Blue Ash airport is located six miles northeast of downtown Cincinnati at the intersection of Pfeiffer and Reed-Hartman Roads. It is a small 226-acre general aviation airport that serves mostly small recreational and business aircraft. It is an "uncontrolled airport", meaning that there is no operating control tower on the field meaning pilots broadcast their intentions over a radio frequency when arriving or departing the field. The airport is owned by the City of Cincinnati, which provides maintenance and receives Federal Funding for the airport, which is one important reason the City has resisted its sale to private interests. The airfield is surrounded by corporate business parks on all sides; some stand just feet from the single 3,500 foot runway. Almost annually there is discussion to sell part or all of the airfield to generate more tax base for the city. Just west of the airfield on Cooper Rd. sits the Cincinnati-owned Blue Ash Golf Course on land planned for airport expansion.
The airport was originally known as Grisard Field and was founded in 1921 by the Grisard Company (partially owned by Eshelby Lunken) in an attempt to lure lucrative Federal funds and airmail routes to Cincinnati. It also housed the 359th Army Reserve Observation Squadron. The airfield was commercially leased the next year to brothers Hugh and Parks Watson and it became a favorite place to visit for weekend airplane rides and flying circus air shows.
In 1925, Eshelby Lunken and the Grisard Company sold the Blue Ash airfield to the Watson brothers. Grisard Field now became Watson Field. The Grisard Company had eyes on the small airfield located near the Ohio River on what was then called the Turkey Bottoms, later to become known as Lunken Airport. After the 1937 flood completely submerged Lunken Airport, Cincinnati civic leaders reconsidered the Blue Ash airport as the most promising location. Starting in 1938, Cincinnati politicians, civic leaders and others fought with each other in attempts to build a large commercial airport for the City of Cincinnati at the Blue Ash location. Through the years, failed bond issues, political in-fighting and disagreements failed to produce any firm decision on building at the Blue Ash location. Meanwhile, Northern Kentucky politicians were successful in winning Federal approval and were awarded funds to build what would eventually become the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport. The Watson brothers sold the Blue Ash airport to the City of Cincinnati in 1946 and the airfield was renamed the Blue Ash airport. Throughout the 1950s, there were still political efforts to build the "Cincinnati Airport" in Blue Ash but Blue Ash civic leaders and residents fought any major airport redevelopment issues. As time went by, suburbs and businesses expanded and any chance for Blue Ash to become the site of a major airport dwindled.
Blue Ash today maintains the rustic yet modern charm that is a small and friendly general aviation airport. Summer air shows are still held there annually and many attend flight training and charter small aircraft out of Blue Ash for weekend jaunts. Pilots can usually be found hanging around the lounge engaged in "hangar flying" discussions, and although one can literally walk out of any of the hangar and see newly built business and residences directly across the street, the city has accepted the airport as an old friend and all accept each other peacefully.
Blue Ash air operations can be monitored on scanner frequency
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Kentucky International Airport
2. Lunken Airport
3. Blue Ash Airport
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