Watch F-16s takeoff at Columbia Metropolitan Airport due to partnership with McEntire Air National Guard Base

The South Carolina Air National Guard has announced a temporary relocation operation of F-16s from McEntire Joint National Guard Base to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The temporary operation, set to begin in April and last for six months, comes as McEntire will soon begin resurfacing its current F-16 runway.

“Thank you to our partner the Columbia Metropolitan Airport for their support and assistance as we move our fighter operations to the airport for the next six months,” said U.S. Air Force Colonel Quaid Quadri, 169th Fighter Wing commander. “We see this temporary arrangement as a win-win for the South Carolina Air National Guard as well as the local community.”


This temporary operation will in no way impact daily commercial flights taking off and landing at CAE. Passengers should travel confidentially knowing that operations at the airport will continue as scheduled without any interruptions.

In the coming weeks, CAE will establish an observation area that community members can use to safely view F-16 takeoffs and landings throughout the day. Parking will be available in the surface parking lot at no charge for the first 30 minutes or in the garage at the normal daily rate. CAE asks individuals visiting the airport to view the F-16s to use great caution. Parking on the side of the road or in unauthorized areas will not be allowed.

Air traffic noise levels may be increased during the temporary operation. Locals who live in and around the airport should be aware of this beginning in April and understand it will last for roughly six months.

“We have taken every measure to safely reduce our noise footprint and any potential disruptions,” said Colonel Quadri. “We appreciate the understanding of the neighbors of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport and the Midlands.”

This partnership is one of many between the SCANG and CAE that has occurred over the years including the use of CAE’s airfield by the Navy and the Air Force for touch-and-gos and other flight training needs.

“During the next six months we want to ensure the community that while noise will inevitably increase by the F-16 aircraft, the teams at the SCANG and CAE will be available to answer any questions and concerns,” said Executive Director of CAE, Mike Gula. “CAE looks forward to supporting our longstanding partners at the South Carolina Air National Guard during this temporary relocation operation.”

For updated information on this temporary relocation and for frequently asked questions, please visit FlyCAE.com.

About South Carolina Air National Guard/McEntire Joint National Guard Base:
The South Carolina Air National Guard comprises nearly 1,500 Airmen who serve their state and nation. The primary unit of the South Carolina Air National Guard is the 169th Fighter Wing. Its mission is to maintain wartime readiness and the ability to mobilize and deploy expeditiously to carry out tactical air missions or combat support activities in the event of a war or military emergency. The South Carolina Air National Guard operates as part of the Total Force of the U.S. military and is fully integrated with the active-duty Air Force. Additionally, members of the South Carolina Air National Guard respond to state and national emergencies as directed by the Governor. The wing flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a single-seat, multi-purpose fighter with the ability to fly up to twice the speed of sound. It is capable of performing air-to-air and air-to-ground tactical missions.

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