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San Carlos Airport was established in 1948 at its present location 20 miles south of downtown San Francisco. Between 1940 and 1948, the Airport was located approximately one-half mile southwest, at the site where Best Buy is today.  The original airport terminal was constructed in 1917 at the intersection of Terminal Way and Old County Road in San Carlos.  Instructors at what was then known as San Carlos Flying Field provided flight training to many pilots, some of whom served in World Wars I and II.

San Carlos Airport is home to approximately 500 aircraft and over 25 aviation related businesses. Typically, San Carlos Airport generates over 130,000 aircraft “operations” per year. Approximately half of the operations are business related or revenue generating. The Airport is an important business and transportation asset to the community. Local businesses use their own aircraft or local air charter services to be more efficient, productive and competitive in their business markets.

San Carlos Airport provides a variety of emergency service and response functions including Air-Ambulance, Medivac flights, law enforcement patrols and it provides a base for other important emergency service activities and government agencies that add to the safety and security of the community.

The Airport is self-funded through airport user and business fees and receives no money from the County’s General Fund. Aviation is a significant employer in San Mateo County and the Airport provides an important source of education and training for the pilots, mechanics and airport employees that fill the jobs in this industry.

History of Airports in San Carlos

San Carlos has hosted an airport since the earliest days of powered flight. Around the time of World War I, the San Carlos Flying Field was established by J. Paulding Edwards who constructed a five-plane hangar along what is now Terminal Way and he graded a five-acre...

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West Bay Aviation at SQL in about 1966

Please enjoy another photo from our friend Steve Bell who is now living in Florida. This one shows Steve and his mom (visiting from Southern CA) at West Bay Aviation (c. 1966) that was on the West side of the field near the present location of the Hiller Museum. You...

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Incredible photos of San Carlos Airport from 1966

The photos shown below were originally taken by Stephen Bell in April 1966 when he was a flight instructor at San Carlos. Steve was kind enough to send along high resolution scans of these incredible images that show the area around San Carlos Airport. Take a close...

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More Photos (from the 1960s) from Mark Feldman

Mark Feldman, who's now the owner of Napa Valley Biplane Company, sent us the following photos from his time at San Carlos Airport in 1966. Thanks to Chris St. Peter for getting us together. Hello Chris, In the mid sixties I learned to fly at San Carlos Airport. My...

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Chinese Pilots Trained at San Carlos in WWII

Long before the United States entered World War II, China was battling Japan in a brutal fight that would eventually cost the lives of over 15 million Chinese people [1]. Seeking to help free their beleaguered homeland, Chinese student pilots ventured to San Carlos...

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Historic San Mateo County Airports

The following image from the San Francisco Sectional Aeronautical Chart from sometime in the 1950's shows the locations of the San Carlos, San Mateo, Belmont, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Moffett, Hayward Army, Oakland, Alameda, Half Moon Bay, and San Francisco airports....

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New Terminal at SQL (from 1968)

Here's another photo from Steve Bell (thanks Steve) showing the new terminal at San Carlos Airport as it looked in 1968. Steve is now living in Florida and would like to hear from old friends in the SQL community. He can be reached at s8b at earthlink dot net.

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