John Wayne Airport

Pittsburgh International or (Mister) Fred Rogers Int’l Airport?

There’s a petition out there to change the name of Pittsburgh International Airport to Fred Rogers International Airport.

Where would you weigh in?

Fred Rogers grew up near Pittsburgh and for 33 years episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the beloved children’s television show he and his red sweater starred in, were produced at Pittsburgh’s public TV station, WQED.

A special gallery at Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center displays artifacts from the show, including Rogers’ iconic sweater, necktie, khakis, sneakers and the living room set he entered at the beginning of each show.  There’s also a recently refreshed exhibit dedicated to Rogers on Concourse C at Pittsburgh International Airport.

But that isn’t enough for Ian Miller, a Pittsburgh citizen who last week started a petition asking that the name of Pittsburgh International Airport be changed to Fred Rogers International Airport.

“Fred Rogers, a television pioneer and children’s entertainer, shared Pittsburgh’s sense of community with the world through his PBS show,” Miller writes in his petition, “Pittsburgh is still an active transit hub and, for many people, our airport will be their first experience in Pittsburgh. We wish to welcome everybody to our neighborhood.”

The petition has over 11,000 signatures so far.

And while Allegheny County Airport Authority, which manages Pittsburgh International, appreciates Miller’s enthusiasm and agrees “Fred Rogers occupies a special place in the hearts of Pittsburghers and people around the world,” said airport spokesman Bob Kerlik, it seems unlikely the airport’s name will be changed.

“In 2016, we completed a rebranding of the airport to better match the ongoing renaissance of the Pittsburgh region,” said Kerlik, “And at this time our focus is on continuing to advance ‘Pittsburgh International Airport’ as a global aviation leader.”

Naming – or renaming – an airport after a celebrity with a local connection isn’t unheard of in the United States.

In Santa Rosa, CA, for example, passengers land and take-off from the Charles M. Schulz -Sonoma County Airport. In Louisiana, the major airport is the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. John Wayne Airport serves Orange County, CA and the Will Rogers World Airport provides air service to Oklahoma City, OK.


Oklahoma City Airport

And while it has recently been rebranded as Hollywood Burbank Airport, the official name of the airfield about 12 miles north of downtown Los Angeles is still legally Bob Hope Airport.


Fresh art at John Wayne Airport


Wonder Slim by George James, courtesy Fullerton College

The new art exhibit at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California shares some ‘hidden treasures’ plucked from the art collections of five Orange County colleges and universities and is on display through August 2015 in the Vi Smith Gallery across from Gates 18-21.

Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha - art book. Courtesy University of California, Irvine

Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha – art book. Courtesy University of California, Irvine

The airport’s art program presents intriguing, museum-quality exhibits on a regular basis. Also on exhibit now (through April 2015) are whimsical paintings by Costa Mesa artist Cheryl Bookout –

The Fish in her Party Dress - Cheryl Bookout

The Fish in her Party Dress – Cheryl Bookout

And – always there: Flight of Ideas. This wonderful, large scale three-dimensional sculpture above the baggage carousels in Terminal C is made up of 21 aluminum birds with wing spans up to 14 feet by Beth Nyback. Look closely next time you’re there: the wings of the birds display enlarged portions of multi-colored aeronautical charts.


Paintings of currency & postage stamps at John Wayne Airport

75 paintings of currency and postage stamps by pop artist Robert Dowd (1936-1995), on loan from a private collector, are on display through mid-January 2013 at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

You can see more images from the exhibit here.

From the airport notes about the exhibit:

Dowd became interested in art in 1957 when he was stationed at Camp Pendleton and came to Laguna Beach on liberty, encountering the artwork and paintings on view at the Laguna Beach art museum leaving him with an overwhelming desire to paint.

Tune in with antique radios at John Wayne Airport

As a radio producer, collector and fan of airports, here’s an exhibit that resonates with me completely:

A collection of antique and classic radios are currently on display at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

Look for these classics in the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery of Terminal A across from Gates 2 through 5 and in Terminal C across from Gates 18 through 21. They will be there till July 16, 2012.

The exhibition, titled Sound Design, features 86 radios from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, all on loan to the airport from the collection of Mark and Janet Hilbert.

Sonora Model No. 356

John Wayne Airport’s new Terminal C open, with baggage woes

On Monday, November 14, 2011, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California officially opened its new Terminal C, which offers travelers a new parking structure, new security screening lanes, new gates, new shops, new restaurants, free Wi-Fi, new artwork, workstations and plenty of places to plug in gadgets.

Flight of Ideas - by Beth Nybeck

You can see a map of the new terminal and a list of the new eateries and shops here but, unfortunately, if you’re heading to JWA’s new Terminal C you won’t be able to check your luggage.

Although the new terminal is open for business, the baggage handling system failed a certification test last week. So for now you’ll need to check your luggage in Terminal B.

All in all, the place does look pretty swanky and I’m hoping to visit in person soon. If you get there before I do, please share your thoughts on what you see and send along a few photos.