Skip To Content
Brigadier General Charles E. McGee General Aviation Terminal Dedicated at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport
June 29, 2021

At a special event on June 29, 2021 the General Aviation Terminal at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC) in Kansas City, Missouri, was renamed the Charles E. McGee General Aviation Terminal. The terminal was renamed in honor of Brigadier General Charles E. McGee, who had a storied career in aviation and has close ties to Kansas City. Brigadier General McGee, 101, was present for the honor. 

On hand to re-dedicate the terminal were Brigadier General McGee, Director of Aviation Pat Klein, Mayor Quinton Lucas, Councilwoman Teresa Loar, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson, USAF Brigadier General Mike Schultz, USAF Lieutenant Colonel Kenyatta Ruffin, and Heart of America Tuskegee Airmen President Morcie Whitley. Also in attendance were some of Charles McGee’s family members, former Mayor Charles B. Wheeler, for whom the airport is named, WWII Supreme Allied Commander General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s grandchildren Mary Eisenhower and Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunch, and other dignitaries. At the end of the ceremony, Mayor Lucas read a City of Kansas City, Mo., proclamation recognizing Brigadier General McGee. 

On site were two WWII-era P-51 fighter aircraft (one in Tuskegee Airmen Red Tails paint scheme) and two USAF T6A trainers flown in by Lt. Col. Kenyatta Ruffin and other service people. 

Brigadier General Charles E. McGee earned his Tuskegee Airman pilot’s wings June 30th, 1943. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African-American military pilots and airmen who fought in World War II. Throughout his flying career McGee successfully completed 409 air combat missions across three wars; World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He served 30 years of active duty beginning with the Army Air Force. Of 355 Tuskegee pilots who flew in combat, Colonel McGee is only one of nine remaining. McGee’s Kansas City ties are strong. He was stationed at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in the 1950s and he later was the first black commander of the Richard-Gebaur Air Reserve Base in 1972. He retired in 1973 and he and his wife Frances decided at that time that they wanted Kansas City, Missouri, to be their home. McGee and was manager of then-named Kansas City Downtown Airport from 1980 to 1982 and later served on the Kansas City Aviation Department’s Aviation Advisory Council. Brigadier General McGee and his wife Frances (deceased) have three children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. 

General aviation is very important to business in U.S. and Kansas City, and Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport is a major force and economic generator for the region. The General Aviation 

Complex is a key factor in providing fueling, hangar storage and a place for air crews and passengers to meet and prepare for flights. 

The General Aviation Complex was completed in 2010 as part of a five-year, $70 million refurbishment program at Downtown Airport. In addition to runway safety projects, the $21-million complex included 96 new hangars, aircraft parking aprons, an “avgas” self-fueling station and an aircraft wash structure. The Charles E. McGee General Aviation Terminal provides amenities for pilot flight planning, showers, office, and lounging. 

Downtown Airport was dedicated as “Kansas City Municipal Airport” by Charles Lindbergh on August 17, 1927. The airport flourished during the early days of commercial flight serving many airlines and as the headquarters for Trans World Airlines. By the 1960s, the Municipal Airport could no longer handle the larger commercial planes and increased jet and passenger traffic. Plans for a new airport, which became Kansas City International Airport (KCI), were developed and KCI opened in 1972. MKC became a thriving general and business aviation facility. MKC’s name was changed to Kansas City Downtown Airport in October 1977 and rededicated as Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport on the airport’s 75th anniversary in August 2002. 

MKC offers aviators a 24-hour control tower, Category I Instrument Landing System, 24-hour fixed base operator (FBO), full aircraft maintenance, hangar facilities, air cargo facilities, aircraft sales, leasing and charters, flight training and car rentals. For more information, visit 

The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general fund tax revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system.