Airport History

Located in Sebastian, Florida, Sebastian Municipal Airport is a small general aviation airport located in the north coastal region of Indian River County. Similar to other facilities serving World War II, the approximate 1,025-acre airport was built by the United States Navy in 1943 (known then as Roseland Satellite Field) as a naval flight training station. The military paid approximately $1,300 for the property in 1943. The aviation facility was transferred by the War Assets Administration, as part of the Surplus Property Act of 1944, on January 29, 1959, to the City of Sebastian. Upon taking responsibility, a provision was written in reference to the Federal Surplus Property Act, that the airport would be used without unfair discrimination solely for aviation purposes. This provision provided that the property be given back to the United States in the event of noncompliance with any terms and conditions of the deed.

Since its acquisition in 1959, Sebastian Municipal Airport (now 620 acres) has been maintained and operated by the City of Sebastian. Since the transfer of ownership from the U.S. Government, Sebastian has undergone numerous facility changes and improvements. The noted championship Sebastian Municipal Golf Course was built in 1981 on a 155-acre plot of land occupying a large portion of the airport property. Local area flight-training greatly increased operations at the airport in the mid- to late- 1980s and frequent skydiving activity accounts for a large portion of operations at the airport.

The addition of a number of commercial and private general aviation hangars and related aprons were developed along the west quadrant of the field. No identifiable existing structures stand from the airport's military days. Over the years, there have been other changes made to the airport. Some of the more significant projects, going backward chronologically, have included:

  • Construction of the Airport Administration Building
  • Closing of R/W 13/31 and Re-Opening of R/W 10/28
  • Center 75 feet of Runway 5/23  reconstructed and 37.5 feet of both sides of the runway resealed and rejuvenated (completed during 1997)
  • Installation of LIRL on Runway 5/23
  • The closing of Runway 18/36 as an active runway. This pavement was then converted into a taxiway and apron.

Some of the most notable improvements, which have changed the look of the airfield, have occurred since the last Master Plan Update. For example, general aviation facilities have been constructed on the west side of the airport, consisting of several new T hangars and a miscellaneous inventory of skydive training facilities.

The airport is directly regulated by the City of Sebastian and is a Department of the City, under the City Manager.

In its current role, the airport focuses primarily on serving general aviation. The airport does currently support and accommodate recreational activity, and it sees itself trying to attract additional users in this category in the future. The airport also accommodates flight training activity.  Sebastian Municipal Airport could support SATS related air taxi operations and it sees itself experiencing significant growth in the coming years. Management's goal is to provide for an on-site corporate industrial park and expanded hangar construction using the 143 acres gained by closing Runway 13/31. Sebastian would also like to attract additional aviation services such as Airframe and Powerplant repairs, Avionics and Painting.

General aviation operations by corporate and business users are present at the airport. The airport estimates that 10 percent of its annual general aviation operations are business related. Approximately 25 percent of the airport's based aircraft are owned by local businesses. The airport also attracts a significant number of transient or visiting general aviation aircraft.