Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport in Ontario Ontario airports - Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
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Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport or Rockcliffe Airport, (IATA: YRO, ICAO: CYRO), a former military base, is a non-towered airport located on the south shore of the Ottawa River, 4 nautical miles (7.4 km; 4.6 mi) northeast of Downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The airport is the home of the Canada Aviation Museum, which owns the field, and is used and maintained by the Rockcliffe Flying Club.

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Airport type Public
Operator Rockcliffe Flying Club
Location Ottawa, Ontario
Time zone EST (UTC−05:00)
Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−04:00)
Elevation AMSL 184 ft / 56 m
Coordinates 45°27′38″N
Website Rockcliffe Flying Club

Location in Ontario

Direction Length Surface
ft m


The airport land was originally a military rifle range. In 1918, the Royal Air Force began using the field behind the range for experimental mail flights, and the airport opened officially in 1920 as the Ottawa Air Station, one of the six original airfields opened across Canada by the new Air Board. Since it is on the shore of the Ottawa river and the runways were connected to the riverfront by a road, it was one of very few airports capable of handling and transferring floatplanes on both land and water. On March 12, 1930, Canadian World War I flying ace William George Barker crashed into the Ottawa River and died during an aerial demonstration over the field. In July 1931, Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh visited the airport during their northern surveying tour. During World War II. Rockcliffe participated in the British Commonwealth Air Training Program and many other kinds of testing, training, and transport operations, including flying overseas mail to troops in Europe.

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.

The military importance of the airport declined after World War II, since the runways were too short for typical jet operations. The armed forces shifted most operations to RCAF Station Uplands (now Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport) in 1957, and ceased flying operations at Rockcliffe in 1964, retaining the station only as an administrative base, while the Rockcliffe Flying Club began using the field for civilian flying.

During the 1970s the airport was also used for scheduled short takeoff and landing (STOL) commercial flights to the short-lived Victoria STOLport near downtown Montreal. The objective was to demonstrate Twin Otter STOL aircraft in downtown areas and avoid longer drives to the Ottawa and Montreal airports. For a variety of reasons STOL operations in downtown settings have not proven successful.

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.

The military left the airport completely in 1994, but their aircraft collection remained to form the nucleus of the Canada Aviation Museum. Only one of the former triangle of runways remains active; runways 04/22 and 15/33 were closed along with most taxiways now servicing the aviation museum.


Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.

Aerial of the airport

Current tenants of the airport:

  • Canadian Aviation Museum - two buildings
  • Rockcliffe Flying Club
  • Rockcliffe Yacht Club

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.

Former tenants:

  • Canadian Forces (RCAF, Canadian Army) - 1920-1964
  • Dominion of Canada Rifle Association
  • Airtransit - a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Canada used Rockcliffe to demonstrate STOL passenger operations to Victoria STOLport in Montreal from 1974 to 1976

Transportation to Airport

By car the airport can be reached by Rockcliffe Parkway.

By transit OC Transpo Route 129 provides direct access to airport or Route 7 with a short walk to the airport.

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.


  • March 28, 1950 – USAF Douglas C-47B-50DK had an engine fire and crashed shortly after takeoff, resulting in 5 fatalities (including American Ambassador Laurence Steinhardt) and one survivor.[1]
  • July 22, 1953 – RCAF Canadair C-54GM Argonaut catches fire during loading; aircraft was destroyed with no fatalities.

Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport
Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.

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