Goose Bay Airfield gained international recognition when Boeing 747 carrying NASA's Space Shuttle, landed for refueling. It was a historic event, since this was the space shuttle's first landing outside of the United States. In fact, the Goose Bay Airport has been designated as the 7th alternate emergency landing site for NASA space shuttle launches because of its ability to accommodate any size aircraft in the world.
Operating within the confines of a military base, the Goose Bay Airport Corporation is very fortunate to be provided with world class infrastructure and services. Some of the more notable are as follows:
11, 046 ft (3367 m) x 209 ft (64 m)
Goose Bay Airport enjoys ideal flying conditions year round and has a weather dependability rating of at least 99%. Fog is a non-entity at the airport and closure due to poor conditions, such as snow fall, is very rare, amounting to about only 1/2 day per year. The excellent weather conditions at Goose Bay Airport, is one of the main reasons that international flights regularly use the airfield as alternate landing sites. The weather office at the airport provides weather reports and briefings to their military and government clients. Recorded public forecasts and local weather reports are available to the general public by calling 896-7997.
Originally, it was the fur trade that brought settlers to central Labrador. The outbreak of WWII, however, brought many changes to the area; the construction of an airbase in Goose Bay created new employment opportunities and caused many new inhabitants to flock to the vicinity.
During World War II, it was determined that Canada and the United States required an airfield to serve as a landing and refueling stop for aircraft that were being ferried across the Atlantic. During the Spring of 1941, Canada and the United States each sent their own expedition teams to search for an appropriate site on the Atlantic Seaboard. Coincidentally, both teams recommended Goose Bay as the ideal site because of the level, sandy plateau. It was Canada, who in September 1941, began work on the airfield and built three, 7,000-foot runways in only 79 days. Members from the United States Air Force arrived in Goose Bay in the Spring of 1942. The first "official" landing of an aircraft took place on December 9, 1941 at the opening ceremony of the airfield. From October 1942 until the end of the war, 24,000 Canadian and American aircraft passed through Goose Bay, making it the busiest airport in the world during this time. Ironically, in the summer of 1991, the airfield, while celebrating its 50th anniversary, was once again heavily used by the Canadian and American military to transport troops and equipment, this time to the Persian Gulf War.
Throughout the years, the Goose Bay Airfield had been managed and used by a variety of nations and has undergone many structural changes. The airport now has two major runways, and is capable of accommodating the largest aircraft in the world. In 1983, the Goose Bay Airfield gained international recognition when the Boeing 747 carrying NASA's Space Shuttle, landed for refueling. It was a historical event, since this was the space shuttle's first landing outside of the United States.
The Goose Bay Airport was used extensively during the Gulf War by aircraft that were transporting military personnel and equipment to the Middle East. The C5, North America's heaviest aircraft routinely landed at the airfield during this time and it was not uncommon to see several on the runway at one time.
The Goose Bay Airport being on the Great Circle Route is a regular stop-over location for aircraft en route to the international destinations. Some of the famous stars and entertainers who have landed at the Goose Bay Airport are Wayne Gretzky and his 99 All-Stars, Michael Jordan. Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins and Jim Carrey, to name but a few. The airport has also been visited by many heads of states and members of various Royal families.
The airport's notoriety expanded into the industrial sector when it served as the aviation hub for mining / exploration companies during the "Nickel Rush" of 1995. The massive nickel discovery at Voisey's Bay, caused a tremendous number of junior mining companies to flock to the area in search of the next "big find". The airport was used extensively to transport miners and their exploration equipment into remote areas of Labrador.
Today, the airfield is operated by the Goose Bay port Corporation to support the tactical flight training activities for the Air Forces of Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy.
Goose Bay Airport
P.O. Box 498, Station
Email: gbacka at hvgb net
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