I’m in Paducah!

November 20, 2013 • 3:21 pm

Paducah, Kentucky, about an hour from Murray State, is the smallest airport I’ve ever seen: one gate, one ticket counter, and two flights per day, both to Chicago. I don’t know how it supports itself!

Here are some photos of the place. First, the outside:

Paducah airport 1

The lobby (one gate and a few chairs):


The United ticket counter (the only one)

Paducah ticket counter

44 thoughts on “I’m in Paducah!

  1. Reminds me of the Kingman AZ airport. I think it has one scheduled flight per day to LA is there enough passengers.
    It also has a great diner for lunch.

  2. a a a a w, lovely !

    Shinier, … w a a a ay shinier although the size is the same … … as Point Barrow, Alaska’s !

    Knock ’em @ Murray then, well, … … reasonable, Dr Coyne !


  3. That’s actually a nice area. If you get a chance, check out “Land Between The Lakes”, about 15 km east of Paducah proper. (A few weeks ago when the trees were Autumned out would have been better, but it’s not a question of free will…)

  4. No airport can beat the one on the Hebridean island of Barra for sheer quirkiness. The flight times depend on the tide, because the runway is the beach. When a flight is due, the airport manager runs up a windsock and unlocks the door to the airport terminal. When the plane takes off again, he locks the door and takes down the windsock until the next day.

  5. “I don’t know how it supports itself!”

    Bah, you sound like a Republican. 🙂

    Smaller airports do bring indirect revenues to the communities that host them, and there are federal subsidies. Direct revenues are often based on fuel sales: Jet A is running $5.42 per gallon at KPAH. Then there are hangar and other facility rentals on field.

    Even so, there are pressures all over the country to close small airports and use the land for more productive purposes. The Federal government sometimes sues to stop them due to the money it contributed to support the things.

    Someone else mentioned Land between the Lakes. There is a pretty good restaurant on Kentucky Lake, Patty’s, where they serve bread inside of a flower pot.

      1. As a former visitor to the area, I’ll third this suggestion!

        2″ pork chops.

        Pretty good catfish as well.

        Patti’s 1880’s Settlement
        1793 J H O’Bryan Ave
        Grand Rivers, KY 42045

      1. Maybe. I just know I don’t hear customs or TSA yelling at anyone and I’ve lady once complimented me on my good packing of my liquid stuff in clear bags. 🙂

    1. When was the last time you were in Bethel? The Bethel airport is both bigger and much nicer. BTW, id you visit the Bethel National Forest?

      1. I’ve been to Bethel several times for fishing trips. The last time was about four years ago. I don’t recall the airport as big or nice. I like the bush planes (Beavers and Otters) with pontoons. They don’t need no stinking airport.

  6. Small airports (say Paducah or Kingman) get federal subsidies as essential air service (maybe $100-$800 per passenger). This came about due to airline deregulation. The program has been tightened up over the years (maybe 150 eligible airports, including Alaska). Lots of service in Alaska and the high plains/mountain states and of course, red areas in blue states. The cost is a little north of $100 million, though Republicans have been interested in cutting the subsidy for their allies. Without it, Paducah would likely have an airport but no commercial service. Not enough people would pay the cost of a short flight versus a two hour drive

  7. As an Alaskan I have been through dozens of airports of this size and smaller.  They all operate well and safely.  There are many annual happenings in and around Paducah that easily support this airport. Visit Alaska and see some small airports without ticket counters or one or two international carrier’s flights a day.  Thank-you to the FAA for all you do.

  8. I live just east of Paducah– wish I could make the lecture in Murray! I’ve read “Why Evolution Is True” many times.

    1. The problem with Great Bend is that Jerry has to fly to Denver first and then back to Great Bend on a vomit comet. A nonstop to Wichita or even KC and a drive is probably as fast

  9. If you’re ever in the Bowling Green Area, do be sure to let everyone know. I am going to school at Western Kentucky University for electrical engineering and mathematics. If you ever want to come by I know where to get some great barbeque.

  10. If you think that’s a small airport, you have been spending way too much time in cities. You should start a new career as a population biologist.

  11. I don’t suppose any other reader is old enough to remember the Everly Brothers song ‘Mention my name in Sheboygan’ but one line goes: Mention my name in Padukah/ Its the greatest little town in the world/ I know a girl there you’d simply adore/ She was Miss Padukah back in 1904.

  12. Hmm. Smallest ‘airport’ I’ve been into is Mitiaro, Cook Islands. It doesn’t rate a terminal building of any sort. I flew into it in a ‘push-pull’ Cessna Skymaster (which I don’t think was designed for short-strip use) – the combination of a short pilot and the tall front engine meant we came in with lots of power and the nose high in the air and the pilot looking sideways at the edge of the ‘runway’ while some sort of beeper (probably a stall warning horn) blared away in the background. If an animal had strayed onto the ‘runway’ while we were on final approach we would just have hit it.

    Equally intriguing (but a lot less exciting) was my first flight into Aitutaki (which had a 4000-foot ex-wartime runway) in a true short-strip Britten-Norman Islander – the pilot made a normal approach but didn’t bother to land for a while, just cruised slowly down the length of the runway at 20 feet and plonked it down at the far end. Saved a lot of taxiing.

    1. Yes, yes, love the Cook Islands airports. Even the main one in Rarotonga is beautifully casual. The notion that one does not carry weapons on board seems not to have made it there; on one flight I took the gentleman in front of us had a hefty (ceremonial) stone adze with him, wrapped in plastic.

    2. infiniteimprov,

      What you’ve described is known as a Soft Field Landing. Nose high and with the stall warning sounding is exactly correct procedure.

      He would also have held the nosewheel off the ground for as long as possible.

  13. I remember seeing dozens of small airports as destinations from Pittsburgh and Chicago (USAirways/United hubs, I guess.) when I was through those. I wondered how sustainable it was at the times in question.

    That said, the most alarming practice I actually encountered at a small airport was in Aarhus, where the bus into/out of town only runs to coincide with a flight (or perhaps also for shift start/end) …

  14. If you’re accustomed to flying in or out of the large hubs like O’Hare, LAX or DFW, the smaller regional airports seem quaint. Except for Burbank, CA airport, which has a huge amount of flight traffic and serves a very large population. This airport is both small and ugly, and you still climb rolling metal steps outdoors to board the plane. Burbank airport really sucks, which it is thought the gigantic celebrity wall posters mitigates. Nope.

  15. “I don’t know how it supports itself!”

    The airlines often have agreements with states and/or the FAA to service certain small markets (at a loss) in exchange for other privileges, usually airport gates, routes, etc.

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