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  TechnologyAeronauticsAirports, Air Traffic Control, Etc.

original control towerSky Harbor

aka Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

In 1928, Scenic Airways built a one-runway airport outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Acme Investment Company took possession of the airport following the collapse of Scenic in 1929, and remained its owner until July 16, 1935, when it was purchased for $100,000 by the city of Phoenix.

Phoenix Sky Harbor began emerging as one of the nation's major passenger airports in October 1952 with the opening of Terminal 1. Built at a cost of $835,000, Terminal 1 was among the most modern and efficient passenger terminals of its time. Airlines flying into Phoenix at that time included American, TWA, Frontier and Western. Typical airplanes were the DC-3, the DC-6 and the Super Constellation.

Terminal 1 also included the airport's first air traffic control tower. Made of underground fuel storage tanks welded together, the 107-foot-tall tower was for decades the most distinguishing feature of the airport (as well as one of the first landmarks seen by many visitors to the city). All the wiring was in a three and one-half-foot-wide pipe that ran up the center of the tower and a 129-step spiral staircase was the only access.

Terminals were added over the years to accommodate increasing traffic, and in 1991 Terminal 1, along with its distinctive control tower, was demolished.

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This page was last updated on March 24, 2016.

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