Falcon Field (Arizona)

Coordinates: 33°27′39″N 111°43′42″W / 33.46083°N 111.72833°W / 33.46083; -111.72833
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Falcon Field

Falcon Field Army Airfield
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Mesa
ServesMesa, Arizona
Elevation AMSL1,394 ft / 425 m
Coordinates33°27′39″N 111°43′42″W / 33.46083°N 111.72833°W / 33.46083; -111.72833
FFZ is located in Arizona
Location of airport in Arizona / United States
FFZ is located in the United States
FFZ (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4R/22L 5,101 1,555 Asphalt
4L/22R 3,799 1,158 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 60 18 Asphalt
H2 60 18 Asphalt
Aircraft operations (2008)319,419
Based aircraft (2017)646

Falcon Field (IATA: MSC, ICAO: KFFZ, FAA LID: FFZ) is in an airport located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It was originally built 6 miles (5.2 nmi; 9.7 km) northeast of Mesa, which owns it.[1] However, it is now within city limits. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021 categorized it as a reliever airport.[2] Scheduled service to Bullhead City on Western Express Air ended in January 2007.[3]

Most U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, but Falcon Field is FFZ to the FAA[1] and MSC to the IATA.


Falcon Field in 1955

Falcon Field got its start before World War II when Hollywood producer Leland Hayward and pilot John H. "Jack" Connelly founded Southwest Airways with funding from friends including Henry Fonda, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, James Stewart, and Hoagy Carmichael. Southwest Airways operated two other airfields in Arizona -- Thunderbird Field No. 1 (now the site of Arizona Christian University) and Thunderbird Field No. 2 (now the site of Scottsdale Airport) -- to train pilots from China, Russia and 24 other Allied nations. Falcon was to be Thunderbird Field III and would train British pilots.

However, the British said they would like the field to be named after one of their birds, and thus Falcon Field opened as the No. 4 British Flying Training School (BFTS). There were six BFTS airfields in the U.S., in Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, California and Arizona.

The groundbreaking ceremony for Falcon Field was held at 10:30am on July 16, 1941. Mesa, Arizona mayor, George Nicholas Goodman, and Arizona governor, Sidney P. Osbone, dug the first shovels of dirt.[4]

Falcon Field World War II aviation hangars plaque

In September 1941 the first cadets of the Royal Air Force arrived. They trained in Stearman PT-17s and North American Aviation AT-6s. The good weather, wide-open desert terrain, and lack of enemy airpower provided safer and more efficient training than was possible in England. Even so, twenty-three British cadets, one American cadet and four instructors were killed and are now buried in the Mesa City Cemetery, along with several colleagues who have since died of natural causes. Several thousand pilots were trained there until the RAF installation was closed at the end of the war. The City of Mesa purchased the field from the U.S. government for $1.

From 1945 to 1965 the field was leased out to industrial interests, including Talley Defense Systems, Astro Rocket Inc., Rocket Power Inc., the Gabriel Company and others.

Eventually it became a civil airfield, and is now owned and operated by the city of Mesa. Falcon Field is the home of CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, the largest flight school in the world. Student pilots from Japan, Belgium, The Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Turkey, Mexico and Vietnam fly out of Falcon Field. Since 1976 Falcon Field has been the home of Airbase Arizona, one of the largest units in the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) which operates a flying B-17G "Sentimental Journey" and a B-25J "Maid in the Shade" among other aircraft. On May 19, 2016, the Falcon Field World War II Aviation Hangars were listed in the National Register of Historic Places, reference #16000266.

Adjacent Boeing heliport[edit]

The Boeing Company operates a heliport (FAA LID: AZ81) and factory adjacent to Falcon Field, known as the Boeing Mesa Facility.[5] Boeing uses the facility to manufacture and maintain the AH-64 Apache military helicopter.

Other services[edit]

Local companies:

Local groups:

  • Falcon Field Area Alliance[6] (FFAA)
  • Falcon Field Tenants & Users Association[7]
  • Civil Air Patrol - Falcon Composite Squadron 305[8]
  • Mesa Police Department - Air Support Unit[9]

Local museums:

Flight Schools:

In popular culture[edit]

Several scenes of the 1980 aerobatics film Cloud Dancer were filmed at this airport.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for FFZ PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. effective Mar 2, 2017.
  2. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF). [National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems]. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF, 2.03 MB) on 2012-09-27.
  3. ^ "Press Release". Western Air Express. January 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.
  4. ^ http://www.valleyhistoryinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Falcon-Field-Friday.pdf [dead link]
  5. ^ Boeing Mesa Facility
  6. ^ "falconfieldarea.org". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  7. ^ "falconfield.org". Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  8. ^ www.az305.net
  9. ^ "Air Support Unit (Falcon Field) | City of Mesa". www.mesaaz.gov. Archived from the original on 2019-05-04.
  10. ^ arizonawingcaf.com
  11. ^ "Phoenix Arizona Flight School at Falcon Field (FFZ) / ATP Flight School". atpflightschool.com. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  12. ^ "Red Rock Flight School | Professional Arizona Flight School - Take Flight With Us!". Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  13. ^ Christian Santoir. "Cloud Dancer". Aéro Movies. Archived from the original on December 22, 2018. Retrieved May 27, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)


  • Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency
  • Bustrin, Mary Louise. My Second Job. Mesa, AZ: Mary Louise Bustrin, 1990.
  • Dawson, Jim. The RAF in Arizona: Falcon Field, 1941–1945. Newnan, GA: Stenger-Scott Publishing, 2002.
  • Mallett, Daryl F. Falcon Field. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas OCLC 71006954, 29991467
  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites, History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC. OCLC 57007862, 1050653629
  • Simmons, Larry J. The Falcon Field Story. Scottsdale, AZ: Larry J. Simmons, 2002.

External links[edit]