Yuma International Airport

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Yuma International Airport
Yuma International Airport (emblem).png


YUM is located in Arizona
Location of the Airport in Arizona
Airport type Public/Military
Operator Yuma County and USMC
Location Yuma, Arizona
Elevation AMSL 216 ft / 66 m
Coordinates 32°39′24″N 114°36′22″W / 32.65667°N 114.60611°W / 32.65667; -114.60611
Website YumaAirport.com
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3L/21R 13,300 4,054 Concrete
3R/21L 9,241 2,817 Asphalt/Concrete
8/26 6,146 1,873 Asphalt/Concrete
17/35 5,711 1,741 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2006)
Aircraft operations 136,954
Based aircraft 221

Yuma International Airport (IATA: YUMICAO: KNYLFAA LID: NYL), a shared-use airport together with Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, is located three nautical miles (6 km) south of the central business district of Yuma, a city in Yuma County, Arizona, United States.[1] It is mostly used for military aviation, but is also served by two commercial airlines and one Medevac company.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Yuma International Airport covers an area of 3,100 acres (1,300 ha) at an elevation of 216 feet (66 m) above mean sea level. It has four runways which range in size from 5,711 by 150 feet (1,741 by 46 m) up to 13,300 by 200 feet (4,054 by 61 m).[1]

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2006, the airport had 136,954 aircraft operations, an average of 375 per day: 57% military, 38% general aviation and 5% air taxi. At that time there were 221 aircraft based at this airport: 55% single-engine, 20% multi-engine, <1% jet, 5% helicopter and 19% military.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
US Airways Express Phoenix

Sierra Pacific Airlines provides Boeing 737 charter jet services to Yuma.[2]


Yuma's history of flight dates to 1911 when Robert Fowler took off from Yuma to set a world's record for endurance and distance. He entered a Transcontinental Air competition sponsored by William Randolph Hearst. Originating in Los Angeles, he arrived in Yuma on October 25. Over 2,000 spectators watched the aircraft circle and make a landing. The next day he succeeded in setting a world's record.

In 1925, the Yuma Chamber of Commerce went to work to secure an airport for Yuma. After two years of negotiations, 40 acres (16 ha) of land was secured from the federal government. The land was cleared, leveled, and the first hangar constructed. The 40 acres (16 ha) of land was officially designated as an active airport and named Fly Field after Colonel Ben Franklin Fly. In the beginning, Fly Field had limitations, including loose sand and a lack of facilities. In 1925, the Chamber's Aviation Committee decided another 160 acres (65 ha) was needed to create a first-class landing field in Yuma. Intense negotiations resulted in a public/private land trade, along with a promise by the government to provide Fly Field a steel frame hangar capable of housing 12 airplanes. Congressman Douglas of Arizona introduced a bill asking for the lease of 640 acres (260 ha) of government land to Yuma County for 20 years at a cost of $1 per year, with the privilege of renewal for another 20 years at the same rate. President Calvin Coolidge signed the Yuma Aviation Bill on February 27, 1928. Almost immediately, the aviation committee started lining up activities for the airport. Yuma was selected to be a night stop for three transcontinental air races from New York to Los Angeles, and an international air race from Mexico to Los Angeles. The Chamber agreed to provide free gas and oil to the racers, at an estimated cost of $2,000. Yuma was also selected to be a stop-over for the first All American Tour of 25 Airplanes. In June of that year, the military announced that a United States Meteorological and Aerological station would be constructed at Fly Field at a cost of $30,000 and would be manned by four Army personnel, marking the first military presence at Yuma's airport.

In 1929, Yuma was selected as the first stop for the Women's Transcontinental Air Race. Amelia Earhart experienced landing problems and nosed her aircraft in the soft sand, destroying her propeller. A new propeller and mechanics were flown in from Los Angeles to make repairs so she could continue in the race. Fly Field experienced a downturn during the depression; but in the late 1930s it became clear that the United States faced a threat of conflict with the German Reich. The War Department needed facilities to train combat pilots and crews. Planning for the Yuma area, including a potential bombing range located between Yuma and Gila Bend, started in 1939 when a group of aeronautical experts toured the area. The Yuma County Board of Supervisors recommended Fly Field as a base for the Army Air Corps. Initially, Yuma County assumed the burden of airfield maintenance and limited the use exclusively to Army and Navy aircraft.

Money for the Fly Field expansion arrived early in 1941. Three separate government agencies pooled a total of $781,000 to initiate construction. By mid-year another $635,000 became available for re-paving the north-south runway. Between 1941 and 1942 two paved runways, each measuring 4,200 by 150 feet (1,280 by 46 m), were completed under the command of the 403rd Army Air Force Base Unit, Army Air Forces West Coast Training Center. In June 1942, the War Department authorized an additional three million dollars. The first class of cadets arrived in January 1943 when the field was used for advanced pilot and gunnery training.

In September 1946, Yuma Army Air Field was scaled back and declared a surplus. The civilian portion of the field was returned to County, who again referred to it as Fly Field. The Chamber of Commerce promoted the City of Yuma airplane's famous endurance flights, which highlighted the region's weather which was very conducive to flying. This was a topic of particular importance to the military. The Airport became very active as a military facility during the Korean War, and was used extensively by the U.S. Air Force. In early 1951 the County Supervisors received a Department of Defense proposal to lease the airfield as a civilian-operated military training base with specific military and civilian sides. The Yuma County Board of Supervisors gave the U.S. Air Force a right of entry and in 1956 the field was named Vincent Air Force Base.

At the same time, the United States of America issued a U.S. Government Patent from the Department of the Interior which conveyed specific airport land to Yuma County. The conveyed land was the general footprint within today's current Airport boundary. The patent also preserves the ability of Yuma County to collect and retain landing fees to provide for Airport operating expenses. In addition to the conveyance of land, the patent granted rights to unrestricted civil aviation use of the airfield's facilities, including all runways and taxiways, or as it is worded in the patent:

"There is also granted an easement for public airport purposes in and to the land area and facilities of the Yuma County Airport, granting to the County of Yuma, State of Arizona, its successors in functions or interest and assigns, the right to use for the landing, takeoff, and parking of civil aircraft, in common with aircraft; owned and controlled by the Government, the runways now located on the airport, those taxiways connecting the runways with the lands granted above, such runways as may be located on the airport as now constituted or as 'altered or expanded, and such future taxiways as are necessary for ingress and egress to the future runways…"

In 1959, control of the base was given to the United States Navy and then, nine days later, to the Marine Corps. The base was renamed Marine Corps Air Station Yuma on July 20, 1962. In 1965, the Yuma County Board of Supervisors created the Yuma County Airport Authority in accordance with the provisions of section 10-451, of the Arizona Revised Statutes, to take over the airport and all associated activity. A board of directors was elected from the community to oversee the Airport Authority and all airport functions. In 2007, the board of directors passed a resolution declaring that Yuma International Airport was an "Aviation Partner" with MCAS Yuma. That partnership continues today, allows for unrestricted civil aviation use of the airfield facilities, including all runways and taxiways and promotes the security of the United States.[3]

The airport's FAA location identifier was YUM (ICAO: KYUM) until June 2008, when it was changed to use MCAS Yuma's identifier of NYL (ICAO: KNYL). The IATA airport code, used for passenger travel, remains YUM.

On April 1, 2011, Southwest Airlines Flight 812 with 118 passengers en route from Phoenix to Sacramento diverted to the airport after a rapid decompression which was the result of a large tear in the plane's fuselage 40 minutes into the flight. The Boeing 737-300 series aircraft made an emergency landing at the airport (one flight attendant suffered minor injuries during the rapid descent), and a replacement aircraft was sent to the airport to board the passengers and complete the flight to Sacramento.[4]



Over a span of many years the relationship between the Airport and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma deteriorated to an exceptional degree. In October 2006, the Yuma County Airport Authority (YCAA) brought in a new management team to solve the problem. [5] On January 9, 2007 the new Airport Director presented a resolution to the YCAA board of directors which acknowledged that MCAS Yuma and YCAA share the use of the airfield, that MCAS was important to the Nation's security and that both MCAS and YCAA provide important economic benefits to the region through their respective aviation efforts.

Most importantly, the resolution stated the YCAA identified itself as an "Aviation Partner" with MCAS and that the civilian Airport staff would work in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill with MCAS.

The Board unanimously approved the resolution. That first step initiated a transition between the two agencies. The term "Aviation Partner" became a focus of the airport in repairing the relationship. The result is what today is considered by many to be the best example of a Joint Use airfield in the nation.[6]


TriState CareFlight, (normally referred to as CareFlight) provides Air Ambulance services to Yuma and the surrounding region. CareFlight is based in Bullhead, Arizona, and maintains eleven bases in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. In Yuma, CareFlight operates both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.[7]

CareFlight is accredited by the Commission of Medical Transport Services (CAMTS) as a critical care transport service.[8]


External links[edit]