MEDIA RELEASE-July 26, 2017
Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport named General Aviation Airport of the Year
(Brooksville, FL) The Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport (BKV) was recently named the 2017 General Aviation Airport of the Year by the Florida Department of Transportation. The award recognized BKV’s outstanding achievements in airport aesthetics, safety and services. Eligible nominees for this award must be a public-use general aviation airport within the state of Florida. BKV came out on top against other nominees including Boca Raton, Page Field and Vero Beach Municipal airports.
On July 22, 2017, Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty attended the Florida Airports Council meeting in Miami Beach to receive the award.
“We are very proud of this recognition from FDOT,” County Administrator Leonard Sossamon said. “With FDOT and FAA assistance, we have worked hard to make airfield safety improvements and infrastructure upgrades for development.”
The 2,400-acre BKV is classified as a regional general aviation airport and is home to 148 based aircraft. The airport is owned and operated by the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners and has an air traffic control tower with two runways capable of accommodating small and large corporate aircraft.
Hernando County Government
Public Information Manager
20 N. Main Street, Room 263
Brooksville, FL 34601
Office (352) 540-6780
Cell (352) 277-1069
Hernando County Airport was opened in November 1942 by the United States Army Air Forces. Known as Brooksville Army Airfield, it was used as part of the Air University‘s Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics (AAFSAT) tactical combat simulation school in Central and Northern Florida.
Headquartered at Orlando Army Air Base, AAFSAT’s mission was to develop tactics and techniques of aerial warfare and to establish technical and tactical proficiency requirements for combat units to effectively engage and defeat enemy air forces. This was done with a wide variety of aircraft, including heavy strategic bombers, tactical fighters, medium and light bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and dive bombers, based at different airfields of the school.
AAFSAT used Brooksville as a heavy and medium bomber training base, assigning the following squadrons to the airfield:
- 1st Bombardment Squadron, December 15, 1942 – February 25, 1944 (B-17 Flying Fortress)
- 5th Bombardment Squadron, January 6-February 25, 1944, (B-24 Liberator), (B-25 Mitchell)
- 99th Bombardment Squadron, January 5-February 25, 1944 (B-25 Mitchell), (B-26 Marauder)
- 430th Bombardment Squadron, January 6-February 25, 1944 (B-24 Liberator), (B-25 Mitchell), (B-26 Marauder)
In March 1944, Brooksville was reassigned to Third Air Force and it became an auxiliary airfield of MacDill Army Airfield (now MacDill AFB) and Drew Army Airfield (now Tampa International Airport). The airfield came under the jurisdiction of the 377th Army Air Forces Base Unit, Squadron “A” becoming the operational unit. Under Third Air Force, Brooksville became a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber replacement training base. Bomber crews assigned to the main base used the airfield as an overflow training base and as an emergency landing airfield, if necessary.
With the imminent end of the war in Europe, Brooksville AAF was notified on April 1, 1945 of its pending inactivation on June 30. With B-17s being used almost exclusively in Europe, the need for replacement personnel by Eighth and Fifteenth Air Force was ended.
In late 1945, the field was reported to the War Assets Administration (WAA) as being in surplus and between April 1946 and June 1947, the WAA sold or moved the on-site equipment to military locations where it could be better utilized. The land and left-over facilities were sold to the city of Brooksville by a General Services Administration (GSA) quitclaim deeds which contained clauses that limited the property to be used for a public airport only. Some of these clauses have since been modified by the Federal Aviation Administration. 
Within a few years, the city of Brooksville transferred the property to Hernando County, which remains the current owner. Two small sections of the land have been sold to private interests and the rest is currently used by the county for an airport, 155-acre (0.63 km2) industrial park, prison, land rentals, and tree farming.
In October 2012, the Hernando County Commission voted to change the name of the airport to Brooksville–Tampa Regional Airport, part of a county-wide re-branding effort of major facilities and infrastructure. This action remains controversial, with objections from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, the governmental entity overseeing Tampa International Airport and three general aviation airports in neighboring Hillsborough County. Following several months legal challenges by both governmental entities in Hernando County and Hillsborough County, mediation in late February/early March 2013 resulted in the airport being renamed again as Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport, a name change acceptable to both the Hernando County Commission and the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.