San Carlos Airport History

San Carlos has been home to an airport since 1917. The original airport terminal was located at the corner of Old County Road and Terminal Way. In 1940 operations were moved near to Brittan and Industrial Roads. The airport was relocated to its present site on the east side of 101 in 1948.  San Mateo County purchased the property in 1964.  Today the airport is completely funded with user and business fees and receives no money from the County’s General Fund.

The following articles describe various aspects of the history of the airport. If you have any photos or information that you’d like to contribute, please contact webmaster at sancarlosairport.org.

History of Airports in San Carlos

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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A Flying Career that Began at San Carlos Airport

A Flying Career that Began at San Carlos Airport

Editor's introduction: Steve Olsen learned to fly at San Carlos Airport (SQL) in 1966 and was a certified flight instructor at West Bay Aviation at SQL for over four years (Aug. 15, 1967 to Dec. 31, 1971), accumulating 3959 hours before moving on to a career in the...

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Bob Lane’s Emergencies (c. 1969)

Bob Lane’s Emergencies (c. 1969)

Editor's introduction: Bob Lane was a highly skilled pilot and instructor who operated the West Bay Aviation flight school at San Carlos Airport in the 1960's and early 1970's. Steve Olsen is a pilot and certified flight instructor who was mentored by Bob and went on...

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Belmont Airport

Belmont Airport

Belmont Airport was established sometime in the 1930s.  Also known as Belmont Landing Field and Central Airport, it was a beehive of aviation activity in the pre-war San Francisco Bay area.  A newspaper story describes the first airmail flight from Belmont on May 19,...

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Why is that parking area called “Piombo?”

Why is that parking area called “Piombo?”

The above photo shows the Piombo Construction Company shed that was on the site of today's Samtrans South Base Maintenance and Operations Facility.  In the early 1950's Piombo was asked to bid on paving the runway at San Carlos Airport.  In exchange for doing that...

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West Bay Aviation at SQL in about 1966

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

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

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

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

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)

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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