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San Carlos Airport (IATA: SQL, ICAO: KSQL, FAA LID: SQL) is two miles northeast of San Carlos, California, in San Mateo County, California.[1][2] The FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) classifies San Carlos as a reliever airport for San Francisco International Airport.

San Carlos Airport
Kluft-photo-San-Carlos-Airport-Oct-2008-Img 1915.jpg
SQL - FAA airport diagram 04 06 2009.gif
FAA Diagram
Airport typePublic
OwnerSan Mateo County
ServesSan Carlos, California
Elevation AMSL5 ft / 2 m
Coordinates37°30′43″N 122°14′58″W / 37.51194°N 122.24944°W / 37.51194; -122.24944Coordinates: 37°30′43″N 122°14′58″W / 37.51194°N 122.24944°W / 37.51194; -122.24944
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 2,600 792 Asphalt
Statistics (2007)
Aircraft operations155,273
Based aircraft372

The airport is off U.S. Route 101. The airport is home to Civil Air Patrol West Bay Composite Squadron 192. Next to the airport is the Hiller Aviation Museum.


The San Carlos Flying Field was established during World War I by J. Paulding Edwards on a field north of Cordilleras Creek and east of today's Old County Road. A 300 foot long hangar was situated along the western end of Terminal Way. San Carlos' first pilot's license was issued on July 10, 1917 to Lieutenant Prince.[3]

In 1923, the airfield was taken over by the Cooley family. Charles P. Cooley was the primary flight instructor and his father, Frank S. Cooley operated the field. On July 12, 1940, a fire destroyed the main hangar and twelve aircraft. Operations were maintained on an airstrip bounded by today's Brittan Ave., Washington St., Old County Rd., and Industrial Rd.

Sometime around 1935 the Cooley family established a different airfield near the foot of today's Twin Dolphin Drive in San Carlos. That facility had a 200 ft by 2100 ft runway and a building that housed various industrial activities. The Cooley family eventually determined that the airport needed to be moved because its proximity to the Phelps and Steinberger Sloughs limited the length of the runway.

The Cooleys opened another airfield at the present location of the San Carlos airport in 1948. In 1952 ownership was transferred to Mr. Francis Michaud who renamed it San Carlos-Belmont Airport. Repair and administrative buildings were added and plans were developed to lengthen the runway to 7000 ft. In 1957 the field was renamed San Mateo County Airport, Inc. Ownership was split between Michaud, the Piombo Construction Company and six other parties. San Mateo County purchased the property in 1964. Today the airport is completely funded with user and business fees and receives no money from the County’s General Fund[4][5]


San Carlos Airport covers 110 acres (45 ha) at an elevation of 5 feet (2 m). Its one runway, 12/30, is 2,600 by 75 feet (792 x 23 m) asphalt.[1]

A plan to lengthen the runway by 400 feet was quelled by neighbors in 1999.[6] Aircraft with gross weight in excess of 12,500 lb (5,670 kg) are prohibited.

San Carlos Airport is home to over 30 aviation related businesses. Facilities and FBOs at KSQL include: Bay Aerial Helicopter Service, Fly Bay Area, JATO Aviation, Rabbit Aviation Services, Surf Air, Zanette Aviation Insurance, West Valley Flying Club, Diamond Aviation Charter, and the San Carlos Flight Center.

In 2007 the airport had 155,273 aircraft operations, average 425 per day: 98% general aviation, 2% air taxi and <1% military. 372 aircraft were then based at this airport: 86% single-engine, 11% multi-engine, <1% jet and 3% helicopter.[1]

Origin of SQL airport codeEdit

Given its proximity to the headquarters of the Oracle Corporation, a maker of database software, some have speculated that the airport code of SQL is a humorous reference to this large neighbor; in databases, SQL stands for Structured Query Language. In fact the airport was SQL years before June 16, 1977, the date of incorporation of Software Development Laboratories which became the Oracle corporation.

Experimental Aircraft AssociationEdit

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has a local chapter at San Carlos Airport. EAA Chapter 20 has about 50 members as of 2010.

1999 Proposed Runway ExtensionEdit

In 1999 a proposal was given to extend the runway into the marsh before runway 30. The proposal caused trouble in Redwood Shores and Foster City, where critics complained about noise. Despite promises by San Mateo County officials, opponents felt a longer runway would lead to bigger and noisier planes, in particular, more corporate aircraft of the light jet category.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for SQL (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2009-07-02.
  2. ^ "San Carlos Airport". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  3. ^ Pilot's License Granted Flier at San Carlos, Redwood City Democrat, July 10, 1917
  4. ^ San Carlos Airport Association
  5. ^ San Mateo County Public Works
  6. ^ "Airport Growth Under Fire". San Jose Mercury News. January 4, 1999.

External linksEdit