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The most Chicago thing ever happened 20 years ago — an airport was bulldozed overnight

When the sun came up over Chicago on March 31, 2003, it shone down on six large Xs that were bulldozed overnight into the runway of a small downtown airport. ( More...

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dee9bee 30
For any of you who like 'flying' on your home computer, the newest version of Microsoft's Flight Simulator (MSFS) recently put Meigs back in (along with Hong Kong's Kai Tak)
Martin Dennett 6
How many of us flew a 172 from Meigs and immediately contacted O'Hare for a full stop landing :)
Nige Lites 4
I remember a friend showing me MSFS when it first came out, Meigs was the default (or maybe one of them), anyway it was the one used to demo the software.
James Cox 3
Meigs Field was the default starting location for Microsoft Flight Simulator from 1982 until FSX in 2006.
dee9bee 1
That was years ago, though. After the demolition, Meigs disappeared from the sim until just a few months ago.
I remember a photo of Meigs field on the cover of AOPA magazine with the caption, "Meigs Saved". Yeah, not for long. F'n Daley
Nigel Rigg 7
This just showed me that AOPA didn't have as much lobbying influence as I believed they did. I couldn't believe they, and other authorities just rolled over and didn't see through legal action.
srobak 6
The AOPA is not an authority and could not pursue any legal action other than civil - which would be dicey and expensive as the airport was not their asset. The FAA and DoJ up and dropped it for no reason - though they could have and should have held him criminally responsible.
Jay Cee 1
They dropped it because Daley was a fellow democrat and thus above the law. It was less apparent back then that the DOJ and FBI were arms of the democrat party. GW Bush did nothing.
drpepper 19
Hilarious in a forum filled with alleged aviation enthusiasts that the comments would focus on current politics and not the glaring omission in the story...
How do you illegally close an airport without a federal (FAA) response?
srobak 6
Yeah I still wonder to this day how Daley didn't face federal charges for that. He paid off someone, that's fore sure - cause I remember the FAA and the DoJ were all hot under the collar about it, citing endless laws and regulations which were violated, and then all of a sudden out of the blue they just up and dropped it cold turkey and with zero explanation. Buncha crap if you ask me. And now it is a park and a concert venue (with endless fights and crime problems during each event), and is a parking and traffic nightmare - severely intruding on the accessibility to the best spot to view the city from and to get to the museum campus. If I were ever unfortunate enough to get elected mayor - first thing I would do is bulldoze it again and put the airfield back... and increase it's capacity.
Michael Dealey 1
Or someone higher up than him wanted this done. I can't imagine why, though.
Seems like the airport was just a pet-peeve of his or he was going to gain financially from it.
Did he get a nice kick-back from the money used to pay the developers of the park?
John Taylor 1
He turned the land into a park and gardens named after hid mother.
John Taylor 1
The city of Chicago owned the airport. The feds have nothing to say about the closure of a private airport.
Stefan Sobol 2
Yes, but if they received any Federal funds for airport operations or improvements the city was obligated to keep the airport open. See Santa Monica airport.
Michael Dealey 1
You answered your own question.
If anyone other than a corrupt, Democrat mayor had done this, they'd be in jail.
But there were no consequences for Daley.
I'd say that has everything to do with politics.
Nooge -2
If anyone other than a corrupt, Republican Commander in Cheat POSOTUS had done this, they'd not only be indicted and impeached twice they would be in jail already.
Michael Dealey 3
Your comment makes absolutely no sense.
Someone other than a republican president DID do this, and there were no consequences.
Mike Mohle 12
I was heading to KCGX that morning out of KBMI, ended up at KLOT. As I recall a number of airplanes on the ground at Meigs were stranded for a while.
linbb -4
What happened is a text book case of someone in power out of control. Its much like Biden is doing right now which with his ban the natural gas deal and using taxpayer money to help people buy electric cars. Our electric grid does not have enough in many places to support more growth for either. Its all taxpayer money and no one seems to care.
FlightSeer 16
Thank you! This BS about EVs getting 110 mpg/equiv is nuts since the enviro-damage of Li-ion batts is SO dreadful, yet seldom acknowledged. If everyone had to drive EV's the grid would go down within two weeks! But because a few trees were planted on the ex-airport, this made violating the contract for the airport "less illegal". If the Governor at the time had any er, gumption, he would have had the NG there within the hour. And on April 1, no less! Guess we just have to keep our sixes covered in this back-a$$ward way things are going.
FlightSeer 7
Thank you! This BS about EVs getting 110 mpg/equiv is nuts since the enviro-damage of Li-ion batts is SO dreadful, yet seldom acknowledged.
James Simms 1
Not to mention using child & slave labor in Africa, elsewhere to mine the Lithium, but the Lefty’s & Envirowacko’s don’t care or want people to know abt that
KeithEstelle -4
Dems are never charged for there evil corruption, it’s just the new world order, that’s a joke and will never last! They will have a day of reckoning, and it won’t be pretty for them !
Gene Joy 1
You're that naive and get behind the controls of aircraft? YIKES!
jeff slack 3
Matt Harris 1
Keep government out of my medicare! (kidding, gov't works for the people, and we pay taxes so we can have good things, not live in a crappy country like Russia, or Chad).
srobak 2
I've got some waterfront airstrip property in the middle of Nevada I'd love to sell you.
msetera 1
Glad someone here is awake. Too bad so many have their heads in the sand, or stuck up another place. LGB!

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Nooge 1
Ones that are not going to trial for lying to their low IQ viewers
msetera -2
Glad someone here is awake. Too bad so many have their heads in the sand, or stuck up another place. LGB.
David Rice 11
Yea, that was a big loss for the City of Chicago. The airport generated way more revenue than the park does today, even when adjusted for inflation. Daley's rationale (re: aircraft ops near skyscrapers) was laughable at best, given the length of the runway and the size/weight of the aircraft that were operating from that field as well.
Michael Dealey 0
As if that even matters. The planes that hit the world trade center didn't come from LGA or JFK.. they flew quite a distance before hitting the towers. So proximity was not the issue.
Greg S 30
I grew up in Chicago, Meigs was really a nice little airport. Getting rid of was maybe the right thing to do, maybe not, but the way it was done was definitely NOT the right way. Daley was an insane authoritarian just like his dad.
matt jensen 19
I remember this like it was yesterday. Daley, Jr tore up my favourite airstrip. A place where I flew out every week for parts of the country no one knew about and didn't care. Returning one day to find the airstrip torn to shreds. - I knew crazy Daley did it, even after he promised to not I kept my boat on a dock right out in front. This really torqued me up.
FlightSeer 15
Not to mention he ignored a multi-year contract/agreement to keep the airport open. Sticking in a couple of trees was supposed to - somehow- justify the lies and deceit. Governor should have sent in the NG immediately to stop it.
FlightSeer 6
Governor should have sent the National Guard to take it back, but, well, politics makes for strange b- -fellows.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

JJ Johnson 8
TDS is real. I hear getting rid of the color blue really helps.
dnorthern 2

You should seek psychiatric help. Your condition is treatable with proper medication and therapy.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Michael Dealey 3
He's running it *now*.
Nooge 0
Osama got no help from Russia when he was elected twice and both times with a majority
msetera -2
Said a moron.
Mark Ryalls 21
I have flown a King Air 300 into Meigs many times. Great airport and convenient to the city and the museum. Daly should have been brought up on federal charges and made to restore the airport at HIS own expense.
bbabis 9
I've been in and out of Meigs many times and it was one of my favorite airports for its scenic approaches. To get in IFR you had to shoot the ILS into Midway, call the hotels insight, and then scoot over. Was sad and angry to see what happened to it.
Mike Mohle 5
I do remember that approach! One other time did the approach to Gary then flew just off the W coast of Lake Michigan to Meigs under a good ceiling.
jwmson 30
Only US airport destroyed by a terrorist.
James Simms 12
Yea well, Santa Monica, CA already & Burbank on the chopping block would disagree by the actions of city governments in the Peoples Democratic Socialist Republic of Kalifornia (PDSRofK)
srobak 5
he meant "so far"
Jim Fisher 2
Not the PDSRofK, it's the greedy developers who want to build on that real estate and the politicians they have paid off.
Billy Koskie 24
Chicago - the home of vote early, vote often, vote from the grave.
matt jensen 12
They still had my Dad on the voter rolls ten years after he died
John Sullivan 2
But did he vote?
matt jensen 2
John Sullivan 2
But did he vote?

Flew into Meigs many times. Terriffic place.
Nooge 0
Right... Trump took Chicago by a landslide!!!
Feel sorry for the airport users
Craig Good 5
Corrupt bully.
Nooge -5
Corrupt bully? what did Trump have to do with this? he was busy completing the wall and eliminating our National Debt
Jim Fisher 0
I think the reference to Trump taking the city by a landslide was Sarcasm. However, need to correct your comment. Trump didn't complete the wall nor eliminate the National Debt. Evidently, he did fill his pockets with $$$.
Trajan McGill 5
As I recall, I was listening to WGN Radio at the time when they started hearing about and reporting on odd activity going on over there, bulldozers showing up and police in the middle of the night with no explanation from the city.

I couldn't believe it was able to go down like that with essentially no pushback or repercussions. And the justification Daley gave at the time was highly frustrating for how disingenuous it was, one of those explanations that plays off of a public sentiment but completely fails at the slightest examination-- supposedly it was about not, in the near-post-9/11 era, wanting planes flying near downtown anymore. Except...the action didn't close one inch of airspace near downtown; it only closed ground space. Were we worried about terrorists taxiing planes into hangars or something? But nobody seemed to seriously argue with the premise, even though it clearly accomplished zero for public safety-- less than zero, because the Coast Guard had to relocate across the lake, further from where the most likely rescue response areas would be.
Paula Thompson 2
Yes, i remember, when we would come down from Milwaukee for the day, watching planes land and take off from Meigs. It seemed so neat that it was downtown
don stewart 2
Daley should have been thrown in jail for his actions.
This was a typical, heavy handed, Democrat raw use of power. Basically saying "I did it because I wanted to." Stranding a bunch of planes there (that later had to get special approval to take off on a taxiway.)

Messing up the State of Illinois, who flew in their from Springfield regularly.

Eliminating a close to the downtown airport for pilots to use and patronize downtown businesses and the museum complex.

The argument made by the Mayor was baloney. If you have ANY clue of where O'Hare and Midway are, they are the locations with the heavy aircraft and when the winds are right, they go RIGHT OVER the tall buildings.

So like I said, raw, heavy handed democrat power. Just like the current administration in Washington and Illinois are trying to do trouncing the Second Amendment to our US Constitution with their illegal and unconstitutional rules and executive orders restricting guns.

Democracy doesn't die with a fight - it dies when we let tyrants take away our constitutional rights.
Jim Fisher 0
Love the segue into Republican BS concerning the current administration when their leader (?) is beginning to face his anti-Democracy crimes. And, followers are stuck in 1791 thinking.
Grd Newell 1
Anybody watch “Boss”?
John Taylor 1
My IL Air National Guard unit had just deployed for Iraqi Freedom and one of my friends had just gotten the job of airport manager at Meigs right before we left. He was to start work upon our return. The way he found out that he had no job waiting after all was when we saw it on CNN. Talk about a morale crusher. Needless to say, he was bummed for the duration of our deployment.
Paul Hurford 1
I flew into Meigs several times a month, mostly in the twilight or night time hours. I loved the convenience of it being so close to down town. I loved it when the winds favored landing to the North, it was like practicing for a Carrier landing... it was great fun. When landing there, I generally spent the night down town, paid my tiedown and always bought about 10 gals of 100 octane. When Daley tore it up, many aircraft were left stranded at Meigs, and all the local pilots were mad as hell. But sadly, it was Daleu's Chicago and he did what he wanted. Chicago has its own rules, and god forbid you challenge them.
John Taylor 1
Chicago HAD their own rules. Once Daley the lesser left, it began it's slow slide into the hole it is now with practically no rule of law.
Yes, and I have never spent one cent in Chicago since, even living nearby in Michigan. Daley should have been executed and the entire city bulldozed.
Nooge 0
Speaking of being bulldozed ?

Admit it voted for ROmney McCain Dubya MD the twice impeached Indicted Commander in Cheat

A broken clock is right twice a day and Trump is right about 3 out of 4 candidates you voted to be President
Once again, the tyrants-Daley family and their successors have royally screwed not only general Aviation, by destroying Meigs field, over night, and the rest of Shitcago. I left that ruined city in 1959, with my parents, for Southern CA. Now Calif. 60+ years later, CA has followed suit. It's truly amazing what DEMOCRATS will do to absolutely screw up everything they can, for their own benefit!
Rico van Dijk -2
At least it’s an honest yet brutal way. Not the clandestine hypocrite underground way Lelystad Airport was molested for over 4 decades.
srobak 15
There was nothing honest about it. Middle of the night, under the cover of darkness and with police cars blocking the access road. Of course this was after saying nothing would happen to the airport. Daley was as dishonest as they come.
Nooge -1
To be honest about it. Do you think the dishonest criminals will they honor subpoenas and testify without taking the fifth ?
Jim Fisher 0
Illinois legislature Republicans didn't want the airport for two reasons. One, keep Democrats from flying in for convection. Two, the give back to their developers' contribution.
srobak 2
Dick Daley was a Dem.
John Taylor 1
And a chip off his old dad's block. Both authoritarian mayors. But, I will say that they both managed to crime to a much lower level. And I'm not a Dem but will give credit where credit is due.


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