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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tucson Downtown Airport

 
The abandoned hangers of the Tucson Downtown airport have been partly demolished, but still preserve some interesting history. This airfield is just north of I-10 and between Kino Blvd and Park Avenue in Tucson and was last active in the early 1960s. The pile of concrete rubble in the foreground used to be part of the fuel tank and had an NGS (National Geodetic Survey) marker embedded in it which I was looking for (unsuccessfully - but I did find another NGS marker that was on another part of the old airport property). The runways are still visible in aerial photos, though they are overgrown with desert plants and there are plans for some developement here which may start within a couple years. This image was taken with the kit lens on my 20D at 18mm focal length with an exposure of 1/500 seconds at f/11, ISO 400. Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For a few months in 1969, I was the Flight Instructor for a newly-formed flying club, The Chandelles, based at Tucson's Downtown Airport. The airplane we flew was a Cessna 140 taildragger, N9696A.

There were three old hangars at Downtown Airport at that time, and two or three other airplanes were tied down there. I don't remember any services being available there at that time.

A recent tenant at Downtown Airport before The Chandelles located there was The Flying Dutchman Air Service, a flight school that lasted only a few more months than The Chandelles Flying Club.

Sometime after The Chandelles Flying Club disbanded and N9696A was reposessed, N9696A collided with another lightplane while landing at Freeway Airport, located at Prince Road and Romero Road in Tucson; amazingly, nobody was injured if memory serves me correctly. I also worked at flight schools located at Freeway Airport in the early Seventies.

Here is an incredible story about Freeway Airport. In 1999, I was a corporate employee in a small industrial park that was built on the site of the old Freeway Airport after it closed. MY DESK WAS ABOUT A HUNDRED YARDS FROM WHERE MY DESK USED TO BE IN THE LAST FLIGHT SCHOOL THAT WAS LOCATED AT FREEWAY AIRPORT. MOREOVER, AT THAT LAST FLIGHT SCHOOL, THE BEST TRAINER WE HAD, AND THAT EVERBODY TRIED TO SCHEDULE, WAS A PIPER CHEROKEE 140 WITH THE REGISTRATION NUMBER N4086A. MY TELEPHONE NUMBER AT THE CORPORATION WAS ###-4086!

So I worked as a Flight Instructor at every airport in Tucson, except La Cholla Airpark. By far, the best airport for teaching student pilots was Tucson International. This was because a student pilot could encounter many different flying situations there. TIA had parallel runways, intersecting runways, left-hand traffic, right-hand traffic and frequent last-minute runway changes for takeoffs and landings. It also had a mix of airliners, military fighter airplanes, and general aviation. Best of all, a student pilot in the late Seventies would have to use five radio frequencies just to fly the eleven miles to Ryan Field to practice takeoffs and landings. After about twenty hours of flying in and out of TIA, unfamiliar airports presented no problem for the student pilot. It was a great feeling to able to have my students become really good pilots because of the TIA airport environment.