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In Case of Emergency, Fly to One Tiny Airport in Maine

Trouble lands here, sometimes twice a week. Airline flights with security threats, sick passengers and mechanical problems often end up at Bangor International Airport—the first or last major airport in the U.S. for the hundreds of flights across the Atlantic Ocean every day. Flights that are running low on fuel or need to wait out bad weather at their destinations put down here, too. ( More...

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Peter Steitz 5
Bangor is definitely a class act. We overnighted there many times and everybody from the airport to the hotel and restaurants were great. The hotel was hosting a unit of A-10 drivers one night and we partied late (long overnight). Brought back memories of my Air Force times.
James Konkel 5
The headline on Yahoo was misleading. The airport is not tiny although Bangor is. KBGR is a National Guard field for KC-135 tankers and was an alternate for the Space Shuttles as well!
preacher1 3
With 2.6 miles in runway length, I can see why it was good alternate for the shuttle.LOL
I live in line with the runway and my company does work there every once in a while. The team they have there is a class act. From a spotters view it is cool to see AN-124s more often than a B757.The other thing about Bangor is the Maine Troop Greeters. They are a group that no matter the day or time are always there to greet the incoming or out going troop charters.
Jeff Phipps 3
It's also a stopping place I have often used while driving from Toronto to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I would always see some cool military planes buzzing around when the base was open. I remember explaining to my wife what a warthog was : )
mark tufts 3
bangor is showing all airports how to do things two thumbs up for bangor
Steve Pearce 2
Talking of which, i head this last year about Gander Airport, a story entitled 'Kindness found on a remote island in the wake of 9/11';
Jeremy Kudlick 2
I hear about these diverts all the time, so it's not news to me, but it was still interesting to find out how much better prepared KBGR is to handle these diverts than airports such as KBOS.
MSReed 2
In 1969 Raffaele Minichiello, a decorated Marine from Seattle, hijacked a TWA airliner on the West Coast and forced it to fly to Rome. The 6,900-mile, 14-hour odyssey to Rome was the longest hijacking at the time. They refueled in Denver (where he released the passengers and most of the crew) and Bangor on the way to Shannon and then Rome. Minichiello was sentenced to prison in Italy and released in 1971.

BGR was active then. I worked at a little television station in Bangor, and I shot the film for ABC News of the landing, while the plane was on the ground, and the takeoff. As it was long before satellite uplinks (hell, it was before videotape), they sent a Lear Jet from NYC to pick up the 16mm film.

It also was one of the few strips rugged enough to handle the Concorde in those days.

I hated Bangor, but I liked BIA.
Donald Rand 2
When I worked for NE Airlines I remember the runway dimensions as 300 ft wide and 14,440 ft long
Peter Steitz 2
Yep, 300 ft wide! The first time, I guarantee you'll flare high. Most commercial pilots are used to the visual cues from a 150 ft wide runway. It's also long enough to loose an engine at V1 and still put backdown and get stopped. Not SOP though. We don't do that.
preacher1 1
Here's what is showing now on FA

Runway Information: 15/33 11440 200 Asphalt H1 100 100 Concrete
bdarnell 1
Imagery from Google Earth has it at 300', but the image is from 2004.
Ken McIntyre 2
Very interesting, thanks for the post, Jackie
Bangor was my distination when flying home from Ernest Harmon In Newfoundland via Goose bay several times. I've always considered it a very strategic asset for the Northeast coast. I personally don't understand why we moved out of EHAFB, it was in a perfect location.
Donald Rand 1
Not a tiny airport, former SAC base.
rebecka veil 1
And certainly not tiny considering the runway dimensions!
Erik Schmidt 1
Great article.
preacher1 1
B-52 drivers that used to be based there liked it a lot better than Roswell.LOL
Here is the article about the diversion from yesterday with some pictures I took.
Ellis Webber 1
I live in Canada and use BGR all the time(fares are much lower here than flying out of Canada. I have always liked BGR. Very professional and friendly.
Hugh Deever 1
Bangor was originally a SAC base. B-52D's & tanker support sat nuclear alert there so as at all such alert sites runway length/depth were built for what at the time were heaviest aircraft MTOW's in the world.
preacher1 1
Yeah and it's showing up as asphalt now in FA but I'll bet you that is just an overlay, and that there is a foot or better of solid concrete below
walter pollak 1
my father built runways at Forbes AFB, Chanute AFB and even Bangor. To say there was a foot of concrete under the asphalt is an understatement. You must realize that you need more than a foot of concrete to support a couple hundred tons of fully loaded B-52"s or KC-135's slamming down.
preacher1 1
Well, I said "OR BETTER".LOL I'm a thinkin' it's actually 2 or better ain't it?
Peter Steitz 1
Yep, it is 'ol preacher1. Watch a runway being put in and you'd think they're digging to China. Then they fill that hugely deep trench with concrete and rebar on top of all kinds of base material. That's after they have let the hole sit for a few months to settle. And I thought interstate highways were massive!! Ha!!
Jay Link 1
Isn't Bangor to where all the Stephen King characters fly?
Allen Wright 1
I ended up there in 2005 while en route back to Belgium, and our plane had to divert there due to mechanical problems. The ground personnel and the motel people were very kind and helpful. We spent the night and took another plane out the next morning.
Jerry Cummings 1
Bangor is that one airport that you don't think much of when crossing the pond, UNLESS you really need it! A lot of aircrews, both commercial and military are thankful for that. I've seen my share of 9/11 pictures of Bangor,along with Gander and St. Johns. Ramp saturation was an understatement.
preacher1 2
I think Gander did the better PR job on that. That's the one that got on film anyway but as you say, they were all packed as was about every place in the U.S that had a
racinron 1
James, I agree with you. The headline is totally misleading. I've landed there, and a runway over 11,000 feet long is anything but tiny. Kudos to all that work there and help out when trouble arises.
tim hartzer 1
In late April I was on the evening flight from DFW to CDG. About 4 hrs in and just as we were heading out over the Atlantic they announced a medical emergency in the back of the B767. Minutes later we felt the plane start a u-turn and a rapid descent. Eventually we landed at Stephenville, Newfoundland, probably at 2 or 3:00 a.m. local time. A fellow on the plane had a heart attack and the local EMS team boarded and took him out the back door. Then there was a lengthy refueling negotiation with the local jet fuel provider. Apparently there had been no previous AA diversion there and the captain had to use his credit card to gas up. The usual AA diversion field, Gander, was fogged in. We landed at CDG about 3 hrs late, and even so I noticed no tantrums by passengers while on the ground in Newfoundland. I did miss my reserved seat on the TGV to Aix en Provence, but I got the next train at 2:00 and it turned out well. I do wonder what ever happened to the poor fellow with the MI.
wayne sergeant 1
Many thanks,cheers
James Vance 1
I flew through Bangor on my first trip across the pond in 1969 on a B707 charter which stopped to refuel, since the runways at Dallas Love Field (this was before DFW opened) weren't of sufficient length for takeoff of a fully-loaded aircraft of that size and weight (passengers and enough fuel for a nonstop flight at its maximum range). As I recall, the refueling took a long enough period that all us passengers were offloaded and wandered around the rustic "terminal" for awhile, which looked remarkably like the former Air Force hanger it actually was. This must have been among the early group of flights following the AFB decommissioning and conversion to civilian use, as the local staff provided plenty of snacks and other tidbits to make us comfortable, but that could also have just been a reflection of that flight era. Since this took place in early June and it was already hot in Texas, I also remember how pleasantly cool the temperature was there, as well as where I traveled in Europe over the following 10 weeks. The return flight out of Amsterdam to Love was non-stop and the heat of mid-August on my return was initially something of a shock, but as a Texas native I got used to it again pretty quickly.
R Hogner 0
Bangor? Flew in/out one time February 1974.
Delta, I think, Pittsburgh>Boston>Bangor.
I was there for a job interview at UMaine/Orono.
The flew in late at night, but out early AM two days later.
As we were taxiing for take-off, I saw the snow drifts were painted fluorescent pink.

I thought: "Anyplace that needs to paint their snow is not a place for me." Besides, I loved snorkeling.
Bob Sudderth -1
Nigeria has become the airline crash capitol of the world. Haven't they beat the Russians?
Toby Sharp 2
What are you talkin about?
preacher1 2
I wondered about that too when I first saw it yesterday but didn't have the time to ask that same question.LOL
Andrew Taylor 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

In Case of Emergency, Fly to One Tiny Airport in Maine

Airline flights with security threats, sick passengers and mechanical problems often end up at Bangor International Airport—the first or last major airport in the U.S. for the hundreds of flights across the Atlantic Ocean every day. Flights that are running low on fuel or need to wait out bad weather at their destinations put down here, too.


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