San Lorenzo Citizens Fighting Airport Noise

About Hayward Executive Airport

Overview of the Airport

The Hayward Executive Airport (HWD) is owned and operated by the City of Hayward under the Public Works Department. The airport is classified by the City as an "Enterprise Fund," which means that it is operated like a private business enterprise. No revenues from the airport go to the City's general treasury, and no general funds are used to subsidize airport operations. An Airport Committee of the City Council meets quarterly to receive reports on the airport and to recommend action by the City Council when necessary.

The airport comprises 543 acres of aviation and nonaviation development. The California Air National Guard has facilities on the south side of the airport, off West Winton Avenue.

The airport has two asphalt runways: 10R/28L is 5,024 feet, and runway 10L/28R is 3,107 feet. The longer runway is suitable for aircraft with 30,000 pound single-wheel loading or 75,000 pound dual-wheel loading.

The airport is classified as a reliever airport by the Federal Aviation Administration's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Reliever airports are "general aviation" airports that have adequate facilities to reduce congestion at large commercial service airports (Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose in the Bay Area). The general aviation aircraft that operate at the airport are primarily single-engine, with some twin-engine, corporate jets, and helicopters.

Since the 1970s the general aviation industry has steadily declined. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the Hayward airport was the sixth busiest airport in the nation (!), with over 420,000 "operations" (take-offs and landings) annually and 600 aircraft based at the airport. By 1995 annual aircraft operations had decreased to about 154,000, and the number of aircraft based at the airport fell to 356. However, since 1995 annual operations have increased.

In 1999 the airport had a total of 187,585 operations, of which 61 percent were local aircraft and the rest primarily itinerant aircraft. "Historically, local and itinerant operations accounted for approximately 50 percent each of total annual operations. Since 1990, local operations have grown and accounted for a larger portion of annual operations than itinerant operations. This is representative of continued increases in aircraft training activity at the airport." (Draft Hayward Executive Airport Master Plan, p. 2-14.)

In 1998 423 aircraft were based at the airport. (In 1989 the airport had 665 based aircraft.) Of these, 363 were single-engine planes, 38 multi-engine planes, 10 turboprop aircraft, 7 jets, and 5 helicopters. The airport has approximately 320 aircraft tiedowns available on uncovered pavement, 19 T-hangar structures (280,000 square feet) that hold 219 aircraft, and 12 conventional hangars with about 147,000 square feet of storage space.

Air traffic control is provided by the FAA between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

The City has established a number of voluntary noise abatement measures: pilots are asked to turn right on take-off to avoid flying over San Lorenzo homes; pilots are asked to gain as much altitude as quickly as possible on take-off; pilots are asked to adjust propellor angle and engine speed to reduce noise. These measures are not followed by most pilots, particularly student pilots. Touch-and-go flying (repeated take-off and landing without stopping) is prohibited between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. (See Airport Noise Abatement Program.) Four sound monitors are located on airport property and operate continuously.

General History

The airport site was annexed by the City of Hayward in 1939 from an unincorporated area known as Russell City.

The site was first developed during World War II, in 1942 and 1943, when the U.S. Army constructed an auxiliary airfield known as Hayward Army Airfield. It was first used by the 355th Fighter Squadron to train its P-39 Cobra pilots. However, in November 1943 the 355th moved to Portland, Oregon, and thereafter the airfield was almost deserted. After the war the army abandoned the field, and in 1946 the California Air National Guard occupied part of the airfield facilities.

Like hundreds of similar small wartime airfields throughout the country, the Hayward Army Airfield, comprising about 690 acres, was declared surplus federal property following the war. The City of Hayward immediately began operating an airfield for light planes under a right of entry granted by the U.S. Government. The City drew up a plan to purchase the airfield, but a group of private investors was also interested, going so far as applying to the federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation for a loan under the G.I. Bill of Rights. In 1947 the federal government conveyed the property to the City of Hayward for "public airport uses". The Air National Guard entered into a 60-year lease with the City until 2007.

Military tenants of the airport following WW II included the 194th Fighter Squadron of the California Air National Guard, which moved from Oakland. The 194th was followed by the 144th Fighter Bomber Wing, including the California, Nevada, and Utah Wing Headquarters; the 129th Troop Squadron; the 216th Ground Electronics Engineering Installations Agency (later, 216th Electronics Installations Squadron); the 234th Army Airways Communications Squadron (later, 234th Combat Communications Squadron); and the 561st Air Force Band. In 1950 "A" Street still had tarpaper shacks to house military personnel. In 1969 the future military use of the airport was limited when the crosswinds (east-west) runway was abandoned and the land at either end sold for commercial development. In 1975 Air National Guard operations changed, as the 129th became an Air Rescue and Recovery Group, flying heavylift helicopters and four-engine turbo-prop jets. This unit later moved to Moffett Field.

From 1947 to 1963 the airport was called the Hayward Municipal Airport and was operated by a committee of five tenants. The FAA established a traffic control tower in 1959.

In 1963 the City contracted with a private company (Airport Investors and Developers, Inc.) to operate the airport, and changed the name to the Hayward Air Terminal. In 1970 the City took over direct management of the airport. In 1964 the golf course was built, and in 1972 the City declared Kennedy Park surplus property and gave it to Hayward Area Recreation District. In 1973 the Skywest Town Homes complex was built on eight acres of former airport property between Kennedy Park and the golf course.

In 1986 the City performed a "Part 150 Noise Study" and adopted a Comprehensive Noise Management Program. "Part 150" refers to FAA regulations (Code of Federal Regulations, title 14, part 150) that require an airport, as a condition to receiving FAA capital grants, to prepare an analysis of compatible land uses surrounding the airport and to prepare "noise exposure contours". The noise contours show the extent of the area around the runways in which noise impacts are 65 decibels on an annual average.

In January 1988 the Hayward City Council adopted a temporary aircraft noise ordinance, considered an interim measure until a "performance-based" noise ordinance could be developed. In November of that year a noise monitoring system was installed at the airport to collect data over a 19-month period. These data, along with information provided by the FAA, provided the basis for the "performance-based" aircraft noise ordinance enacted in 1992. (See Ordinance 91-16.) Out of the total number of take-offs in a year, only a very tiny number of aircraft exceed the limits set by the ordinance, and most of these exceedances are due to aircraft that are exempt in the ordinance (e.g., medical emergency aircraft). For example, in 1998, of 157,496 take-offs and landings, only 130 exceedances of the city's noise limits were recorded; of these, a mere 24 constituted actual violations of the ordinance.

Until the early 1970s the airport was unable to support itself, requiring sizable financial support from the City of Hayward's general fund. Today the airport is required to be self-sufficient. It does not receive money from the city's general treasury nor does it contribute to the general treasury. See Operating Revenues 1998 - 2000.

Airport Facilities Development

In its early years the airport grew in an unplanned way under the oversight of a committee of five airport tenants. However, things changed in 1960 when the State University Site Commission, looking around for a site for the new Hayward State University campus, expressed interest in the airport site. The City commissioned a study by Leigh Fisher & Associates to determine whether the City should continue operating the airport at the existing site, scale back the airport, or operate the airport at some other site. Leigh Fisher completed his study in 1961 and recommended not only that the City keep the airport at its present site, but also that it develop the airport into one that catered to business planes. The report generated considerable controversy. The San Lorenzo Village Homes Association board voted unanimously to urge the City of Hayward to close the airport, and offered to send its own representative to Washington, D.C. to assist Hayward in winning FAA agreement.

Nevertheless, the Hayward City Council accepted the recommendation to keep the existing site. (Apparently the FAA required that any new airport be operational before the old one could be shut down.) Thereafter, in the early 1960s the City embarked on a program of development that would be financed by selling off parts of the airport land. The first formal airport layout and land use plan was adopted by the Hayward City Council in 1962, when the size of the airport property was reduced to 420 acres.

In 1954 the Civil Aeronautics Administration (predecessor of the Federal Aviation Administration) released the City from compliance with the provision in the 1947 federal quitclaim deed that prohibited manufacturing and industrial uses of airport property. In 1956 the City acquired 20 acres that were added to the airport property. In 1961 and 1966 the City of Hayward asked the federal government to release certain parcels within the airport from the "public airport" limitation of the 1947 federal quitclaim deed. In 1961 a 28 acre parcel was released, and in 1966 a total of 368.5 acres were released. This land was used to develop commercial and industrial facilities.

In 1969 operations at the airport changed radically. Until then the airport had a crosswind (east-west) runway. This runway was closed in 1969 to free up land at each end of the runway for commercial development. In its place the north-south runways, which had been lengthened and improved the previous year (runway 10L/28R was extended from 1,800 feet to 3,100 feet), now became the airport's only operating runways. As a result, aircraft departing the airport began to fly regularly over San Lorenzo homes.

Four T-hangar buildings were constructed in 1968; additional hangars were built in 1978 and 1983.

Today about 27 acres of land are available for aviation-related development, and another 18.5 acres along Hesperian Boulevard and 1.5 acres on West Winton Avenue have been zoned for commercial use other than aviation. In 1999 the City approved a 12-acre Home Depot retail facility on airport land along Hesperian. Since then the City has approved other major retail facilities on airport property along Hesperian (a Target store, a Smart & Final store).

The airport master plan was updated in 1984. The master plan was again revised in 2000 to better accomodate helicopters and private jets. See Airport Development Plans.

Throughout its history the airport has received millions in dollars from the FAA to construct and repair facilities. See FAA Grants to the Airport 1983 - 1999.

Important Airport Documents

1. Quitclaim deed from the U.S. Government, April 16, 1947.

2. First airport master plan, 1962.

3. Hayward Air Terminal Master Plan Study, 2 vols., Jan. 1984 (Hodges & Schutt, Walter Gillfillan & Assoc., Mestre Greve Assoc.).

4. Hayward Air Terminal Noise Management Program, April 1987 (Hodges & Schutt).

5. Hayward Air Terminal Part 150 Plan, March 1988 (Hodges & Schutt). (Prepared in compliance with Code of Federal Regulations, title 14, part 150; approved by the FAA Jan. 28, 1992.)

6. Hayward Air Terminal Part 150 Plan, Noise Exposure Maps, June 1989 (Hodges & Schutt). (Prepared in compliance with Code of Federal Regulations, title 14, part 150; certified by the Hayward City Council Dec. 15, 1987, Resolution No. 87-379; approved by the FAA Feb. 6, 1990.)

7. Aircraft Noise Ordinance (Ordinance 91-16), enacted July 23, 1991.

8. Strategic Business Plan for Hayward Executive Airport, May 1997 (Aries Consultants Ltd.).

9. Feasibility Analysis for Passenger Air Service at Hayward Airport, Feb. 2000 (Tri-Star Marketing Co.).

10. Airport master plan, 2000-2002 (Coffman Associates).

[Revised Oct. 30, 2016]