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    Hilo Airport (Lyman Field) Hawaii United States
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Justin Taylan 2010

Lat 19°43′13″N Long 155°02′54″W. Located to the east of Hilo on Hawaii Island. During the war, known as "Hilo Field" or "Lyman Field".

In 1927 the Territory of Hawaii legislature passed Act 257, authorizing the expenditure of $25,000 for the construction of a landing strip in Hilo. The site was known as Keaukaha, on land belonging to the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Inmates from a nearby prison camp cleared the area of brush and rocks. The new facility was dedicated on February 11, 1928 by Major Clarence M. Young, then Secretary of Aeronautics, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Sixteen months after the dedication, scheduled inter-island service began on November 11, 1929 by Inter-Island Airways, the forerunner of Hawaiian Airlines. For $32, travellers could climb aboard an eight passenger Sikorsky S-38 on thrice weekly flights between Hilo and Honolulu. Five years later, in 1934, the company was awarded the right to carry air mail for the U.S. Postal Service.

Between 1927 and 1937, just over $34,000 was spent in developing the site. Over the next five years, however, the Works Progress Administration spent $261,613 to upgrade the airport. An additional $314,000 was provided by the Civil Aeronautics Administration in 1941.

Wartime History
During martial law in the territory following the attack on Pearl Harbor, all airports in the Hawaiian Islands came under the control of the U.S. military. The Army Engineers continued to expand the airport. In addition to military facilities to support an Air Corp fighter squadron at Hilo, the Army expanded and improved runways, taxiways and aprons.

American Units Based at Hilo Airfield
15th FG, 46th FS (P-39) ? - March 27, 1943 Canton
318th FG, 333rd FS (P-39) Canton April 6, 1943 - July 28, 1943 Bellows
318th FG, 72nd FS (P-39) Wheeler July 25 - October 21, 1943 Wheeler

On April 19, 1943, the Territorial Legislature renamed Hilo Airport "General Lyman Field", for General Albert Kualiʻi Brickwood Lyman, the first U.S. General of Hawaiian ancestry.

Ownership of the airport was returned to the territory in September 1946, the Air Force leased the facilities and retained operational control of its tower for three years more. Meanwhile, Trans-Pacific Airlines, later renamed Aloha Airlines, commenced inter-island flights on July 26, 1946. On April 8, 1952, the territory assumed full control, paving the way for another round of expansion.

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new terminal building was held on July 17, 1952. At the same time, new high intensity lights were installed on Runway 8-26. Plans included a new freight terminal, aprons, parking areas and roads. The airport’s new passenger terminal was completed and dedicated on December 5, 1953, and its freight terminal in June 1954.

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Last Updated
April 7, 2020


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