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Location DB > United States > Arizona > Chandler > Gila River Airport
Gila River Airport
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 Database Info
created by Wilk on 10/22/2008 12:41 AM
last modified by Emperor Wang on 12/12/2020 9:44 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
Rustic Airfield with two runways, the main being 8600 feet and the secondary 5200 feet. Various buildings and abandoned aircraft on the property.
 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors
Status: Abandoned
Accessibility: Difficult
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information

Chandler, Arizona
United States
Owner: Gila River Indian Community
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  •  Hazards
  • The Occasional Plane
  •  Interesting Features
    This place has lots of abandoned aircraft.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • part-time guard
  • cameras
  • Tribal police patrol often, will chase, and WILL ticket
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1944
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
     Recommended Equipment

    I have to admit I was surprised at the history surrounding this off the wall airfield. The airfield was originally named Goodyear Air Force Auxiliary Airfield when it was constructed sometime around 1943. During World War II it was renamed Williams Auxiliary Airfield #5, one of the satellites of Williams Air Force base. During that time it had two 4000' runways and conducted training with twin and 4 engine bombers and single engine fighters.

    Around 1956 the primary runway was lengthened to 8,000 feet to support jet aircraft from nearby Williams AFB. The United States Air Force relinquished the base sometime between 1966 and 1971 during which it became a civilian airfield with the name "Memorial Field".

    During the Vietnam War the airfield was again in use by the government to modify C-130's & other aircraft by CIA front companies. We can only guess at what they were up to during that time. Anything involving war, CIA, and front company brings a lot of suspicion of dubious activities.

    By 1978 the airfield was completely un-used. It was described by one eye witness as in total disrepair with the runways being very deteriorated and weeds growing up through the cracks. In the late 80's - early 90's the nearby McDonald Douglas company used the airfield for helicopter training. After that several air tanker companies took over the airfield using it as a base on firefighting missions around Arizona. The FAA eventually banned the use of C-130s for Aerial firefighting and many of the companies left the C-130s to rot in the Arizona sun. Some of them are still there to this day. Eventually, in 2005 a company purchased the site and developed a plan to re-develop the airfield into a civilian airport. In 2006 the company re-paved and lengthened the main runway to 8600 feet. As of 2007 most of the remaining aircraft to accumulate at the airfield was being trucked away in anticipation of the coming changes. However as of 2008 the plans have stalled and the remaining aircraft are still baking in the sun. The site is currently only being used for helicopter training.
     Media Coverage

     Future Plans


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     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    First Trip
    Wed, Oct 22nd, 2008
    posted by Wilk
    19 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Thu, May 1st, 2014
    posted by skatchkins
    8 pictures

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     Web Links


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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    This location has not yet been rated by a moderator.
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Emperor Wang on 12/12/2020 9:45 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Dec 12 20 at 21:45, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Dec 12 20 at 21:44, Emperor Wang changed the following: History
  • on Dec 11 20 at 3:27, lonewolf34 changed the following: Owner, Status, Accessibility, Security Measures
  • on May 26 14 at 8:20, Steed validated this location
  • on May 1 14 at 17:36, skatchkins updated gallery picture 1945 Douglas C-54
  • on May 1 14 at 17:35, skatchkins updated gallery picture
  • on May 1 14 at 17:35, skatchkins updated gallery picture Lockheed PV-2D Harpoon N7251C
  • on May 1 14 at 17:34, skatchkins updated gallery picture Lockheed PV-2D Harpoon N7251C
  • on May 1 14 at 17:34, skatchkins updated gallery picture Cockpit
  • on May 1 14 at 17:34, skatchkins updated gallery picture Breach
  •  Forum Threads about this Location
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    You must log in for this feature to work.Building with roof cave in and bees...MrMalajin311133/6/2015 10:57 PM by MrMalajin
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