St. Thomas Airport: 1963

From Doug Miller’s collection, the St. Thomas Airport, circa 1963. It was called the Harry S. Truman Airport then.

The airport was renamed Cyril E. King Airport, after the USVI’s second elected Governor, in 1984.

The present day airport was built in 1990 and replaced this Naval hangar that had served as the island’s airport since the 1940’s.

14 Replies to “St. Thomas Airport: 1963”

  1. great photo! Landing back there back before the runway reno was always an adventure! Remember landing and loved watching the looks on passengers faces! The open air terminal was awesome as well!
    thanks for sharing…Ãœ
    PS: My brother worked on STT for years constructing the new runway. thanks Dan!

  2. thanks for sharing! Remember the runway before reno and the looks on passenger faces as they landed there on the short runway for the first time! My brother lived on STT and helped build the new longer runway..thanks Dan.

  3. All the larger planes going back to the States had to take off from St. Thomas and refuel on St. Croix then, since the runway was too short to allow a fully fueled plane to take off from Harry Truman.

  4. Wow! I remember being a small child that year and flying in to that airport on a DC3 from San Juan 2 days after our flight there from NY on a Pan Am 707. Wonderful memories of my first visit to a special place. Thanks

  5. Was Truman a frequent visitor to the islands (he liked to spend time in Key West as President)…or was he President when the airport was first built?

  6. I still miss the old airport, where I spent so many hours of the 70s and the 80s. You really felt like you were somewhere, then.

  7. I flew in and out of there in the mid 1960s in military helos. Seems like I recall at DC-3 in the water right off the ocean end of the airport.

  8. I am looking for an aeriel (or satellite) photo of the airport from 1976 time frame, before it was lengthened. I am working on an accident lessons learned database and need a picture or map of the airport at that time. Any help is appreciated.

    John Hed
    FAA
    john.hed@faa.gov

  9. I remember being 6 or 7 years old, a little after this picture was taken, waking up one morning going out to the living room, looking out at the airport over the balcony we lived on a big hill with a great view of the whole airport , and seeing a PanAM 707 parked by the terminal. The pilots accidentally landed at St. Thomas instead of St. Croix in the middle of the night.

    They flew the passengers on to STX on Caribair DC3s, pumped out most of the fuel, and shipped practically all the innards off to Christiansted for reassembly. Took the jet off, flew it to STX.

    Next year they stretched the runway a bunch into the bay, and, hey, presto, St. Thomas was in the Jet Age. Nonstop to NYC.

  10. Flew 727s RDU – STT in mid 80s. Runway was only 4500′. Very challenging! The new 7000 ft. Runway was being constructed at that time.

  11. Great photo of the old Harry S. Truman Airport on St. Thomas! Brought back lots of memories, as I lived on St. Thomas from early 1965 to early 1976. I remember that big old open-air hangar terminal well. It was certainly part of the unique ambiance of the island back then.

    My high school (Sts. Peter & Paul) football team used to practice on the golf course along the north side of the runway.

    I also took off eastward from Runway 9 (the only one, of course) on a lot of freefall parachute jumps with the St. Thomas Skydivers sport parachute club from 1972 to 1976.

    And, it was quite an experience to land there on a jet airliner back in the 1960’s and ’70’s – the pilots would bang the plane down on the runway, slam on the brakes, throw the engines into a roaring, shuddering reverse, and anything loose in the cabin flew forward as you strained against your seat belt!

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