It is always interesting to know about the airfields that are in your state and what roll they may have had in the past. Having recently moved from Florida to Nevada I was curious to see how many airports there were that had a previous military or civilian history or are now inactive. I was quite surprised that there were quite a few; I placed the approximate location of military (as well as civilian airfields) on a map of Nevada. Some of the fields are abandoned now (red dots) and some still exist (green dots). (*note: The Boulder City airport is the old municipal airport located just north of the current airport.) There may be other airports not shown but these are the ones that I discovered in my research.
|Blanch Field||39°30’0″ N||119°48’36″ W||N||Airmail|
|Sky Harbor||38°58’11.9″ N||119°56’23.9″ W||N||Civilian|
|Humbolt Field||40°5’24″ N||118°9’0″ W||N||Civilian|
|Sutcliffe Naval||39°56’23.9″ N||119°35’59.9″ W||N||Military|
|Basecamp||38°19’12″ N||116°16’48″ W||?||Military/ Secret|
|Tonopah (Orig)||38°5’24″ N||117°16’48″ W||N||Military|
|Tonopah (Aux 1)||37°49’12″ N||116°3’36″ W||N||Military|
|Tonopah (Aux 2)||37°43’11.9 N||116°9’35.9″ W||N||Military|
|Tonopah (Aux 3)||37°37’48″ N||116°39’35.9″ W||N||Military|
|Tonopah (Aux 4)||37°45’35.9″ N||116°39’0″ W||N||Military|
|Tonopah (Aux 5)||37°40’47.9″ N||116°37’47.9″ W||N||Military|
|Buffalo Valley||40°21’0″ N||117°20’59.9″ W||N||Civilian|
|Alamo Field||37°21’35.9″ N||115°11’23.9″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Pioche Municipal||38°0’0″ N||114°30’36″ W||N||Civilian|
|Caliente FS||37°36’0″ N||114°51’35.9″ W||N||Military|
|Delmar Lake||37°19’12″ N||114°56’23.9″ W||N||Military/ Research|
|Sky Corral||36°8’24″ N||115°10’48″ W||N||Civilian|
|Barton Field||36°0’35.9″ N||115° 15′ 0″ W||N||Civilian|
|Voc-Tech||36°4’47.9″ N||115°4’11.9″ W||N||Civilian|
|Boulder City (Orig)||35°58’11.9″ N||114°50’59.9″ W||N||Civilian/ Military|
|Lathrop Wells||36°38’24″ N||116°24’35.9″ W||N||Civilian|
|Chicken Ranch||36°4’12″ N||115°57’0″ W||N||Private|
|Scotty||37°9’35.9″ N||117°9’35.9″ W||N||Military|
|Scotty Intermediate||37°12’0″ N||117°10’48″ W||N||Military|
|Battle Mountain||40°36’0″ N||116°52’15″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Ely/ Yelland||39°17’58.9″ N||114°50’30.8″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Austin||39°28’06.99″ N||117°11’51.46″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Lovelock/ Derby||40°04’02.2″ N||118°33’51.33″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Winnemucca||40°54’0.97″ N||117°48’09.14″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Hawthorne||38°33’10″ N||118°37’45″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Las Vegas/ Nellis||36°14’12.73″ N||115°02’13.52″ W||Y||Military|
|Indian Springs/Creech||36°35’17.3″ N||115°40’27.26″ W||Y||Military|
|Indian Springs/ Groom||37°16’33″ N||115°45’23″ W||?||Area 51|
|Indian Springs Aux2||37°30’30″ N||116°13’30″ W||N||Military|
|Indian Springs Aux3||37°30’30″ N||116°29’0″ W||N||Military|
|Indian Springs Aux4||37°6’09.81″ N||116°18’48.174″ W||Y||Military/ Private|
|Indian Springs Aux5||37°01’30″ N||116°04’00″ W||N||Military|
|Owyhee FS||41°57’11.639″ N||116°11’15.365″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Reno/ Stead||39°40’15.16″ N||119°52’37.77″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Minden/ Douglas||39°49’45″ N||119°46’0″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
|Churcill/ Silver Springs||39°24’11″ N||119°15’04″ W||Y||Military/ Civilian|
I live near a few of the abandoned airports so I decided to go see what they look like today and here are some pictures of them.
On November 24, 1971 a man using the alias Dan Cooper purchased an airline ticket at Portland, Oregon and later while enroute to Seattle, Washington (NWA Flight 305) proceeded to hijack the Boeing 727-100 that he was traveling on.
D. B. Cooper, as the man is better known, claimed to have a bomb and demanded $200,000 in unmarked $20 bills, four parachutes (two primary and two reserve), and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the aircraft upon arrival.
After circling the Puget Sound for approximately two hours to allow Seattle police and the FBI time to assemble everything that Cooper demanded, Flight 305 landed at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport at 5:39 pm.
During refueling Cooper outlined his flight plan to the cockpit crew; he instructed them to fly at an airspeed of approximately 100 kts, no higher than 10,000 feet, landing gear down, unpressurized, and with flaps extended to 15°. (Under these conditions they also decided to land and refuel at Reno, Nevada.)
Finally after the refueling was complete and the money and parachutes had been delivered, Cooper released his hostages and at approximately 7:40 pm the 727 took off headed towards Reno, NV. Within 20 minutes the flight crew noticed that the airstair had been extended and by 8:13 pm Cooper had jumped out of the aircraft (some believe in the Washougal River Valley in the state of Washington).
15 hijackings similar to D.B. Cooper’s were attempted later in 1972 (at least 4 successful parachute landings recorded) but all hijackers were captured. It was evident that something had to be done to prevent future hijackings of aircraft equipped with airstair doors so in early 1972 the FAA mandated that all Boeing 727 aircraft be fitted with a device, later dubbed the “Cooper vane”, which prevented lowering of the aft airstair during flight. (Beginning in 1973 the FAA also required airlines to search all passengers and their bags.)
|On the ground||In Flight|
The Cooper vane is a very simple paddle type device which is spring loaded in such a way that while on the ground it allows the aft airstair door to be opened. When the aircraft is in the air the airflow over the paddle causes it to rotate 90° so that the plate that the paddle is attached to blocks the airstair door from opening. Once the airflow decreases on landing, the spring-loaded paddle returns to its initial position, thereby allowing the stairs to be lowered again.
Despite an extensive manhunt and an ongoing FBI investigation, D.B. Cooper has never been located or positively identified. The case remains the only unsolved air piracy in American aviation history.
Firehouses across America will ring bells and lower flags to half staff in order to pay tribute to those heroes that have fallen on September 11, 2001. It will be 5 slow rings, pause, 5 slow rings, pause, 5 slow rings, pause, 5 slow rings, and then the lowering of the flag.
Can you imagine going from nothing and a set of plans to a flyable 1/3 scale B-17 like this? (And no, it isn’t an R/C aircraft.)
Well, Jack Bally and his friends from Dixon, Illinois could and after 10 years of construction the scaled down B-17G is just about ready to fly.
It is an all aluminum aircraft powered by four Hirth 3002 two cycle engines developing 80-90 horsepower each. (That should be just enough to achieve about 110 Kts. in level flight.)
Here are some specifications: Wingspan is 25 feet. Length is 34 feet 7 inches. Height is 6 feet 10 inches. Weight is approximately 1800 pounds.
|B-17 Front View -This photo gives you an idea of just how big the airplane is.|
|B-17 -As viewed from the side.|
|B-17 -Aft view.|
If you want to see a cool website and view many more photos of the Bally Bomber just click on the link:
The Bally Bomber Project
|Douglas TBD Devastator -Operational 1937-1942|
|Vought SB2U Vindicator -Operational 1937-1942|
|Douglas SBD Dauntless -Operational 1940-1944 Nickname: “Slow But Deadly”|
|Curtiss SB2C Helldiver -Operational 1942-1947 Nicknames: “Big-Tailed Beast, Derogatory Beast, Two-Cee, and Son-of-a-Bitch 2nd Class.”|
|Brewster SB2A Buccaneer -Operational 1941-1942. Used mostly by the United Kingdom known as the “Bermuda”.|
|Grumman TBF Avenger -Operational 1942-1960|
Anyone that has seen the James Bond movie “Octopussy” has seen the BD-5J microjet in action but what is this tiny jet and who designed it?
The BD-5J microjet oddly enough began life as a propeller driven aircraft and was designed by Jim Bede. Bede is often credited with the creation of the modern kitplane market and has designed well over a dozen aircraft since the 1960s. The BD-1 (which later became the AA-1 Yankee) and the BD-4 high-wing aircraft (600 kits sold) are just two of his innovative designs.
Construction of the prototype was started in late 1970 and the Micro BD-5 was considered a radical design. It was an extremely small one-seat design that had the pilot sitting in a semi-reclined position under a large fighter-like plexiglas canopy. The engine compartment was located just behind the pilot and used a two-cylinder air-cooled 40 hp engine driving a pusher propeller.
For improved performance the aircraft featured both a V-tail and retractable landing gear in order to reduce drag. Spoilers were added to the wing in order to improve deceleration for landing. (This was apparently the first application of spoilers on a light aircraft.)
In addition to being easy to fly, the BD-5 was also intended to be easy to build and own. The fuselage was constructed primarily from fiberglass panels over an aluminum frame, reducing construction time to only a few hundred hours requiring no special tooling or skills.
On February 24, 1971, the first $200 deposit to reserve a “place in line” to receive a kit was accepted, with the target shipping date being May 24, 1972. By August 1971, 800 deposits had been taken, even though the first BD-5 prototype had yet to complete high-speed taxi tests. By the end of the year, they had over 4,300 orders, making it one of the most popular general aircraft projects in modern history.
Flight testing of the prototype, N500BD, began on September 12, 1971, and it soon became evident that the stability of the aircraft with the original V-tail was marginal at best, and clearly needed a redesign. The decision was made to switch to an all-metal fuselage as well.
Final designs were complete by mid 1973, the split flaps and spoilers had disappeared, the canopy and cockpit dimensions had changed, and the aircraft had new landing gear systems and a completely new tail section.
Bede decided to create an unconventional variant of the BD-5 with a small jet engine. The result was the sleek BD-5J which used the Sermel TRS-18-046 turbojet (now Microturbo, a division of Turbomeca). The original engines were produced under license by Ames Industrial in the USA. The wing was modified to an “intermediate” size with a span of 17 feet. The BD-5J has also held the Guinness record for the World’s Smallest Jet for more than 25 years.
• Crew and Passengers: 1
• Length: 12 ft to 13.5 ft w/stretch kits (3.88 m to 4.11 m)
• Wingspan: 14 ft to 21 ft 6 in (4.26 m to 6.55 m)
• Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.6 m)
• Empty weight: 415 lbs.
• Gross weight: 859 lb
• Max takeoff weight: 1,100 lb (530 kg)
• Powerplant: 1 Microturbo Couguar or TRS-18; kit form by BD-Micro Technologies powered by a Quantum Turbine TJ100 engine.
• Fuel capacity: 32- 46 gallons
• Maximum speed: 217 kts
In 1939 the Cessna Airplane Company produced a light twin engined airplane designated the T-50 “Bobcat” (sometimes known as the “Bamboo Bomber”) because of the wood wing structure. I remember it as the airplane that “Sky King” flew on TV; it was one of my favorite shows as a kid!
It was the lightweight, low cost, wood and tube framed, fabric covered, personal use multi-engined aircraft alternative to the heavier and more expensive Beech 18. It featured a cantilevered low-wing with electrically actuated retractable main landing gear and trailing-edge wing flaps, and (yes) laminated spruce spar beams with spruce and plywood ribbed wing structures. The fixed tailwheel is non-steerable but full-swivelling. The prototype T-50 made its maiden flight on March 26, 1939.
Shortly after its initial production World War II began and the airplane was pressed into duty as a light trainer and transport for the military.
Military variants were designated as follows:
United States Army Air Corps: AT-8; Military trainer version of the T-50 with two 295 hp (220-kW) Lycoming R-680-9 radial piston engines.
United States Army Air Corps: AT-17 AT-17A-G; AT-8 powered by 245 hp (183 kW) Jacobs R-775-9 (L-4) engines, gross wt. 5300 lbs (2,400 kg).
United States Army Air Forces: C-78 and UC-78; Military transport version for the United States Army variable-pitch propellers.
United States Navy : JRC-1; Navy light transport version of the UC-78 with two Jacobs R-775-9 engines.
Royal Canadian Air Force: Crane and Crane 1A; Royal Canadian Air Force designation for T-50s with minor equipment changes, delivered as light transports.
Although the Bobcats had many nicknames during the course of their service, (Bobcat, Bamboo Bomber, Useless 78, The Wichita Wobbler, Brasshat, Double Breasted Cub, Boxkite, Rhapsody in Glue, San Jaoquin Beaufighter), by the end of World War II Cessna had produced more than 4,600 Bobcats for the U.S. military and 822 Bobcats for the Royal Canadian Air Force as Crane 1′s; they certainly played an important role for the military.
After the war, surplus AT-17′s and UC-78′s could be converted by CAA-approved kits to their original T-50 civilian Type Certificate and saw further use by small airlines, charter and “bush” operators, and private pilots. Slowly the number of airworthy aircraft have dwindled to a point that only a handful are in operation today. There are only 378 T-50′s, 10 AT-17′s and 30 UC-78′s listed in the FAA registration database but as to how many are still airworthy is unknown.
|Cessna “Bamboo Bomber” Cessna T-50 Characteristics
• Crew and Passengers: 5; (2 pilots, 3 passengers)
• Maximum speed: 169 kts; 314 km/h (195 mph)
To all of the gamers out there…. a group of designers are working on a WWI/ WWII mobile game for apple and android phones. They are in the development stage right now so anyone interested in helping them out visit their website and check it out: Kickstart Dogfight Elite
In October 1933 the U.S. Navy contracted Consolidated, Martin, and Douglas to build competing prototypes for a patrol flying boat. Consolidated Aircraft’s design designated XP3Y-1 won the competition. It was powered by two 825 hp (615 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-54 Twin Wasp engines mounted on the leading edge of a pylon mounted, externally braced, parasol wing. The wingtip stabilizing floats retracted in flight to form streamlined wingtips, and a cantilever cruciform tail all combined to give this aircraft better performance than earlier designed flying boats.
Armament consisted of four .30 caliber Browning AN/M2 machine guns and up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs.
The maiden flight of the XP3Y-1 was on March 28, 1935, after which it was transferred to the U.S. Navy for service trials. In October 1935, the prototype was returned to Consolidated for further work, including installation of 900 hp (671 kW) R-1830-64 engines to bring the aircraft into the category of patrol bomber. The aircraft was redesignated XPBY-1.
The XPBY-1 made its first flight on May 19, 1936, where it achieved a record non-stop distance flight of 3,443 miles (5,541 km). The PBY-1 was delivered to navy squadron VP-11F in October 1936 and over the next three years the Catalina design was refined with an estimated 4,051 units being built at a cost of $90,000 each. (That’s about $1,497,397.83 in 2013 dollars.) The PBY Catalina would be the workhorse of maritime patrol for more than 20 years.
Probably the most famous PBY patrol was “Strawberry 5″; Strawberry 5 was the first PBY, US patrol aircraft, to spot and report the unknown location of the Japanese Naval Armada as it approached Midway Island on June 4, 1942. LT Howard P. Ady, Jr., flying with VP-23 began sending back radio reports:
0534 Enemy Carriers
0540 ED 180 sight 320
0552 Two carriers and main body of ships, carriers in front, course 135, speed 25
The call ” Many planes heading Midway ” at 0544 allowed the airfield to be cleared at Midway. The 10 air strikes that would follow, culminated in the most spectacular six minutes in United States Naval history, when Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu were hit by SBDs from Enterprise and Yorktown between 1022 and 1028 being perhaps the decisive turning point of WWII in the Pacific theater.
|Specifications PBY Catalina
• Crew: 10 — pilot, co-pilot, bow turret gunner, flight engineer, radio operator, navigator, radar operator, two waist gunners, ventral gunner
• Maximum speed: 196 mph (314 km/h)
The United States of America was attacked by the nation of Japan on December 7th, 1941 and it was quickly realized that aircraft and aircraft carriers would be vital weapons of warfare in the Pacific. The Navy needed pilots, and they needed them as soon as possible.
The Secretary of the Navy approved an expansion of the pilot training program from the existing schedule of assigning 800 students per month to one calling for 2,500 per month. There still remained the question as to how to qualify these new pilots for taking off and landing from an aircraft carrier. It would be one thing to teach the necessary skills required to fly but quite another to teach the skills needed to be combat qualified in carrier operations, especially since all available carriers were busy at sea and in order to be proficient you need to actually land on a carrier! Even if the carriers would have been available for training purposes early in the war, the waters around the United States were infested with enemy submarines and considered unsafe.
Before pilots could be assigned to combat duty on aircraft carriers, they had to demonstrate a proficiency for underway flight operations. The Navy stipulated that trainees had to take off and land a minimum of ten times (later reduced to eight) in order to become qualified.
The answer to the problem had strangely enough already been suggested (and largely ignored) by the U.S. Bureau of Ships early in 1941 by Commander Richard F. Whitehead, ignored that is, until after the devastating attack in December. He advocated using training carriers on the Great Lakes and Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, liked the idea. Very soon the Navy was on a fast-track to create a pair of fresh water training carriers!
Beginning in March 1942 the Navy requisitioned two side-paddle-wheeled steamers to be converted into training aircraft carriers. One was the SS SeeandBee, which became the USS Wolverine (IX-64) and the other was the SS Greater Buffalo which became the USS Sable (IX-81). Both of these vessels were a number of years old, built largely of wood and were coal-burning, steam-powered twin side-wheelers; capable of carrying hundreds of passengers on America’s Great Lakes.
The Wolverine was completed first and began flight operations in August 12th, 1942. The Sable was in operation by May 8, 1943. Operating out of a pier in Chicago Harbor, the two Carriers trained 17,820 pilots flying from NAS Glenview and had 116,000 landings on their decks. They were very limited ships for reasons of cost, with no elevators or hangar deck for planes so they needed to store all their planes on deck, which could present a problem if too wrecks occurred. Another problem was the ships weren’t fast enough to generate the minimum 20 knots wind over deck (WOD) to land the higher performance combat warplanes on their own, so if the weather was calm for extended periods of time pilots had to qualify using SNJ Texan trainers.Together, the two improbable paddlewheel carriers qualified pilots and trained flight deck crews in large numbers, just as Commander Whitehead had envisioned.
|Specifications Freshwater Carriers
USS Wolverine (IX-64)
• Length: 550 ft (170 m)
USS Sable (IX-81)
• Length: 535 ft (163 m)
Some photo courtesy of NavSource.org, Click here to visit them.
Here is a video of Great Lakes carrier operations.