Aviation in Broward County began in earnest with the establishment of Merle Fogg Field in May, 1929. This airfield became Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station in 1942, when the Navy constructed three main runways and built a control tower to serve as a training facility during World War II. Broward County assumed control of the facility in 1948, and took formal ownership in 1953, thus creating what is now known as Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. This facility is ranked 21st in the nation, and serves over 12 million passengers per year.
The history of aviation in the area includes many historically significant events, including the arrival in 1943 of George H. W. Bush (who would later go on to become the nation's 41st president) to train as a pilot at the Naval Air Station, and the still-unsolved disappearance of Flight 19 (consisting of 5 aircraft and 14 crew members) on December 5, 1945.
The area is also home to one of the most widely-known aircraft in America, the Goodyear Blimp Spirit of Innovation, which is based at the Pompano Beach Airport. A favorite with local general aviation enthusiasts, North Perry Airport boasts a total of over 300 aircraft based at its location, and sees in excess of 400 operations per day.
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