Thursday, April 29, 2010

Abandoned Airports

I like looking for abandoned buildings and homes. It's something that makes you wonder about things. There is an abandoned airport a few miles from my home, or what's left of it anyway. One place I worked when first moving to North Carolina had storage at an old Fair Child Military airplane factory and airport for WWII. Most of it had been developed but part of the runway was still there and had numerous Mobile and Modular homes dealers along it's length. The building we used was one of the hangers and on smoke breaks I'd step outside one of the side doors that use to open to the runway. I sit there looking out at the overgrown space and try to invision the military and civilian workers out there. If I tried real hard I could imagine a pilot walking to the planes. It hit me the first time I peered out the door that I was standing in the very door that so many WWII Veterans must have gone in and out of, plus where I took my smoke breaks had to be a spot that hundreds had stood at some points. (As typing this I went to the bookshelf to pull my book about the Fairchild Military airplane plant and it's not there. Crap! Where is it)

I looked around on the net and found several abandoned airstips in Arizona. Very cool. The Gilpin airport was annexed into Tucson and development has almost erased the airport except that the Original Hangers and the control tower & terminal buildings are still there. It is being used by R.E. Darling Fabrication. The sandstone logo of the Gilpin airlines still adorns the space above the front door.


Doug said...

Yup, we've got lots of old or abandoned airfields out here in AZ. Many were satellite fields for Luke Air Force Base and Williams Air Force Base during WWII, or in-transit fields for aircraft being shuttled across country in those days. Many that can be seen on Google Earth are on restricted property now or are fading back into the desert.

mq01 said...

ahhh, williams afb in AZ. i spent summers there up to my teens. my grandma ran admin/payroll...on base. before that she was at presidio in SF. ahhh, memories of hanging out at base swimming pools over the summer with folks on base :) thank you!

WooleyBugger said...

Hey you two, my boss lived in Arizona at one time and told of an aircraft bone yard of sorts. He said you could walk around the place and check them out. Any ideas about it or pictures. He told me a few days ago but I can't remember where. Near Tucson perhaps.

Doug said...

WB, that would be the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base by Tucson. After WWII it was full of B-17s and Corsairs and such. These days it's full of assorted jet aircraft of the last 40 years or so. It's fenced off now but there are official tours you can take. Some aircraft are kept there to perhaps be used again, others as a source of spare parts, for others, it's the final stop before the smelter.

Check google maps for the AF base and then look at the southeast section and you'll see rows and rows of aircraft.

Across the highway is the Pima Air Museum which snags excellent examples from the boneyard and elsewhere. Great place to visit.