Gila River Memorial Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gila River Memorial Airport
Gila river planes.jpg
Abandoned Douglas DC-4 airliners, converted to sprayers, at Gila River Memorial Airport
Summary
Airport type Private
Owner Gila River Airport Authority
Location Gila River Indian Reservation, Arizona
Elevation AMSL 1,185 ft / 361.2 m
Coordinates 33°14′36.18″N 111°54′57.11″W / 33.2433833°N 111.9158639°W / 33.2433833; -111.9158639
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 8,560 x 75 2,609 x 23 asphalt, bad condition
3/21 5,200 x 200 1,585 x 61 asphalt, poor condition and in state of abandonment

Gila River Memorial Airport (FAA LID: 34AZ) is a private-use airport owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community, located 4 miles 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.

History[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2][3]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Facilities[edit]

Gila River Memorial Airport covers 1,345 acres (544 ha) and has two asphalt runways: 03/21 is 5,200 x 200 ft (1,585 x 61 m) and 12/30 is 8,560 x 75 ft (2,609 x 22.9 m).[4]

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.[5]

Aircraft[edit]

61 aircraft were based at this airport: 31 single-engine and 30 multi-engine.[5] Most of the aircraft have been sold for scrap and the remaining seven are totally dismantled.

Images[edit]

The following images are of the current state in which the airport and aircraft are in.

Gila River Memorial Airport
Abandoned terminal
Airport building 
Abandoned 1942 DC-4, known in WW II as a C-54 Skymaster. 
Four abandoned 1942 DC-4's (C-54 Skymaster's) 
Abandoned 1942 DC-4 (C-54 Skymaster) 
Abandoned 1942 DC-4 (C-54 Skymaster) 
Abandoned 1945 Lockheed PV-2D Harpoon. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]