Recently flew from France to New York City. LOVE to watch those little maps of my trip on the airplane screen. They always show “Gander” as a main point. Knew I had heard of it because of their airport. But on the screen, it is always just all “green”. So did the airport get abandoned and return to Mother Nature or what?
Gander is a Canadian town located in the northeastern part of the island of Newfoundland in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of Gander Bay, 100 km (62 mi) south of Twillingate and 90 km (56 mi) east of Grand Falls-Windsor. Located on the northeastern shore of Gander Lake, it is the site of Gander International Airport, formerly an important refuelling point for transatlantic aircraft, and, to this day, a preferred stopping point for transatlantic aircraft that need to land because of on-board medical or security emergencies.
Gander was chosen for the construction of an airport in 1935 because of its location close to the northeast tip of the North American continent. In 1936, construction of the base began, and the town started to develop. On January 11, 1938, Captain Douglas Fraser made the first landing at “Newfoundland Airport”, now known as Gander International Airport, or “CYQX”, in a single-engine biplane, Fox Moth VO-ADE.
During the Second World War, as many as 10,000 Canadian, British and American military personnel resided in Gander. The area became a strategic post for the Royal Air Force Air Ferry Command, with approximately 20,000 American- and Canadian-built fighters and bombers stopping at Gander en route to Europe. After the war, the airbase became a civilian airport, and the location of the town was moved a safe distance from the runways. Construction of the present town site began in the 1950s, and the present municipality was incorporated in 1958; the settlement around the airport was eventually abandoned.
After the Second World War, the town grew as the airport was used as a refuelling stop for transatlantic flights, earning its name “Cross-roads of the world”. Efforts have been made to diversify the economy from being dependent on the airport, particularly as new aircraft designs permitted longer-range flights without the need for landing to refuel.
Gander was the site of a major aircraft accident, Arrow Air Flight 1285, on December 12, 1985. 256 people were killed in the disaster, making it the deadliest air crash to happen in Canada.
Most of the streets in Gander are named after famous aviators, including Amelia Earhart, Alcock and Brown, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, Marc Garneau and Chuck Yeager.
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