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  Kingman Airport AZ
and (Las Vegas, McCarran Int. Airport, NV)
 
  Sad end of aircrafts on a bone yard” August 1993 & 1996  
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Text:

Andy Herzog

Pictures:

Andy Herzog

Google Maps Position
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Kingman (Air Field) Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport, located eight miles northeast of Kingman, a little city in Mohave County, Arizona on the way from Las Vegas to Phoenix at the famous “Route 66”. (Siehe Map)

Only one commercial airline (Great Lakes Airlines) provides daily services in to- and from Kingman. Today quite a large number of civilian aircrafts, withdrawn from commercial services, are stored or scrapped at Kingman Airport.

(You also will find some additional pictures about civilian aircrafts stored at McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas  at the end of this photo report)

But Kingman (Air Field) had his glorious days in the 40th’s until the 60th’s of the last century. Here is the Story of the “golden years”:

Kingman Airport Terminal, Arizona (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Boeing 727-224, N88703 ex Continental und B737-200, N73714 ex Aloha Airlines (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Boeing 747-200, N531AW, ex America West. (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Boeing 747-200, N531AW, ex America West (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)
Boeing 727-224, N88711, ex Continental (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Fairchild C-123 Provider, Owner and Company unknown (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Douglas DC4 (C-54G Skymaster), N51802, Private owned by Jim Blumenthal (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) BAe-3101-Jetstream 31, N642JX, ex Reno Air Express  (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)
   

History

Kingman Airport was originally built as a World War II United States Army Air Force training field. In 1942 Kingman Army Airfield was established as a training base for Army Air Force aerial gunners. In addition to the main facility several emergency airstrips were built, one at Red Lake, about 17 miles northeast of the base. Others were built near Topock and Yucca.

Wartime Aircraft Gunnery School
The host unit at Kingman Field was the 460th AAF Base Unit. Other training units came as follows:

  • 1120th Flexible Gunnery Training
  • 1121th Flexible Gunnery Training
  • 1122th Flexible Gunnery Training
  • 1123th Flexible Gunnery Training und die
  • 334th Aviation Squadron

In May 1943 the facility was officially named the Kingman Army Air Field. The base continued to grow and change with many new squadrons being added to the base and some of the existing ones combined.

  • The 1120th and the 329th merged with the 328th to become the 328th Flexible Gunnery Training Group.
  • The 1122nd, 537th, and 538th were consolidated to form the 1123rd Flexible Gunnery Training Group.
  • The 1121st became the 329th.
  • The 536th and the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Groups were added to the list.

Also assigned to the B17 fighting groups was the 31st Altitude Squadron, training for operations at high altitude, like over Nazi Germany, close to the end of WWII.

 

In April 1944 the Kingman Army Air Field was consolidated and the host unit was redesignated as the 3018th Army Air Force Base Unit. Each of the units on the base became subdivisions of 3018th. During 1944 the 3018th was one of the top training schools in the United States.

 

After the end of WW II, with peace in the world, there was no further need for a gunnery school. But what will you do with thousands of aircrafts not needed anymore? Not an easy decision to make!

World War II aircraft disposal
 

After the war, a Reconstruction Finance Corporation established five large storage, sales and scrapping centers for Army Air Forces aircraft all over the USA.

These were located at:

Hawaiian Douglas DC-8-62 (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Altus, Oklahoma
Kingman, Arizona
Ontario, California … and
Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

A sixth facility for storing, selling and scrapping Navy and Marines aircraft was located at Clinton, Oklahoma.

Estimates of the number of excess surplus airplanes ran as high as 150,000. Consideration was given to storing a substantial number of these. By the summer of 1945, at least 30 sales-storage depots and 23 sales centers were in operation. By the end of 1945, it was estimated a total of 117,210 aircraft would be transferred as surplus.

Between 1945 and June 1947, approximately 61,600 WW II aircraft, of which 34,700 were sold for flyable purposes and 26,900, primarily combat types, were sold for scrapping.

It is estimated that approximately 10,000 war birds were flown to Kingman between 1945 and 1946 for storage and sale. It is reported that at least 100 of the 118 B-32 Heavy Bombers built were flown there, many straight from the assembly line.

Most of the transport and trainer aircrafts could be used in the civilian fleet, and trainers were sold for $875 to $2,400. The fighters and bombers were of little peacetime use, although some were sold.

Typical prices for surplus aircraft’s were approx:

Vultee BT-13 Valiant $     450
Lockheed P-38 Lightning $   1’250
North American AT-26 Texan $   1’500
Douglas A-26 Invader $   2’000
North American P-51 Mustang $   3’500
North American B-25 Mitchell $   8’500
Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress $ 13’750
Consolidated B-24 Liberator $ 13’750
Convair B-32 Dominator $ 32’500

Many aircraft were transferred to schools for educational purposes, and to communities for memorial use for a minimal fee. A Boy Scout troop bought a B-17 for $350. (Where the “hell” you gone a put it?) General sales were conducted from these centers and in June 1946, the remaining aircraft, except those at Altus, Oklahoma, were put up for scrap bid.

McCarran Intern. Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)

The tens of thousands of war birds that had survived the enemy fighter planes  and fierce anti-aircraft fire ended up at Albuquerque, Altus, Kingman, Ontario, Walnut Ridge and Clinton.

Kingman Airport and Industrial Park
With the disposal of the military aircraft completed, Kingman AAF was returned to civilian use in 1949. It was developed into a civil airport and industrial park. Today, some civilian airliners are stored there and remarketed or recycled into spare parts and into their base metals. During my visit in August 1993 and 1996, to my disappointment, there were only around three dozen’s of commercial airliner stored at Kingman Airport. As an example: in the 12-month period of 2008 the airport was handling 215 aircrafts for storage, sales or scrapping with rising numbers in the upcoming years! So beware next time if you drink out of a Coca Cola can, it might be made out of scrap aluminum of a B747!

Factsheet of Kingman Airport
Kingman Airport covers an area of 4,200 acres (1,700 ha) at an elevation of 3,449 feet (1,051 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways:

  • Runway 3/21 is 6,827 by 150 feet (2,081 x 46 m)

  • Runway 17/35 is 6,725 by 75 feet (2,050 x 23 m).

Interesting Web-Links:   
www.kingmanairportauthority.com
www.kingmanaafhsmuseum.org

Sadly Boneyard! (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) BAe-3101-Jetstream 32, Company unknown (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) BAe-3101-Jetstream 31, ex Reno Air Express, ex Sierra Expressway (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) BAe-3101-Jetstream 31, ex Reno Air Express (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)
Boeing 727-224, N88711, ex Continental. (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Lockheed Tristar 1011-100, C-GIES ex. Worldways Canada  (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) BAe 146-200, N697A ex. American (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) BAe 146-200, N694AA ex. American (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)
B747-200, ex Continental Airline (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Douglas DC-4 (C-54E Skymaster, Firefighter) ex Aero Flite in Ramona (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Hawaiian Douglas DC-8-62 & Worldways Canada Lockheed Tristar 1011-100 (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Worldways Canada Tristar 10011-100 & American BAe 146-200 (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)
Hawaiian Douglas DC-8-62 (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) BAe 3101 Jetstream 31  & American Eagle, Fairchild SA-227AC Metroliner III N363AE (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Hawaiian Douglas DC-8-62 & Continental Airlines Douglas DC-10-10 (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Boeing 737-200, Reg. and Airline unknown (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)
  McCarran Intern. Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada  
   
Ex. United Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10, old livery (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Mc Donnell Douglas DC-10-10, ex United Airlines N1837U (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Fokker F-27-500 Friendship, ex Northwest Airlink  aka "Mesaba Airlines" N282MA  (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)
 
Ex United Airlines Mc Donnell Douglas DC-10-10 (N1824U), old livery (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Ex United Airlines, Boeing B747-SP, (N145UA), old livery of the 90's (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog) Ex. United Airlines Mc Donnell Douglas DC-10-10-IAD, (N1825U), old livery in the 90's (Photo courtesy Andy Herzog)  

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