Transportation Accident - Aircraft
An aviation accident is defined as an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards with the intent to fly and all persons have disembarked, in which a person is fatally or seriously injured, the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure, and/or the aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible. Franklin County has 4 operational airports, all located in densely populated areas. However, there have been only two reported air crashes in the county.
Air crashes are an ever-present danger because of the unforgiving nature of flight. Aircraft are designed to minimize the chance of failure, and pilots are trained with safety as a primary consideration. Despite this, accidents still occur, although statistically, flying is arguably the safest form of transport. The relative rarity of incidents, coupled with the often-dramatic outcome, is one reason why they still make headline news. The odds of a plane crash today are distinctly low compared to those in other transportation modes, but the chance of fatalities in such a disaster is notably higher.
Areas adjacent to airports present the greatest potential locations for an aircraft incident. Franklin County has four airports in highly populated areas. Should a plane go down, chances are high it could hit people or property on the ground. This increases the county’s vulnerability to an air crash incident. Three of the airports are operated by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority: Port Columbus, Rickenbacker, and Bolton Field. The fourth, Don Scott Field, is operated by The Ohio State University.
Port Columbus International Airport was opened in 1929 as part of the first Transcontinental Air/Rail Service from New York to the West Coast. Over 6.9 million passengers used Port Columbus in 2008, making it the second busiest year in the airport’s history behind the 7.7 million in 2007.
Rickenbacker is an international cargo-dedicated airport, a multimodal logistics hub, a charter passenger terminal, a U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone, and a major component of the economic engine of Central Ohio.
Bolton Field, constructed in 1970, serves as a reliever to Port Columbus. It has 5,500 feet of runway and parallel taxiway. It serves corporate and business transportation, aircraft re-fueling and maintenance, aircraft charters, flight training, recreational flying, aerial advertising, and traffic reporting. Events and activities such as fly-ins, banner towing and ballooning also take place on airport grounds.
The Ohio State University Airport – Don Scott Field
Don Scott Field is home to 230 aircraft, including single and multi-engine, piston and turbine engine aircraft and rotorcraft. In 1967, the crew of a TWA 707 mistook the OSU Airport for Port Columbus. After shuttling all passengers and baggage to Port Columbus, and removing all galley equipment and seats, the plane was light enough to depart for the larger facility across town.