Charleston Airport – Boeing’s new home

Charleston Airport, in South Carolina, is about to see it’s most important change as Boeing opens its new 787 production line on the site.

Dubbed Boeing South Carolina, the site will take the strain from the Seattle production line, manufacturing the new state-of-the-art aircraft simultaneously. This has proved a necessary step due to the popularity of the aircraft, and the backlog that has built up as the programme has slipped. At the time of writing, Charleston was about to begin constructing its first production models of the 787 as the test models complete the certification process elsewhere.

Charleston is also an important and busy Air Force Base, which is home to the 437th Airlift Wing and their C-17 aircraft. The 315th Airlift Wing is also based here, and also uses these aircraft.

The base takes up most of the airfield site, with a large apron running north to south alongside the associated buildings and hangars. There is a small airpark with a number of preserved aircraft related to the base.

On the south side of the airfield, alongside the new Boeing plant, is the passenger terminal and its two piers. It is served by AirTran, American Eagle, Continental, Delta, United Express and US Airways

This map shows the two main locations for spotting at Charleston Airport. They are:

1. Terminal Car Parks
The car parks outside the passenger terminal each have views over some gates, and the cargo ramp. It is not advised to loiter here for too long, but a quick check from each car park will allow you to log most passenger aircraft and some of the military ramp.

2. Airpark
The small collection of preserved aircraft, known as the Charleston AFB Airpark, is situated alongside runway 15 and has views of aircraft using this runway. The collection is worth seeing.

Frequencies
Ground            121.9
Tower            126.0
Approach (151-330)    120.7
Approach (331-150)    135.8
Approach        119.3
Clearance Delivery    127.325
ATIS            124.75

For more information on Charleston, and nearly 70 other US airports, Airport Spotting Guides USA is an excellent resource book packed full of information.

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