Gillespie Field

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Gillespie Field
SEE - FAA airport diagram.gif
FAA airport diagram
Airport type Public
Owner County of San Diego
Serves San Diego, California
Location El Cajon, California
Elevation AMSL 388 ft / 118 m
Coordinates 32°49′34″N 116°58′21″W / 32.82611°N 116.97250°W / 32.82611; -116.97250Coordinates: 32°49′34″N 116°58′21″W / 32.82611°N 116.97250°W / 32.82611; -116.97250
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9L/27R 5,342 1,628 Asphalt
9R/27L 2,738 835 Asphalt
17/35 4,145 1,263 Asphalt
Statistics (2005)
Aircraft operations 209,345
Based aircraft 964

Gillespie Field (IATA: SEEICAO: KSEEFAA LID: SEE) is a county-owned public airport 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown San Diego, in El Cajon, San Diego County, California.[1]


Section reference dates.[2]

In 1942 the United States Marine Corps chose a 688-acre (2.78 km2) site east of San Diego for parachute training for the newly forming Parachute battalions. In September 1942 Camp Gillespie was completed and named in honor of Lieutenant Archibald H. Gillespie, a Marine officer who played a prominent role in the effort to separate California from Mexico in the 1840s.[3] Three 256 foot high towers were built from which the paratroopers practiced their jumps.[4]

In February 1944, the camp was commissioned as Marine Corps Auxiliary Airfield Gillespie under the command of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. MCAAF Gillespie soon became responsible for Camp Pendleton Outlying Air Field. Among the units that transited and trained at MCCAF Gillespie were VMSB-141, Air Warning Squadron 10 and the Navy's VT-37.[5]

In 1946 the airfield was turned over to San Diego County and became a general aviation facility.[5] In 1952 the County was granted ownership of the facility by the federal government. In 1971 the County Sheriff stationed ASTREA, a helicopter law enforcement base at the airport, and in 1993 the San Diego Aerospace Museum located its restoration operations and an exhibit at the field.

Facilities and operations[edit]

Gillespie Field covers 758 acres (307 ha) and has three asphalt runways:[1]

  • Runway 9L/27R: 5,342 x 100 ft (1,628 x 30 m)
  • Runway 9R/27L: 2,738 x 60 ft (835 x 18 m)
  • Runway 17/35: 4,145 x 100 ft (1,263 x 30 m)

In 2012 the airport had 184,512 aircraft operations, average 548 per day: 99.9% general aviation, <1% air taxi and <1% military. 699 aircraft are based at the airport: 88% single-engine, 5% multi-engine, 4% helicopter, 2% jet and <1% glider.[1]

San Diego Air & Space Museum Gillespie Field Annex[edit]

Atlas 2E ballistic missile on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum

Gillespie is the home of the restoration facility Gillespie Field Annex[6] for the San Diego Air and Space Museum (formerly San Diego Aerospace Museum).[7] It is open to the public and has on display many vintage and modern aircraft;[8] and has an Atlas ICBM rocket as its gate guard, replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, and a recently restored F-102A Delta Dagger with drop tanks. 32°49′42″N 116°57′58″W / 32.828421°N 116.966146°W / 32.828421; -116.966146

The FAA says in 2010 Gillespie Field was the 44th busiest airport in the United States.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for SEE (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-10-25
  2. ^ Gillespie Field (San Diego County web page)
  3. ^ Shettle(200):97
  4. ^ "San Diego Metropolitan Area during World War II". California State Military Museum. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Shettle(200):98
  6. ^ SDASM Gillispie Field Annex Restoration Facility
  7. ^ "". 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  8. ^ Gillespie Field Annex Layout and Aircraft[dead link]
  9. ^
  • Shettle Jr., M. L. (2001). United States Marine Corps Air Stations of World War II. Bowersville, Georgia: Schaertel Publishing Co. ISBN 0-9643388-2-3. 

External links[edit]