Gillespie Field

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Gillespie Field
SEE - FAA airport diagram.gif
FAA airport diagram
Airport typePublic
OwnerCounty of San Diego
ServesSan Diego, California
LocationEl Cajon, California
Elevation AMSL388 ft / 118 m
Coordinates32°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
SEE is located in California
SEE is located in the United States
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 (2016)
Aircraft operations226887
Based aircraft547

Gillespie Field (IATA: SEE, ICAO: KSEE, FAA LID: SEE) is a county-owned public towered airport 11.5 miles (10.0 nmi; 18.5 km) northeast of downtown San Diego, in El Cajon, San Diego County, California, United States.[1]


Section reference dates.[2]

In 1942 the United States Marine Corps chose a site with 688 acres (278 ha) 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 TBM-3 Avenger torpedo squadron VT-37.[5][4][6]

Grumman TBF Avenger on the tarmac at the 2012 Wings Over Gillespie airshow

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 1955, the County granted a 50-year lease for 180 acres (73 ha) of land adjacent, to the south, of the airport, which became the Cajon Speedway by 1961.[7] The last race was run in 2004, and the County started expansion of the airport onto 70 acres (28 ha) of this land in 2005.[7][8]

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

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2016 the airport had 226,887 aircraft operations, average 622 per day: 99.8% general aviation, <1% air taxi and <1% military. At that time there were 547 aircraft are based at the airport: 86% single-engine, 7% multi-engine, 3% helicopter, 3% 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[9] for the San Diego Air and Space Museum (formerly San Diego Aerospace Museum).[10] It is open to the public and has on display many vintage and modern aircraft.[11] It has an Atlas ICBM rocket as its gate guard, a recently restored F-102A Delta Dagger with drop tanks and AIM-4A Falcon missiles, and a Grumman F-14A Tomcat used in the Top Gun movie sequel. 32°49′42″N 116°57′58″W / 32.828421°N 116.966146°W / 32.828421; -116.966146

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Form 5010 for SEE PDF, effective 2016-12-31
  2. ^ Gillespie Field (San Diego County web page)
  3. ^ Shettle(200):97
  4. ^ a b "San Diego Metropolitan Area during World War II". California State Military Museum. Retrieved 15 July 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Shettle(200):98
  6. ^ "Aircraft History Card N5260V General Motors - Eastern Aircraft Division TBM-3E Avenger U.S. Navy Bu. No. 91726" (PDF). Mid America Flight Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Gehlkin, Michael (July 6, 2013). "Sports site No. 8: Cajon Speedway". The San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2 July 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Staff writers (August 22, 2005). "Cajon Speedway Will Become Hangars for Gillespie Field". Motocross Action Magazine. Hi-Torque Publications Inc. Retrieved 2 July 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ SDASM Gillispie Field Annex Archived 2011-09-03 at the Wayback Machine Restoration Facility
  10. ^ "". July 15, 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Dawid Hampel Photography - Gillespie Field Annex - Aircraft photographs". Retrieved 15 May 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • 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]