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Grant County International Airport
USGS aerial photo, 13 July 1996
Airport type Public
Owner Port of Moses Lake
Serves Moses Lake, Washington
Elevation AMSL 1,189 ft / 362 m
Coordinates 47°12′31″N 119°19′09″W / 47.20861°N 119.31917°W / 47.20861; -119.31917
Direction Length Surface
ft m
14L/32R 13,503 4,116 Asphalt/Concrete
4/22 10,000 3,048 Asphalt/Concrete
9/27 4,500 1,372 Concrete
18/36 3,327 1,014 Asphalt
14R/32L 2,937 895 Concrete
Statistics (2008)
Aircraft operations 69,940
Based aircraft 43
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]
FAA airport diagram

Grant County International Airport (IATA: MWHICAO: KMWHFAA LID: MWH) is a public use airport located five nautical miles (9 km) northwest of the central business district of Moses Lake, in Grant County, Washington, United States. It is owned by the Port of Moses Lake.[1]

Its 13,500-foot (4,100 m) runway is one of the longest in the U.S..

Until 1966, the facility was operated by the U.S. Air Force as Larson Air Force Base.[2]





Larson Air Force Base, originally named Moses Lake Army Air Base, was activated on November 24, 1942 as a temporary World War II training center. Moses Lake AAB was a sub-base of Spokane Air Technical Service Command, headquartered at Spokane Army Airfield.[3]

In 1945, base activity was curtailed to standby and for three years, was used to test two famous bomber aircraft: the B-47 and the B-50. Even though Moses Lake AAB (later AFB) was on standby, it was still playing a critical role in the development of the USAF aircraft. In 1949, a B-47 took-off from Larson, headed east and began a coast-to-coast speed race. The plane set a new record, completing the flight in just three hours and forty-five minutes, at an average speed of 607.2 mph (977 km/h).

In November 1964, it was announced that Larson AFB would be closed due to DoD budget reductions. The 462nd Strategic Aerospace Wing was inactivated in April 1966 and the base was closed on June 30, 1966. [4][5][6]


With the closure of the base, Colonel Owen retired from the Air Force and became the first director of the Port of Moses Lake, overseeing the transfer of the property from the U.S. Government to Grant County International Airport.

Despite the Air Force's departure, the airfield has continued to support operations from McChord's 62d Airlift Wing over the years, as the wing's C-141, C-130 and currently C-17 aircraft have practiced approaches and both normal landings and tactical assault landings on a regular basis.


With 4,700 acres (1,902 ha) and a main runway 13,500 feet (4,115 m) in length, it is one of the largest airports in the United States. Moses Lake is famous for good flying weather, as it is located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, in the semi-arid desert of central Washington state.

Grant County International Airport is an alternate landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle.[7]

Scheduled passenger flights on Big Sky Airlines to Boise and Portland were discontinued on September 1, 2006. The service was subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.

The airport had been used for heavy jet training by Japan Airlines for nearly 40 years until the closing of their training offices in March, 2009.[8]

It is also utilized by the U.S. Air Force and Boeing as a testing facility. Most of the traffic at the airport is general and military aviation.

The main campus for Big Bend Community College is also located on the grounds of the airport.

Facilities and aircraft

Grant Co. International Airport covers an area of 4,650 acres (1,882 ha) at an elevation of 1,189 feet (362 m) above mean sea level. It has five paved runways:[1]

  • Runway 14L/32R is 13,503 by 200 feet (4,116 x 61 m) with an asphalt/concrete surface
  • Runway 4/22 is 10,000 by 100 feet (3,048 x 30 m) with an asphalt/concrete surface
  • Runway 9/27 is 3,500 by 90 feet (1,067 x 27 m) with a concrete surface
  • Runway 18/36 is 3,327 by 75 feet (1,014 x 23 m) with an asphalt surface
  • Runway 14R/32L is 2,936 by 75 feet (895 x 23 m) with a concrete surface

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2008, the airport had 69,940 aircraft operations, an average of 191 per day: 56% general aviation, 33% military, 8% scheduled commercial and 3% air taxi. At that time there were 43 aircraft based at this airport: 74% single-engine, 19% multi-engine and 7% jet.[1]

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Seattle/Tacoma

See also


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for MWH (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2009-07-02.
  2. ^
  3. ^ USAFHRA Document 00175897
  4. ^ PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
    • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  5. ^ - Larson AFB history
  6. ^ Global - Larson AFB
  7. ^ Space Shuttle Emergency Landing Sites
  8. ^ "Japan Airlines: fuel too pricey for Moses Lake". KOMO TV (Associated Press). November 20, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2009.  

External links


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