New Century Air Center Airport
The New Century Air Center in New Century, Kansas has Army CH-47's of the F-158th Aviation Regiment as well as civilian and commercial aircraft. In 1999, a second Army Reserve battalion, the 7-158th Aviation Regiment, was activated. The 7-158th is headquartered at Ft. Hood. HHC is at Ft. Hood; A Company is split between Ft. Hood and Ft. Carson, CO. F-158th is located in Olathe, KS. This helo unit provides transportation for nearby units for various training missions on occasion. Locals see the helos flying around every so often and they usually use ARMY#### as their callsign when landing at New Century. The hangar complex on to which the airport control tower is connected is the current home to the Army Reserve Chinook helicopter unit.
New Century AirCenter is a 2,200-acre facility located approximately 20 miles southwest of downtown Kansas City, MO, between the cities of Olathe and Gardner, KS. Approximately 1,000 acres of the facility are occupied by an active airfield. The airfield offers the following: a 7400-foot long, 200-foot wide main runway, a non-federal control tower, an ILS approach, a full service FBO and available hangar space.
Olathe Naval Air Station was a combat pilot training center from WWII through the Vietnam era. In 1941, county-owned land located in southwest Johnson County was dedicated to the former Federal Civil Aeronautics Authority for an auxiliary airport. Construction was underway when World War II broke out in December 1941, and the land was sold to the Navy for the construction of the Olathe Naval Air Station. The airbase facilities, built by 4,000 men at a cost of $13 million, served as headquarters for the Naval Air Transport Service, for flight training of Naval Air Cadets and as a Naval Air Technical Training Facility. As a stop over and re-fueling point for naval planes transporting officers, the Olathe Naval Air Station was a permanent home of approximately 1,000 service personnel and accounted for the fifth largest payroll in Greater Kansas City in 1948.
In 1951, Olathe was an operating station of the Naval Reserve Training Command, providing facilities for fourteen squadrons of the Naval and Marine Air Reserve. In 1950, the 2472nd Air Force Reserve Training Command became a tenant along with the 130th Air Control & Warning Squadron, U.S. Air Force. In 1954, the 2472nd was transferred and the Air Force established the 738th Air Control & Warning Squadron based on the Naval Air Station. In 1958, the Marine Corps had two fighter groups and on reconnaissance group stationed at Olathe NAS. Olathe Naval Air Station was closed on 30 June 1970.
The base was turned over to the local Johnson County Government in 1970 and converted into a comercial airport, industrial complex and business center. By 1985, 46 private and public sector businesses employed 2,300 people at Industrial Airport. Today, over 35 resident businesses occupy approximately 3 million square feet of space and employ 4,500 people at New Century AirCenter.
Overland Park, Kansas, population 151,800, is the second largest city in Kansas and one of the fastest growing cities in the Kansas City metro area. Located in the southwestern portion of the Kansas City metro, Overland Park has an established reputation as one of the nation's most dynamic corporate centers. Kansas City International Airport, 30 minutes to the north, and New Century Air Center, 15 minutes to the south, serve Overland Park through the air.
The New Century Air Center was featured on an A&E special, "Haunted America." Sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s, A botched night landing in bad weather resulted in a pilot loosing his life when he missed the runway and ended up a ball of fire in the side of an aircraft hangar. Paranormal events are reported to occur throughout the hangar. Security guards report voices, whistles, footsteps on the floor and on overhead catwalks. It is said that locks refuse to stay locked and doors open and close without wind or human intervention. Even the ocasional apparition makes an appearance.
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