If your travels take you to Chattanooga, you will probably be stopping at either Lovell Field Airport (KCHA), in Chattanooga proper, or Marion County Airport-Brown Field (KAPT), located in Jasper, Tennessee.
Lovell Field Airport (KCHA), Chattanooga, Tennessee
Lovell Field is the larger of the two airports in the area, and it’s located 5 miles east of the city. The airport has been around since the golden age of aviation—Charles Lindbergh landed here when he flew one of the early airmail routes.
Lovell Field has two runways: 2/20 measures 7,400 feet by 150 feet, and 15/33 measures 5,575 feet by 150 feet. Both runways 15 and 33 have displaced thresholds to accommodate obstacles at their approach ends.
Airnav.com notes pilots should keep an eye out for birds in the vicinity of their aircraft and be sure to read back the hold short instructions. Transient aircraft should also take care to avoid the security zone within 300 feet of the commercial air terminal.
The airport has several ILS and RNAV approaches, so double check that you have the right one when you file IFR to KCHA, and verify ATC approves what you requested. If you need to refuel, the airport has both 100LL and jet-A fuel available.
The airport is known for its commitment to sustainability. There is a solar farm located on the southwest corner of the property that generates approximately 90 percent of the airport’s electricity.
Marion County Airport-Brown Field (KAPT), Jasper, Tennessee
If you are looking for a nontowered airport in the Chattanooga area and don’t mind a bit of a drive, Marion County Airport-Brown Field (KAPT) is located 18 miles west of Chattanooga.
KAPT has one runway, aligned 4/22 and measuring 3,498 feet by 75 feet. There is an RNAV approach to Runway 4. There are trees in the vicinity of the runway, and the airport hosts quite a bit of ultralight activity, so keep your eyes peeled. Also be on the lookout for skydivers, says airport manager William Neal, as the airport is home to an active skydiving school. The jumpers land in a grassy area north of the airport.
According to Neal, the airport has a very home-grown quality to it because when the facility was built in the 1960s, the engineer behind the project was from Jasper and took special care with the design of the runway. “We have the most level runway in the state of Tennessee,” Neal says.
For history buffs, the airport was named after James Ivan Brown, who was a member of the Army Air Corps and part of the squadron that escorted the B-29 Bockscar to Nagasaki. In addition, there is a museum dedicated to the coal mining industry on Main Street in nearby Whitwell. The community also hosts the annual National Cornbread Festival, sponsored by Lodge Manufacturing, a family-owned company that makes cast-iron cookware.
This article was first published in the 2022 Southeast Adventure Guide of FLYING Magazine.