Gila River Memorial Airport
Gila River Memorial Airport
Abandoned Douglas DC-4 airliners, converted to sprayers, at Gila River Memorial Airport
|Owner||Gila River Airport Authority|
|Location||Gila River Indian Reservation, Arizona|
|Elevation AMSL||1,185 ft / 361.2 m|
Gila River Memorial Airport (FAA LID: 34AZ) is a private-use airport owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community, located 4 miles (3.5 nmi; 6.4 km) southwest of the central business district of Chandler, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It was used for cropdusting and air charter operations, with no scheduled commercial services. The airport is no longer used and is in a state of total abandonment.
Gila River Memorial Airport was built in 1942 as Williams Auxiliary Army Airfield #5, one of several satellite airfields for Williams Army Airfield. After the war, it was renamed Goodyear Air Force Auxiliary Airfield, with its original triangular configuration modified to accommodate early jet aircraft of the 1950s. During the 1960s, it passed on to civilian control as Goodyear Airport, then as Memorial Airfield. No hangar space existed at the airport until the late 1970s, when the airport began playing host to older piston-engined transport aircraft, many of which had been converted for use as air tankers. The majority of the converted aircraft were operated by Biegert Aviation. By the 1990s, it had become an aircraft boneyard.
By 2007, the Gila River Indian Community had assumed control of the airfield, renaming it Gila River Memorial Airport, and all commercial tenants were evicted from the property in the hopes of turning the airfield into a casino. In 2008, numerous aircraft were still present, including C-54s, DC-4s, DC-7s, PV-2s, and a Howard 500. Many of them have since been removed, with some of the old airport outbuildings dismantled, with further plans to expand and develop the airport still in progress.
Facilities and aircraft
- 03/21 is 5,200 ft × 200 ft (1,585 m × 61 m)
- 12/30 is 8,560 ft × 75 ft (2,609 m × 23 m).
The last recorded aircraft operations were for the 12-month period ending November 16th, 1983. These statistics show that the airport had about 25,550 aircraft operations, an average of 70 per day. These statistics show that the traffic was made up of 98% general aviation aircraft and 2% military aircraft.
61 aircraft were based at this airport: 31 single-engine and 30 multi-engine. Most of the aircraft have been sold for scrap and the remaining seven are totally dismantled.
The following images are of the current state in which the airport and aircraft are in.
- "Chandler-Gila River Memorial Airport,AZ". Ruud Leeuw.
- "TCRP heads west to LA and SF to conduct public outreach". Gila River Indian Community.
- "Memorial Airfield development appears stalled". Azcentral.
- "Gila River Memorial Airport (34AZ) Information". Airport-Data.