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A Tribute To Meigs Field. A Visit To CGX's Remains  
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9058 times:

Background

This is not your typical TR, mainly because it does not involve a trip. Rather it is a report describing a visit to the now closed Meigs Field airport (CGX) of Chicago. I'm sure that many of you here are very familiar with the history of this airport and its painful closure in 2004, when the authoritarian and paranoid (for lack of better words) mayor of Chicago, RM Daley, illegally bulldozed the runway in the middle of the night and turned the airport into a park. For those who are not familiar with CGX's story however, here's a brief summary of events:


Meigs Field during its years of operation (photo courtesy of friendsofmeigs.org)

In 1909, Daniel H. Burnham and Edward Bennett suggested the idea for the creation of a series of man-made islands and peninsulas at Chicago's lakefront for establishing an area with recreational and harbor facilities. However, due to the Great Depression, only a fraction of the original plan was carried out. The most prominent part of the eventual construction involved the creation of what was to be called Northerly Island. Landfill work started in the early 1920s and was completed 3 years later. At the time the island was connected to the mainland with a wooden bridge. In the 1930s the Adler Planetarium was built at the north end of the island where it still stands to this day. The island was also the site of festivities for Chicago's Century of Progress World Fair in 1933/34. By that time the island was connected to the rest of the city by two brand new causeways. The island was also proposed to become the site of United Nations' headquarters but this ended up in New York. The idea of constructing an airport on the island emerged early on (some say as early as the 1920's, even before the Northerly Island was created) but construction did not take place until the mid 1940s. The island had to be expanded almost by another 1/3rd but eventually after 2 years of construction the airfield opened in December of 1948. The airfield was named for Merrill C. Meigs, a publisher of the Chicago Herald, a pilot and an avid promoter of aviation, an industry still in its infancy at the time. In the following years the runway was extended and a terminal building as well as a control tower were added too. By that time, more landfill work had turned the island into a proper peninsula. Meigs Field was mainly used by corporate planes but it also enjoyed scheduled commuter flights, especially to destinations within Illinois and nearby areas. In addition it was a popular choice for VIPs. At its peak CGX was allegedly, directly or indirectly, responsible for over 1500 jobs, contributing annually close to 60 million dollars to the city.


CGX in its early years of operation (photo courtesy of friendsofmeigs.org)

In 1994, mayor RM Daley expressed his wish to close the airport and turn it into a park. The airport closed briefly for a few months in 1996 but after lots of pressure from multiple sources it reopened in early 1997. In 2001 an agreement was reached to guarantee the operation of CGX for at least another 25 years. However in March 31, 2003, in a very bizarre (and illegal as it proved later) move the mayor used the cover of the night to bulldoze the runway (a number of X-shaped gouges were formed on the runway) without providing any notice and thus trapping tens of aircraft that were still in use at the airport. These aircraft were eventually allowed to depart using the taxiway... At a time when Toronto and Cleveland worked hard to re-establish their own lakefront airports (see YTZ and BKL respectively) to help the development of business in the area, Chicago decided to shoot itself in the foot, by depriving the downtown area of a source of income, jobs and business potential. Not to mention that all of CGX's traffic had to be now handled by the already congested ORD and MDW.


The sad sight of the bulldozed runways (photo courtesy of friendsofmeigs.org)


Comments on CGX's closure

So what were the mayor's reasons for his behavior? This is were the best (and sadly somewhat funny part of the story comes). Mayor RM Daley claimed that in the post-9/11 United States the existence of an airport so close to a downtown area represented a security threat. He claimed that terrorists could use the facility to attack the city. Even though this argument may at first appear to be sound and logical, in reality it reveals the naivety of the mayor as well as his stubbornness to listen to the opinion of experts. During the years of CGX's operation, any aircraft approaching the area required to engage in two-way radio communication with the tower. Now, after CGX's closure, aircraft destined to ORD or MDW could fly as close as 300m over the downtown buildings with no radio communication required at all...

The mayor (and his wife) had long desired the creation of a park at the area but one has to wonder why. Chicago is practically packed with parks and there was no immediate need for the creation of a new one (if this was Athens, then this would be a whole different story). In the location of the runway now stands a large lawn with walking and biking paths, and a wildflower prairie. In addition a concert venue was constructed, while the old terminal building has been renamed the "Northerly Island Fieldhouse" and serves the purpose of... well, I'm not quite sure. I still cannot comprehend the real reasons for the former mayor's decisions. A man that in his 22 years in office had become synonymous to corruption, RM Daley must have had, I cannot help but think, a much more profound, yet sinister, reason to want CGX closed so badly. Too bad, since he has otherwise offered a lot to Chicago, despite his often authoritarian style of running the city. For its illegal closure and destruction of the airport, the city of Chicago was fined by FAA the amount of 1.033.000 dollars plus change.

A number of interest groups, mainly the 'Friends of Meigs" have been pushing forward the idea of re-opening CGX, by providing specific plans that suggest the co-existence of an airport with an extended park area. The newly elected mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, has at first appeared to be positive (or at least not negative) to the idea of reopening CGX but we are still a long way before any real talks could possibly start. Even after RM Daley's departure CGX's fate seems to be that of a wildflower and bird sanctuary.


Visiting Meigs Field

So, on to the actual report. Despite living in Chicago for the last 4 years and despite being a devout aviation enthusiast, I never bothered to visit the site of CGX. That comes as no surprise for those that know me. I spent 3 years in Bangor, Wales, without visiting the magnificent Snowdonia National Park (literally next door to the city), and another 4 years in St.Andrews, Scotland, without setting foot in the Highlands. Sometimes I don't seem to appreciate the things that I have at my doorstep. Earlier this month however I decided that it was time to check out Northerly Island and see what remained of the old airport. My wife and I got there early on a Sunday morning and barely beat a thunderstorm that had arrived over the downtown area. We sought shelter at the old terminal building which was completely empty. Soon after our arrival however, more people showed up trying to avoid the downpour (these were people jogging or biking earlier at the park). The building was not in a great shape. The plaster had fallen off in parts of the roof, some windows were cracked, while at places the ceiling was leaking. No access to the second floor of the building was allowed (there was a barrier blocking the stairs) but I went up there anyway to shoot a couple of photos. I could hear voices coming from one of the rooms up there but I couldn't tell who it may have been. Once the rain stopped, we stepped outside to have a look at the area around the terminal building, the control tower and what used to be runway 36. From there we walked all the way to the very south point of the island before returning back to the old terminal. A few photos of the island's history were on display, but I was hoping that there would be more.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0871.jpg
From the old terminal building one has a great view of Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears) and Downtown.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0911.jpg
The old terminal building

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0876.jpg
Inside the old terminal

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0894.jpg
Welcoming carpet. The building now belongs to the Chicago Park District.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0889.jpg
The terminal interior with its famous X-shaped staircase.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0875.jpg
The roof has seen better days

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0887.jpg
More of the stairs this time from the upper level

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0886.jpg
Upper level

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0884.jpg
The view to the "airside" area from the upper level

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0902.jpg
A clear giveaway that this used to be an airport. ORD has identical seats to these.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0901.jpg
Restroom area

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0893.jpg
Leaky roof (hard to tell from the photo)

And a few outdoor photos from after the end of the thunderstorm:

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0921.jpg
The terminal seen from the old taxiway.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0928.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0923.jpg
Control tower

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0909.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0915.jpg
A few more views of downtown

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0935.jpg
Where runway 36 used to be. It's kinda ironic that at the very same moment we started walking on the former site of the runway a small airplane carrying a billboard overflew us

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0937.jpg
A close up of the overflowing aircraft

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0944.jpg
McCormick Place over the water (which you can't see from this angle)

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0957.jpg
The McCormick Place fountain. I wasn't even aware that this thing existed until I saw it from Northerly Island

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0973.jpg
The old terminal with the downtown skyscrapers on the backdrop

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0947.jpg
Wildflowers 1, Runway 0.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0970.jpg
Birdhouses made specifically for blue martins

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0975.jpg
Sculptures of 3 winged women in front of the old terminal

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0955.jpg
Another view of downtown this time from the very south tip of the peninsula


As I mentioned before a few pictures depicting the history of the island were on display at the old terminal. Here are some of them:


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0883.jpg
Northerly Island at the very early stages of landfill work

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0882.jpg
Northerly Island taking shape


Northerly Island during the Century of Progress World Fair:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0881.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0897.jpg

...and finally

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0888.jpg
CGX at its heyday (my apologies for the bad quality). This photo was siting on an empty desk at the entrance of the old terminal.


Final comments
Visiting CGX was a great experience, albeit a somewhat sad and melancholic one. And to think that I never even saw the place when it was open... As an aviation enthusiast I can't help but feel angry and sad for what has happened to CGX.

Thank you for reading. I would really like to hear your opinions on Meigs Field and its closure. Thanks again

WideBodyroga


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAmricanShamrok From Ireland, joined May 2008, 2871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9020 times:

I am a Chicago native and while CGX is sadly missed by many (including myself), the city have turned it into a beautiful place to walk, run or bike while admiring the skyline, wildflowers etc. I enjoy cycling here whenever I'm in town.


Shannon-Chicago
User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 684 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8639 times:

Hi WideBodyroga,

thanks for this report. Good to read about old Meigs field, it reminds me of my days of flight training back in 1994, when a few students and me went on a trip to CGX in a Cessna-172, and the approach to Meigs over the city and then over the lake through the busy airspace there was certainly one of the most memorable flights I have done during flight training.

I like to add this pic to your report, a pilot's view from final approach towards RW36 (not the best picture, scanned from a slide, taken by me in 1994):

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A clear giveaway that this used to be an airport. ORD has identical seats to these.

I think I have been sitting in these seats, at least I remember this blue colored wall.

Of course it made me really feel sad when I read about the closure of Meigs field, especially about the way it was done.

But nice to read that the old terminal is still there and open for the public, so at least there is something about an airport left.

Thanks and greetings
CaptainRed


User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1556 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 8154 times:

Thanks so much for posting this, Widebodyroga! I'm really happy that at least the terminal building and control tower still exist. This really brings back some memories, because I visited the CGX terminal building when I was in Chicago in 1998 (not long after I first signed up for A.net!). The classic 1950's-era architecture and materials were really striking to me.

Honestly, after visiting the place, I always thought that Meigs would make a great hub for small jet service, such as RJ's and the like (a la London City). You'd have to build wings extending off the main terminal building to handle gate holdrooms and food/merchandise outlets. The runway would also have to be extended to the south as well by about 1,000 or 1,500 feet to make it work. But it could work. Can you imagine the potential for CRJ service from New York and Washington, direct to downtown Chicago, no waiting to get out of O'Hare or Midway? Or what about bringing the BA A318 service they've got going LCY-JFK to CGX as well?

Anyway, it's good to see that people are still trying to bring Meigs back even almost a decade later. I doubt it will happen anytime soon...but if they keep the fire burning and convince the city of the ability to bring back the airport as a functioning business hub as well as maintain parkland on the island, maybe one day. I sure hope so!


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7738 times:

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 1):
I am a Chicago native and while CGX is sadly missed by many (including myself), the city have turned it into a beautiful place to walk, run or bike while admiring the skyline, wildflowers etc. I enjoy cycling here whenever I'm in town.

The views are spectacular from the peninsula, both from the old terminal and also from the Planetarium. What a better view to greet someone arriving on a flight though...  

Once I get the opportunity I will try the bike path on the island. It's a bit narrow, but if one goes there early enough, it should be fun.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 2):
thanks for this report. Good to read about old Meigs field, it reminds me of my days of flight training back in 1994, when a few students and me went on a trip to CGX in a Cessna-172, and the approach to Meigs over the city and then over the lake through the busy airspace there was certainly one of the most memorable flights I have done during flight training.

I like to add this pic to your report, a pilot's view from final approach towards RW36 (not the best picture, scanned from a slide, taken by me in 1994):

Thanks CaptainRed! I can only imagine how impressive it must have been to actually fly (as a pilot) to CGX. Thanks for adding your photo!. I'm glad to hear from someone that has seen CGX's glory days.

Quoting N202PA (Reply 3):
Thanks so much for posting this, Widebodyroga! I'm really happy that at least the terminal building and control tower still exist. This really brings back some memories, because I visited the CGX terminal building when I was in Chicago in 1998 (not long after I first signed up for A.net!). The classic 1950's-era architecture and materials were really striking to me.

Honestly, after visiting the place, I always thought that Meigs would make a great hub for small jet service, such as RJ's and the like (a la London City). You'd have to build wings extending off the main terminal building to handle gate holdrooms and food/merchandise outlets. The runway would also have to be extended to the south as well by about 1,000 or 1,500 feet to make it work. But it could work. Can you imagine the potential for CRJ service from New York and Washington, direct to downtown Chicago, no waiting to get out of O'Hare or Midway? Or what about bringing the BA A318 service they've got going LCY-JFK to CGX as well?

Anyway, it's good to see that people are still trying to bring Meigs back even almost a decade later. I doubt it will happen anytime soon...but if they keep the fire burning and convince the city of the ability to bring back the airport as a functioning business hub as well as maintain parkland on the island, maybe one day. I sure hope so!

Thank you N202PA! Yes, the first thing that I noticed when I got there was the very distinctive 50's/60's architecture. It was like traveling back in time in a way. I also agree that the airport (due to its location) has huge potential. Just like you said, look at LCY, or to a lesser degree YTZ. Maybe the new Chicago authorities will realize this soon and act on it.



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7584 times:

Hi,

Thanks for sharing this unique report with us. It was a pleasure to read, sad to know what happened with CGX


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineHurricane From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1443 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 7222 times:

This was a joy to read. Like many people here of a certain age, I'm sure I've probably flown 1000 times from CGX to MDW or ORD on various Microsoft Flight Simulators from years ago that had Meigs as the default airport. A shame that it is no longer but I'm happy that people can now use it as a nice, green place to walk.

User currently offline777ord From United States of America, joined May 2010, 489 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 7171 times:

What a unique report! Being a Chicagoan myself, I find it heartbreaking that our Mayor decided to do this. I remember that I was going to do my intro flight the week of which it was demolished, in which I had asked to go into Meigs, which was approved for our flight. Obviously, we went to DKB (deKalb) instead. To this day, I still look at that patch of land and know what it SHOULD be. But, oh well. such is life.

Most people agree that Chicago has ENOUGH parks. But, to demolish this landmark of the Chicago waterfront was a poor choice.

Thanks again for this unique view of CGX. Having been living overseas for the past 2 years, I have not had a chance to see that area on past visits to the US.


User currently offline9w748capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 544 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7146 times:

Very unique report! Thank you for sharing. As a previous poster commented, I too came to know Meigs via MS flight simulator. Never have visited the site in real life but I just may do so now on my next trip to Chicago. Truly a shame what happened in the name of corruption/security. Cheers!

User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 6610 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Thanks for sharing this unique report with us. It was a pleasure to read, sad to know what happened with CGX

Thanks Marc. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the report. I figured that many people outside the US would have liked to hear the story of CGX.

Quoting Hurricane (Reply 6):
This was a joy to read. Like many people here of a certain age, I'm sure I've probably flown 1000 times from CGX to MDW or ORD on various Microsoft Flight Simulators from years ago that had Meigs as the default airport. A shame that it is no longer but I'm happy that people can now use it as a nice, green place to walk.

Thanks Hurricane. It is a fact that CGX had acquired a "cult" status because of MS's Flight Sim. So many people feel an emotional connection to it because of that, even people that have never been to it, or even Chicago.  
Quoting 777ord (Reply 7):

What a unique report! Being a Chicagoan myself, I find it heartbreaking that our Mayor decided to do this. I remember that I was going to do my intro flight the week of which it was demolished, in which I had asked to go into Meigs, which was approved for our flight. Obviously, we went to DKB (deKalb) instead. To this day, I still look at that patch of land and know what it SHOULD be. But, oh well. such is life.

Most people agree that Chicago has ENOUGH parks. But, to demolish this landmark of the Chicago waterfront was a poor choice.

Thanks again for this unique view of CGX. Having been living overseas for the past 2 years, I have not had a chance to see that area on past visits to the US.

Thanks 777ord,

That's really sad. I knew that many people were caught by surprise by the demolition and had to make last-minute change of plans. I particularly felt bad for those those that got stranded at CGX.

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 8):

Very unique report! Thank you for sharing. As a previous poster commented, I too came to know Meigs via MS flight simulator. Never have visited the site in real life but I just may do so now on my next trip to Chicago. Truly a shame what happened in the name of corruption/security. Cheers!

Thanks 9w748capt,

It's definitely worth a visit, plus you'll get a great view of downtown. I'm already planning my next visit there (maybe this time it won't rain!).



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39683 posts, RR: 75
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4919 times:

Thanks for posting!
This is a wonderful report that gives a lot of history and insight to Meigs Field.
I'm a native of Chicagoland and it was always a treat going to Meigs Field and looking at it from the observation deck at the SEARS Tower.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
the authoritarian and paranoid (for lack of better words) mayor of Chicago, RM Daley,

The man is a crook and his recklessness cost the city million$ of dollar$ in fines to the FAA for his pet project.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
In 1994, mayor RM Daley expressed his wish to close the airport and turn it into a park.

The city of Chicago has tons of parks as it is.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Mayor RM Daley claimed that in the post-9/11 United States the existence of an airport so close to a downtown area represented a security threat. He claimed that terrorists could use the facility to attack the city. Even though this argument may at first appear to be sound and logical, in reality it reveals the naivety of the mayor as well as his stubbornness to listen to the opinion of experts.

He was already exposed as wanting to close the airport when he briefly shut it down in 1996.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The mayor (and his wife) had long desired the creation of a park at the area but one has to wonder why. Chicago is practically packed with parks and there was no immediate need for the creation of a new one

Considering the vast sections of Chicago's south side that looks like Baghdad or Kabul, it would have made more sense to revitalize the south side with nice parks instead of bike lanes to abandoned factories and tearing down airports.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
In addition a concert venue was constructed

That can only be used 3 - 4 months per year due to Chicago's harsh winters. The few bands that do play there are mostly washed up has-beens.
Never mind the fact that there are plenty of concert venues throughout Chicago.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The newly elected mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, has at first appeared to be positive (or at least not negative) to the idea of reopening CGX but we are still a long way before any real talks could possibly start.

I seriously doubt it. Rahm Emanuel is part of the same corrupt machine as Daly. He is also closely aligned with environmental extremist and their lobbyist so I seriously doubt he would go along with reopening the airport. I guarantee you, they'll find some species of bird that needs to be protected and would be wiped out if they re-open the airport.
They'll come up with any excuse for him to hide behind.
Now IF Rahm Emanuel were to support the reopening, I will take back everything negative I've said about him.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
a great view of Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears) and Downtown.

Another abomination!
That space ship on top if Soldier Field is horrendous!   

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The terminal interior with its famous X-shaped staircase.

I really like the interior design of that building.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Where runway 36 used to be. I

Complete waste of space.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
McCormick Place over the water (which you can't see from this angle)

Another one of my favourite buildings in Chicago.  
I used to enjoy going to the auto shows there years ago.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The McCormick Place fountain. I wasn't even aware that this thing existed until I saw it from Northerly Island

I've rode past that many times on the bicycle path.

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 1):
the city have turned it into a beautiful place to walk, run or bike while admiring the skyline, wildflowers etc. I enjoy cycling here whenever I'm in town.

Chicago was a beautiful city before Daly sabotaged Meigs Field. The entire lakefront has been a beautiful place to run, cycle, walk and enjoy the skyline. It was also a beautiful place to do all of those things AND plane spotting.
I used to ride my bicycle from my Grandmother's at 7600 south near Lake Shore Drive and ride the bike path far north, almost to Evanston. Meigs Field was always were I would stop and take a break. It was nice to be able to see Cessnas, Beechcraft, Mooneys, United Express, TWA Express, and occasional Lockheed JetStar coming in & out of Meigs Field.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 4):
Once I get the opportunity I will try the bike path on the island. It's a bit narrow, but if one goes there early enough, it should be fun.

The bike path that runs the entire lakefront that has been there for years is MUCH better and wider than the little sidewalk installed on Northerly Island.

Quoting Hurricane (Reply 6):
I'm happy that people can now use it as a nice, green place to walk.

...but there are much better places to do that in Chicago.

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 8):
Truly a shame what happened in the name of corruption/security.

Like George W. Bush using 9/11 as reason to go to war with Iraq, mayor Daly used 9/11 to destroy Meigs Field.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 9):
It is a fact that CGX had acquired a "cult" status because of MS's Flight Sim.

It's my default airport for Flight Sim.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
It's definitely worth a visit, plus you'll get a great view of downtown.

You'll get a better view from the SEARS Tower.
The best view of the Chicago skyline from the ground is at 4700 south on Lake Shore Drive.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I'm already planning my next visit there (maybe this time it won't rain!).

I'll be there at some point this year.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineN716 From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 7 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4659 times:

Nice report!

The following is a link to a UA 727 landing at CGX in 1992; the only time such and aircraft has utilized the short field.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV4tgjSPgks



"Kids, You Tried Your Best and You Failed Miserably. The Lesson Is, Never Try."~ Homer Simpson
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4311 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 10):

Thanks for posting!
This is a wonderful report that gives a lot of history and insight to Meigs Field.
I'm a native of Chicagoland and it was always a treat going to Meigs Field and looking at it from the observation deck at the SEARS Tower.

Thanks Superfly. I appreciate the time you put to comment on so many points. I agree with pretty much everything you've said. At this point there is nothing we can do about it but hope that someone with enough power can start an initiative for the resurrection of Meigs Field.

Quoting N716 (Reply 11):
Nice report!

The following is a link to a UA 727 landing at CGX in 1992; the only time such and aircraft has utilized the short field.

Thanks N716. I've seen that video once before. Such a nice sight to see a 727 land on CGX. I still haven't been to the Museum of Science and Industry to see this particular aircraft. I gotta do it at some point.

Thanks again,

WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineirelayer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1073 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4036 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A man that in his 22 years in office had become synonymous to corruption, RM Daley must have had, I cannot help but think, a much more profound, yet sinister, reason to want CGX closed so badly

Great report! I think it's not a sinister reason at all. I'd imagine it's much more mundane. They probably took a look at the building codes, city planning, and polled the business community and did a cost benefit of the current and future limitations the CGX imposed on Chicago post 9/11. If you look at the South Loop area now, with all those condo skyscrapers, I think maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe they couldn't build those or redevelop the waterfront with Meigs in operation? It was truly a unique airport (evidenced by the fact that it was the starting airport in all the FS games) but as far as the business case for it, I'm not really sure that it added a ton of value. The whole "STLport" concept never really took off (hehe).

Quoting N716 (Reply 11):

Nice report!

The following is a link to a UA 727 landing at CGX in 1992; the only time such and aircraft has utilized the short field.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV4tg...SPgks

Woah, so cool seeing those news reports! I remember my first trip to Science and Industry that was my absolute FAVORITE exhibit. I always wondered how it got htere. I had just assumed they took it apart, but it appears UAL couldn't pass up the free publicity (surely it wasn't necessary to land it at CGX especially if they were going to barge it over to Indiana). Also amazing to see the TW Express and UAX aircraft parked right there! Was there actually a lot of demand for those flights?

Also, so awesome to see all the Chicago news reporters. Bill Curtis, Lester Holt, etc. Really takes me back to when I was a kid.

Thanks for posting!

-IR


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1091 posts, RR: 32
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4019 times:

Thanks... I don't normally enjoy 'non-trip reports' - but I thought this was really interesting so thanks.

Most interesting. I was recently in Chicago, and had no clue that this had once been an airport. These are my favourite type of airports quite often, not to mention for accessibility reasons from the centre of the city. Some recent favourite have been Toronto, Tel Aviv, Belfast and of course London City. All great airports, and an asset to their city.

How sad that the Mayor decided so hastily and irrational to close the airport. Sadly, airports are never normally recommissioned, so your report provides a nice farewell.

Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineVC10DC10 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1035 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3990 times:

Great photos!

Does anyone have a list of cities served by scheduled commercial flights from Meigs?


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39683 posts, RR: 75
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3887 times:

Quoting irelayer (Reply 13):
They probably took a look at the building codes, city planning, and polled the business community and did a cost benefit of the current and future limitations the CGX imposed on Chicago post 9/11. If you look at the South Loop area now, with all those condo skyscrapers, I think maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe they couldn't build those or redevelop the waterfront with Meigs in operation?

Nope.
The gentrification of the South Loop started in the late 1980s / early 1990s. By 2003, the whole area already had expensive luxury condos. Meigs Field was far enough away that noise wasn't an issue. Street noise in the area is much louder than a Cessna 172 almost 1 mile away.
Mayor Richard Daly's 'reason' kept changing depending on the direction of the political winds.
Initially he said it wasn't part of Daniel Burnham's 1909 plan. Never mind the fact that the Wright Brother's first flew just 6 years earlier so no one knew what an 'airport' was and aviation was still an odd experiment at that time. Daniel Burnham's plan didn't include a huge space ship on top of a stadium either.
Lake Shore Drive was intended and used to be for the super wealthy to ride their horse & carriages along the lake front. That wouldn't be an easy sale today.

Then after 9/11, Mayor Daly used that as an excuse to sabotage Meigs Field.
If Daly's reason for sabotaging Meigs Field was what you may have speculate, he would have done it the honest way and wouldn't have cost his city tax dollars in fines.

Quoting irelayer (Reply 13):
I remember my first trip to Science and Industry

Went there many times as a kid on small field trips. Back in my day, the United 727-100 wasn't there yet.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 14):
Sadly, airports are never normally recommissioned,

Don Muang (DMK) was reopened last month.

Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 15):
Does anyone have a list of cities served by scheduled commercial flights from Meigs?

I don't have a list but I know Milwaukee, Saint Louis and Springfield used to have service to Meigs.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineairportugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3574 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3707 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 9):
Thanks Hurricane. It is a fact that CGX had acquired a "cult" status because of MS's Flight Sim. So many people feel an emotional connection to it because of that, even people that have never been to it, or even Chicago

Count me into that group!



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2209 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3497 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 16):
Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 15):
Does anyone have a list of cities served by scheduled commercial flights from Meigs?

I don't have a list but I know Milwaukee, Saint Louis and Springfield used to have service to Meigs.

This archived thread from 2006 has a partial list:

Commercial Service At Meigs (by KDCA Jan 3 2006 in Civil Aviation)

Superfly, I agree 100% with you - I feel the shutdown of Meigs was a remarkably short sighted decision, and I hope it will be reversed someday....



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently onlinethegoldenargosy From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 362 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3385 times:

Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 15):

Does anyone have a list of cities served by scheduled commercial flights from Meigs?

Air Illinois Flight 710 which crashed in Pinckneyville, IL on October 11, 1983, was a Hawker Siddley 748 flying Meigs - Springfield - Carbondale.


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