Dane County Regional Airport, also referred to as Truax Field (IATA - MSN), is a joint civil and military airport positioned northeast of Madison, Wisconsin. FAA has categorized it as a small-hub primary commercial service facility, as it is the second most busy commercial airport out of eight in Wisconsin.
Madison City acquired 290 acres of land in 1927, which was a cabbage patch for a local factory. This land later became the residence of the Dane County Regional Airport. In 1936, a Works Progress Administration grant was passed by the city for construction of an airplane hangar and four runways. Further allowances financed electric floodlights and the administrative building. The installation had cost $1 million, out of which the city paid 10 percent, and the federal government covered the rest. In 1938, Edgar Quinn, J.J. McMannamy, and Howard Morey founded the Madison Airways Corporation.
During World War II, in June 1942, The airfield was renamed to Truax Field and began functioning as a US Army Air Corps airfield. Truax Field was also utilized by the US Army Air Corps Eastern Technical Training Center for training radio mechanics and operators. Later, the Army Airways Communication Service used the airfield for control tower operations, radar operations, and other communications. On November 30, 1945, it was shut down as an AAF airfield.
The Madison Municipal Airport converted the headquarters to the 1st Battalion of 147th Aviation Regiment. The Regiment has deployed the UH-60M Blackhawk Helicopters in the assistance of Operation Enduring Freedom after the 9/11 attacks. Wisconsin Air National Guard is also housed here. Nowadays, The Air National Guard's F-16 Fighting Falcon functions at the airport, and the 115th Fighter Wing defends the eastern part of the United States.
The first jets to fly from the airfield were Northwest Orient 727s. A 31 thousand square foot terminal was inaugurated at the cost of $2.36 million in 1966. Twenty years after the construction of the new terminal, the airport tripled in size from 32,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet. A second level concourse was added, including six boarding bridges. This expansion cost $12 million.
In 2006, Truax Field was yet again expanded with a $68 million budget doubling the size of the terminal building. It was designed as a Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie-style by the Architectural Alliance. The new terminal holds 13 gates, an additional restaurant, an art court, Wi-Fi, post-security retail stores, and both family and business lounges.
Dane County Regional Airport advertised an essential terminal modernization plan, with the replacement of design work and the addition of new jet boarding bridges beginning in 2018.
Dane County Regional Airport sits on 3,500 acres with its three concrete runways. A 9,006 by 150 feet 18/36 runway, 7,200 by 150 feet 3/21 runway and 5,846 by 150 feet 14/32 runway.
Wisconsin Aviation is the current fixed-base operator. Previously it was operated by Coldstream Aviation and Four Lakes Aviation in 1994.
As of March 2020, there are 157 planes stationed at the airport: 27 jets, 18 multi-engine, and 75 single-engine aircraft, 36 military aircraft and one helicopter.
Dane County Regional Airport serves around 100 flights every day to international, national, and regional destinations. More than 1.5 million travelers depart and arrive at the MSN Airport every year with direct flights to Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Newark, and Memphis.