decommissioned, the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation (PARC) was created to manage the 5,000-acre (20 km2) property. PARC split up the base into 165 parcels for redevelopment.[4] On 16 and 17 August 1996, PARC hosted a massive music concert on the runway of the old decommissioned airbase featuring the band Phish. 70,000 people attended this concert known as the Clifford Ball[5] which added $20 million to the local economy.[6]

Current PARC tenants on former airbase properties leased by PARC include Wood Group Pratt & Whitney Industrial Turbine Services (the first and longest continuous tenant), Bombardier,[7] Composite Factory, Inc.,[8] ORC Macro,[9] Pratt & Whitney,[10] GSM Vehicles (vintage trailer restoration) and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO).[11]

The U.S. Air Force lists Plattsburgh among its BRAC "success stories."[12] The base's reuse and the circumstances surrounding it were chronicled in Flying High Again: PARC's Redevelopment of Plattsburgh Air Force Base, written by Marian Calabro and published by in 2008.[13][14] While digging for new PARC construction was underway low level nuclear materials (such as contaminated protective clothing) were found buried. The levels of radiation were safe and the area was decontaminated.


Plattsburgh AFB is bordered by the city of Plattsburgh and the Saranac River to the north and the Salmon River to the south. It lies on the western shore of Lake Champlain on the New York-Vermont border.[1]


See also




 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Public Health Assessment, Plattsburgh Air Force Base, Plattsburgh, Clinton County, New York". Plattsburgh, New York: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 5. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  2. "Schumer Urges Airbus To Pick New York Facilities To Build New Aircrafts (sic)". Senator Chuck Schumer's Publicity Office. 25. Archived from the original on 30 November 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  3. Baumgarten, K.L. (2007). Strictly A Loner: My Life and Times with Plattsburgh's Poorest Millionaire. Plattsburgh, N.Y.: Studley Printing & Publishing. pp. 102. ISBN 0971392897. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  4. "Welcome to PARC". Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Authority. 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  5. "Small Adirondack Town Is Host of a Giant Concert". 18 August 1996. Retrieved 26 November 2007. ,
  6. Weiss, Lois (4 September 1996). "Concert shows potential for military bases – Plattsburgh Airbase, New York". Real Estate Weekly. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2007. 
  7. "Bombardier to open plant at Plattsburgh, N.Y. (Plattsburgh Air Force Base)". RailwayAge. 1. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  8. LoTemplio, Joe (21). "Local Composite eyes opportunistic designation". Press Republican. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  9. "Tenants". Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Authority. 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  10. LoTemplio, Joe (7). "Demolition work on old airport hangar under way". Press-Republican. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  11. "PATAKI: WestingHouse Air Brate To Bring 150 Jobs To Plattsburgh to Service Manufacturers Worldwide, Add Jobs at Yonkers Plant WABCO". Governor George Pataki's Press Office. 8 October. Archived from the original on 7 February 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  12. "Air Force BRAC Success Stories". Air Force Real Property Agency. 8. Archived from the original on 17 January 2004. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  13. Calabro, Marian (2008). Flying High Again: PARC's Redevelopment of Plattsburgh Air Force Base. Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.: pp. 160. ISBN 0976833123. 
  14. Heath, Dan (16). "PARC success revealed in new book". Press-Republican. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 


  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Mueller, Robert (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0-912799-53-6, ISBN 0-16-002261-4

External links

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