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    Welcome to our Trip Report Blog.
    Here we will post logs and pictures taken on aircraft spotting trips.
    Any info can be used for personal use, if passing on or publishing please credit SWAG.
    If you can correct or add any information please contact me here.

    To visit our Flickr photo pages click StuC, RichT, IanG, MatthewB

    With luck we are intending to visit the following in 2018:
    Friedrichshafen Expo, Spain/Portugal, Oshkosh/Florida

    Header Picture: 6814 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF (966814) Displayed at Poznań-Kobylnica on 24/07/17

    Logs/pics - If you have any topical logs and pics from interesting places we could use on the blog please contact me at the address above. Especially welcome would be any museums we haven't yet covered.

    Saturday, 14 March 2009

    02-09-?? - Arizona - Nevada

    Something differerent to our usual trip logs, a narrative report from MikeyF on his recent trip to Arizona and Nevada. Thanks Mike.

    The M+M trip for 2009 started being planned in August 2008. Initially planned for a Davis Monthan Boneyard trip it developed into a joint DM and Nellis trip. Prior to our outbound flight from Heathrow with Northwest A330 N805NW we noted amongst the hordes of airliners the following of note – an all-white A330 A7-HHM, Air Berlin A321 D-ABGO as well as Challenger EZ8023 which we followed out on departure.
    We routed to Phoenix Airport via a change in Minneapolis. Unfortunately time wise we were limited to just a rush through the airport and missed a large number of Northwest fleets as well numerous USANG Hercules which are based on the North side of the airport. Only thing noted whilst taxiing in was the Fire Section DC-9 N960N [all lime green] along with a few Northwest Airbus. Departure south was on board Northwest B757 N503US to Phoenix.

    Whilst arriving at phoenix we observed a few US Airways examples as well as a Honeywell B757 housed on the north side of the airport. We met our third member or our party K on the top floor of the terminal 3 car park a short while after our arrival – K had transited LHR – Dallas – Phoenix earlier thus making it the MMK tour 2009. We headed to near Tucson IAP for the first night hotel.

    Tucson IAP was first on the list on the Saturday at 07:30 to see the Frontier Airlines A320. A flight over Davis Monthan AFB and then to Marana had been prearranged with Sonarran Wings at the Airport. We hired a Cessna 172 ?? N53102 for two flights over these sites.
    We first saw Marana Avra Airport from the air where six Beech Starships had been placed in outside store – later identified as ???. We also logged several bizjets being present as a result of a golf competion being held close by – it was being shown as the return for “Tiger Woods”. – more from this airport later on.

    The next hour or so was to be quite a stunning time – Firstly we noted some 80 airliners in store as well as the Evergreen Boeing 747 Super tanker and Boeing 747 Dream liner. These were being worked by the active ramp by Evergreen whilst the opposite side held the stored airliners. Many will end there days at Marana being broken up but I would imagine that the at least some of the ex “Northwest “Boeing 757 lined up will fly again.
    Approximate totals present to give some indication are
    4 Boeing 727, 4 Boeing 737, 40 Boeing 747, 10 Boeing 757, 5 Boeing 767, 3 DC-8. 72 DC-9/MD80’s 20 DC-10/MD-11 and finally two Airbus A300/320. A personal highlight was the “Evergreen” owned CH-54 Tarne Fire fighting helicopter sitting next to the Super tanker.

    After a touch and go we left the area to flyover Davis Monthan to view the rows and rows of redundant aircraft stored there. This is well worth a trip and prearranging a flight over is an advantage. Already one day in April there is a full diary with enthusiasts taking advantage of these trips!!!

    To see the rows of worn out F-4 Phantoms, the F-14’s as well the mighty Galaxy all outside waiting for reclamation or further action is an incredible sight. Overall it is estimated that over 4500 planes are on the site.

    Following the trips over the area the afternoon saw us look at the numerous scrap yards located around DM. Again this takes time to locate them and then view. None are available to access but the identities of most aircraft can be obtained by internet sources!

    The second day [Sunday] saw us visit the Pima museum. Well worth a visit but don’t limit the time – it took us over 4 hours to walk around at all exhibits and photograph all! Highlights included 3 B-52 lined up next to each other, the three well maintained hangars with included a SR-71 “Blackbird” in one. An impressive part of one of these hangars is the local history to icons of Arizona Aviation history – a story behind the people – pilots, commanders of units etc as well as companies who have or continue to provide aviation activities in Arizona – something we may not do in this country!

    A short trip was made to Marana regional airport. On first impression on arrival it appears that the sightings may be limited from outside – security fence and gates limit the views somewhat. However during our visit we met up with a local aviation employee who kindly took us airside to view some historic birds. Two Lockheed Constellation’s including one named “Columbine” reportedly previously having flown the US President and a future in a museum, three DC-4/C-54 as well as a PV-2 Neptune. Add to that some 8 A-4 Skyhawks this was quite an excellent early evening visit.

    Monday saw us on the Davis Monthan bus tour. Takes an hour to complete it allows you access to DM. Photography is allowed but the sheer number of aircraft makes it awkward to take shots of all rows particularly when the bus is full. Glare through the window is a problem as well but at $7 it is well worth trip!!

    After DM we headed north for the Phoenix area. We had plans for several airfields to visit prior to our hotel. We called into Chandler Memorial expecting to see some 50+ helicopters and a few old props. We sadly missed the choppers – the last being taken out by road some two days earlier!. The old props, four DC-4 and a Lodestar [N7251C] are nearing the end of their lives. There is currently a small hangar which holds a further two Lodestars and a DC-4 all in reasonable condition and hopefully preservation. for the two Lodestars [N130P and N7806C],

    Onward to a street in Chandler where an F-86 is up a pole and really easy to photograph – not so easy to move the pigeons on the top – not they didn’t move no mater what we did!!
    A quick trip to Chandler Municipal saw some 120+ light “tins” but did include the Red Bull Grumman Mallard [N29853]. A new helicopter training facility is on the south side operating numerous types.

    Then onto Williams Gateway which was a former military airfield. Touted to be the new Phoenix airport it has Allegiant MD-80’s operate from here and two were present during our visit [N872GA/875GA]. Two all examples were representing whilst a highlight was the sighting of three TA-4 Skyhawks privately operated from a hangar at the south of the airfield. Numerous bizjets were present with a Citation centre recently being built having at least 6 outside.

    Onto perhaps one of the more “interesting visits” at Falcon Field. This airfield has a Boeing facility where Apache helicopters are built. One was noted flying but remains unidentified. There is a museum present – closed at time of visit but several superb aircraft including a B-17 were noted outside.

    During our search we were asked airside by an aircraft operator and a quick drive down the flight line allowed us to log loads of tin. Parked outside were two Canadian Challengers – operated by the Canadian CAA. Hidden around the hangars were several biz jets but quite a few former mil birds – OV-10, UH-1 amongst them. Marsh Aviation still have numerous S-2 stored outside awaiting conversion. Over 170 aircraft were logged during our 90 minute visit!

    Onward to our hotel near Phoenix Sky harbour [in fact under the approach to it] we managed to view for about a further hour numerous aircraft inbound by the venerable SBS !

    On Tuesday we called into Phoenix Sky harbour for a while prior to travelling over to Luke AFB and Goodyear Airfield. Luke Air Force base operates a large number of F-16 fighters and we were not expecting to see much due to reports from other enthusiasts who say they had numerous security checks etc. However we logged some 30 aircraft prior to a quite spell without any visits by the security.

    At Goodyear we logged a further 110 machines placed in outside store – a large number of United B-737, Continental B737/MD-80 as well two former B-767 which had been former regulars at CWL – G-BYAA/AB ex Thomson/Britannia Awys!

    Over to Phoenix Sky harbour where we logged numerous Southwest and US Airways fleets. It appears that there are limited foreign airliners here – the only one we noticed was a British Airways B747!!

    Others of note were some USAF Air National Guard KC-135 tankers as well several bizjets. All can be viewed from terminal 3 car park – if you travel there please check with the airport website/email facility as they allowed us to stay without any problems.

    Wednesday saw us travel up to Las Vegas calling in at Scottsdale airport. It has a huge number of bizjets present and we learned that the airport do not like enthusiasts logging bizjets – however during our time searching the area we didn’t have any issues. We logged just under 100 bizjets – no time for the tin/twins as there was any time to do that. It is situated in a modern industrial site/unit where many hangars were linked the runway. All roads adjacent to these units need to be checked just in case you come across an aircraft.

    Onward to Deer Valley Airfield where we came across John Travolta Boeing 707 N707JT parked up. We could not photograph the machine sadly. There were numerous light aircraft which we logged but the highlight was a hangar with 7 ex RAF Tucano T.1. We were allowed to take shots of them – the first batch of some 20 or so examples reportedly being shipped over from Shawbury.

    Carrying on to Vegas we came across a C-117 Packet at Moreton Airpark – somewhere in the middle of the desert. Another light field was observed a short while later but were unable to access – locked gates!

    Arriving at Vegas we checked out the bizjets areas prior to booking into Hooters Hotel which was our base for three nights. This has a good view of the ramps and many were logged from here during our stay

    Thursday saw us visit Nellis AFB and a sight of a Red Flag exercise. Some 80 aircraft were taking part including Australian F-111 and USAF F-22 Raptor’s. A further evening visit was also made to see all launching in the dark – reheat on F-15’s being quite a spectacular sight.

    Friday was split between a visit to Nellis AFB – there are two good areas to take photographs – some 250 shots being taken during the four hour stay. The same aircraft were seen operating again but it appeared more based aircraft were operating on this day. A German Transall was noted departing – presumably picking up equipment after a Tornado deployment
    At McCarran Airport some 1800 aircraft were reported on the SBS unit. Most movements were Southwest B737, There are a more airlines here including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin US, Condor from Germany and a regular B767 from Hawaiian Airlines

    We returned from Las Vegas via Minneapolis to Heathrow on a Northwest B757/A330 service
    Any questions please email – mikeyf@talktalk.net