The Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field has a unique history which dates back to 1943 when the groundbreaking for the airport, known as Hulman Field, occurred. The initial airport site contained approximately 638 acres and was donated to the City of Terre Haute by Anton Hulman, Jr. The late Mr. Hulman, a successful local businessman, was more nationally recognized as the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With the assistance of Federal funding, the airport was constructed and then dedicated on October 3, 1944. The airport consisted of three runways, taxiways, apron area, and a terminal building.
Initially, passenger service to the community was provided by TWA, which began service shortly after the opening of the airport. The first air cargo shipment to be flown out of Terre Haute occurred in February, 1946 by TWA. In the early 1950′s, a second airline, Delta C & S, began serving the community. This service was short-lived and subsequently replaced by Lake Central Airlines in 1954.
In 1953, the construction of a new terminal building was completed and the apron area expanded. The terminal building included a control tower. The building was expanded by 1,500 square feet in 1977 and then by an additional 5,300 square feet in 1981.
A local Air National Guard Base was established at the airport in 1954 and the 113th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which is a part of the 181st Tactical Fighter Group, was stationed at the airport. In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure commission mandated the end of the flying era for the Racer Family. On September 8, 2007, the 181st Fighter Wing flew their last training mission out of Hulman Field International Airport. On May 3, 2008 the 181st Fighter Wing was re-designated as the 181st Intelligence Wing. The 181st Intelligence Wing carries a rich history and embraces a challenging future. The Racers constantly train to the highest standards to provide a ready, relevant and reliable force to protect the freedom of the community, state and nation.
In the early 1960′s, significant improvement projects were completed: in 1961, an ILS (Instrument Landing System) was commissioned; in 1962, Runway 5-23 was extended to 9,025 ft. The airport’s secondary runway 14-32 was extended to 7,200 feet in 1999.
The mid-to-late 1960′s and early 1970′s were characterized by an evolution of airline passenger service at the airport. In 1964, Lake Central Airlines began replacing DC-3 aircraft with Convair 340′s for passenger service. Early in 1965, TWA discontinued service to the airport but Lake Central increased service to fill the void left by TWA’s departure. Also in 1965, Lake Central began operating DC-3′s at the airport for cargo service. In 1968, Lake Central merged with Allegheny Airlines which continued service to the airport. Britt Airlines, operating as Allegheny Commuter, began serving the Airport in 1973.
Britt Airlines operated in Terre Haute until the late 1980′s when it was purchased and service ultimately terminated. Airline service was provided by Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd d/b/a United Express from 1995 through the summer of 1999.
Until 1976 the airport was operated for the City of Terre Haute by a four member board of aviation commissioners. As the airport developed and its service area expanded, it became apparent that a more broad-based management organization was required. In 1976, the City of Terre Haute and Vigo County formed an airport authority. The Terre Haute International Airport Authority is comprised of six members, with three members appointed by the Mayor and three members appointed by the Vigo County Commissioners. In 1998, the Airport’s name was changed from Hulman Regional Airport to Terre Haute International Airport – Hulman Field.