Kingman Airport (Arizona)
Kingman Army Airfield
|USGS aerial image|
|IATA: IGM – ICAO: KIGM – FAA LID: IGM|
|Owner||City of Kingman|
|Location||Mohave County, Arizona|
|Elevation AMSL||3,449 ft / 1,051 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Kingman Airport (IATA: IGM, ICAO: KIGM, FAA LID: IGM) is a city-owned public airport nine miles northeast of Kingman, in Mohave County, Arizona. It has scheduled service on one airline, subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. A number of aircraft are stored or scrapped there.
Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 897 passenger enplanements in calendar year 2010 and 878 in 2009. This airport is included in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation airport (the commercial service category requires at least 2,500 enplanements per year).
The Kingman Airport was built as a World War II United States Army Air Forces training field. Between 1942 and 1945 the U.S. Army Air Forces acquired about 4,145 acres in Mohave County outside of Kingman, Arizona and established the Kingman Army Airfield and Kingman Aerial Gunnery School training facilities in 1942.
Wartime Aircraft Gunnery School
Kingman Army Airfield was established as a training base for Army Air Force aerial gunners. In addition to the main base, the Kingman Ground to Ground Gunnery Range and Kingman Air to Air Gunnery Range was located about six miles north of the present city limits of the City of Kingman. From this point, the former practice gunnery ranges extended northward approximately 31 miles, generally following the Hualapai Valley. To support the training at the main facility, Yucca Army Airfield operated several emergency landing strips.
The Gunnery Ranges were used to train gunners in air-to-air firing. Five target flight lines and two auxiliary landing fields were established within this range. Initially, gunnery trainees fired at targets towed along these target flight lines. This technique did not provide good training and other techniques were tried. One of the first was to place a gun camera on the machine gun and instead of firing bullets the camera would record the gunners sight picture whenever the trigger was pulled. In this situation, instead of aiming at a towed target sleeve, P-39 and P-63 aircraft were used as targets. Another technique tried involved the use of frangible bullets which were fired at specially armored versions of the P-39 and P-63s. This was called Operation PINBALL.
On 7 May 1943 the facility was officially named the Kingman Army Air Field. The base continued to grow and change with many new squadrons being added to the base and some of the existing ones combined. The host unit at Kingman Field was the 460th AAF Base Unit. Training units were as follows:
- 1120th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron
- 1121st Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron
- 1122d Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron
- 1123rd Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron
- 334th Aviation Squadron
The 1120th and the 329th merged with the 328th to become the 328th Flexible Gunnery Training Group. The 1122nd, 537th, and 538th were consolidated to form the 1123rd Flexible Gunnery Training Group. The 1121st became the 329th. The 536th and the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Groups were added to the list. Also assigned to the B17 fighting groups was the 31st Altitude Squadron, training for operations at high altitude.
Kingman Army Air Field was set up to handle two classes of about 200 students at any one time. During 1943, the policy was to have a class fire 1,200 rounds per student for one week on the Kingman Air to Air Gunnery Range (week five of the training cycle) and then move to Yucca AAF and have them fire 1,000 rounds during the second week.
Initially, the ammunition used was .30 caliber. As the .50 caliber machine gun became available, the use of the .30 caliber was phased out. The P-39 and P-63 aircraft, used as targets, were normally equipped with a 37mm cannon. When the aircraft was in use as a target, this cannon was supposed to be removed and a light replaced it which would signal the gunners when hits were scored on the aircraft. During the latter part of the period this range was operational, the policy was that the gun camera missions were flown on this range and the live fire missions were flown on the Yucca Air to Air Range.
On 22 April 1944 the Kingman Army Air Field was consolidated and the host unit was redesignated as the 3018th Army Air Force Base Unit. Each of the units on the base became subdivisions of 3018th. During 1944 the 3018th was one of the top training schools in the United States.
After 1945 there was no need for a gunnery school - or for the airplanes that carried the guns. That year saw the base wind down to a stop. On 15 November 1945 the property was declared surplus, and between 1946 and 1950 the various parcels were returned and leases cancelled.
World War II aircraft disposal
After the war the Reconstruction Finance Corporation established five large storage, sales and scrapping centers for Army Air Forces aircraft. These were located at: Albuquerque AAF, New Mexico, Altus AAF, Oklahoma, Kingman, Arizona, Ontario AAF, California and Walnut Ridge AAF, Arkansas. A sixth facility for storing, selling and scrapping Navy and Marine aircraft was located at Clinton, Oklahoma.
Estimates of the number of excess surplus airplanes ran as high as 150,000. Consideration was given to storing a substantial number of these. By the summer of 1945, at least 30 sales-storage depots and 23 sales centers were in operation. In November 1945, it was estimated a total of 117,210 aircraft would be transferred as surplus.
Between 1945 and June 1947, the RFC, War Assets Corporation and the War Assets Administration (disposal function of the RFC was transferred to WAC on January 15, 1946, and to the WAA in March 1946) processed approximately 61,600 World War II aircraft, of which 34,700 were sold for flyable purposes and 26,900, primarily combat types, were sold for scrapping.
War Assets Administration came to KAAF to set up Sales & Storage Depot 41. Depot 41 was to sell of the base buildings and equipment. Not only that, it would store aircraft from the Army Air Force. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 warbirds were flown to Kingman in 1945 and 1946 for storage and sale. Some sources report the number to be over 11,000. It is reported that at least 100 of the 118 B-32 Dominator heavy bombers built were flown there, many straight from the assembly line.
Most of the transports and trainers could be used in the civil fleet, and trainers were sold for $875 to $2,400. The fighters and bombers were of little peacetime use, although some were sold. Typical prices for surplus aircraft were:
- BT-13 $450
- P-38 $1,250
- AT-6 $1,500
- A-26 $2,000
- P-51 $3,500
- B-25 $8,250
- B-17 $13,750
- B-24 $13,750
- B-32 $32,500
Many aircraft were transferred to schools, and to communities for memorial use for a minimal fee. A Boy Scout troop bought a B-17 for $350.
General sales were conducted from these centers; however, the idea for long term storage, considering the approximate cost of $20 per month per aircraft, was soon discarded, and in June 1946, the remaining aircraft, except those at Altus, were put up for scrap bid.
The tens of thousands of warbirds that had survived the enemy fighter planes and fierce anti-aircraft fire ended up at Albuquerque, Altus, Kingman, Ontario, Walnut Ridge and Clinton.
After the Depot 41 did its job, the airfield was turned over to Mohave County to be used as an airport for the county.
Kingman Airport and Industrial Park
With the disposal of the military aircraft completed, Kingman AAF was returned to civilian use in 1949.
All but a few of the original Kingman Army Airfield buildings have been removed. The property was formerly used as a support facility for aircraft training and has been redeveloped into a civil airport and industrial park. Today, some civilian airliners are stored there and remarketed or recycled into spare parts and into their base metals.
The Kingman Army Airfield Historical Society was also established, creating a museum to preserve the field's history with artifacts, photos, and displays. It also includes recognition of all conflicts in which Americans have served.
Facilities and aircraft
Kingman Airport covers 4,200 acres (1,700 ha) at an elevation of 3,449 feet (1,051 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 3/21 is 6,827 by 150 feet (2,081 x 46 m) and 17/35 is 6,725 by 75 feet (2,050 x 23 m).
In the year ending April 30, 2011 the airport had 44,137 aircraft operations, an average of 120 per day: 95% general aviation, 4% scheduled commercial, 1% air taxi, and <1% military. 185 aircraft were then based at this airport: 51% single-engine, 23% multi-engine, 23% jet, 1% helicopter, 1% glider and 1% ultralight.
Passenger boardings (enplanements) by year, as per the Federal Aviation Administration:
|Year||2005 ||2006 ||2007 ||2008 ||2009 ||2010 |
Airline and destination
The following airline offers scheduled passenger service:
|Great Lakes Airlines||Los Angeles|
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|1||Las Vegas, NV||McCarran International Airport (LAS)||<1,000|
|2||Phoenix, AZ||Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)||<1,000|
|3||Farmington, NM||Four Corners Regional Airport (FMN)||<1,000|
- FAA Airport Master Record for IGM ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective 25 August 2011.
- "Primary, Non-primary Commercial Service, and General Aviation Airports (by State)" (PDF, 189 KB). CY 2010 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. 4 October 2011.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). 2011–2015 National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. 4 October 2010.
- "Primary, Non-primary Commercial Service, and General Aviation Airports with Enplanements (by State) (PDF, 200 KB)". CY 2005 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. Fall 2006.
- "Primary, Non-primary Commercial Service, and General Aviation Airports with Enplanements (by State) (PDF, 187 KB)". CY 2007 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. 26 September 2008.
- "Primary, Non-primary Commercial Service, and General Aviation Airports with Enplanements (by State)" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2008 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. 18 December 2009.
- "Primary, Non-primary Commercial Service, and General Aviation Airports (by State) (PDF, 891 KB)". CY 2009 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. 23 November 2010.
- "Kingman, AZ: Kingman Airport (IGM)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. September 2011.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
- Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Thole, Lou (1999). Forgotten Fields of America : World War II Bases and Training, Then and Now - Vol. 2. Pictorial Histories Publishing Co. Inc ISBN 1-57510-051-7
- Thole, Lou (2003). Forgotten Fields of America, Volume III. Pictorial Histories Publishing Co. Inc ISBN 1-57510-102-5
- Essential Air Service documents (Docket OST-1996-1899) from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- Order 2005-3-16: selecting Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide essential air service at Kingman, Prescott, Page, and Show Low for a new two-year period, at a combined first-year subsidy of $3,840,959, and a combined second-year subsidy of $3,854,958.
- Order 2007-6-10: selecting Mesa Air Group, Inc. d/b/a Air Midwest to provide subsidized essential air service at Kingman and Prescott, Arizona, for two years, beginning when the carrier inaugurates full service. Service will consist of three round trips a day (18 per week) with 19-seat Beech 1900D aircraft over a Kingman - Prescott - Phoenix or Prescott - Kingman - Las Vegas routing, at a total annual subsidy of $1,798,489 for both communities.
- Order 2008-6-11: selecting Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide essential air service at Kingman and Prescott, Arizona, for a two-year period beginning when the carrier inaugurates full service at both communities at a combined annual subsidy of $2,898,490.
- Memorandum (2009): regarding a temporary alternate service pattern at Kingman, Arizona. Great Lakes is currently unable to serve Las Vegas, but it plans to do so in the future. Instead, it plans to inaugurate service to Ontario, California, effective April 7, 2009.
- Order 2011-3-4: re-selecting Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. to provide essential air service at Kingman, Page, Prescott, and Show Low, Arizona for the two-year period from May 1, 2011, to April 30, 2013, for a combined annual subsidy of $5,596,114.
- A Trip Through Kingman Army Airfield
- Kingman Airport Authority
- "An Airport Classic: Kingman Airport Café", SW Aviator Online
- Kingman Airport (IGM) at Arizona DOT airport directory
- Photo of scrapped aircraft at Airliners.net
- AAFCollection.info Kingman Army Air Field base activities booklet and postcards
- Aerial image as of 3 July 1997 from USGS The National Map
- FAA Terminal Procedures for IGM, effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: