Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Southeastern Nebraska

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 4/26/14.

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Bruning AAF / Bruning State Airport / Mid-America Airport (revised 4/26/14) - Grundman Field (revised 4/19/13)

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Grundman Field (3GN / 82NE), Nebraska City, NE

40.66 North / 95.86 West (Southeast of Omaha, NE)

Grundman Field, as depicted on the September 1948 Des Moines Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

This small general aviation airport was located on the south side of the town of Nebraska City.

Grundman Field was evidently established at some point between 1945-48,

as it was not yet depicted on the September 1945 World Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

The earliest depiction of Grundman Field which has been located

was on the September 1948 Des Moines Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as having a 2,200' unpaved runway.



The 1950 NE Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Grundman Field as having a single 2,200' turf Runway 17/35,

along with a single hangar, and a classroom/office building on the east side of the field.



Grundman's runway was apparently somewhat realigned at some point between 1950-65,

as a 5/1/65 USGS aerial photo depicted Grundman as having a single unpaved northwest/southeast runway, with a few small buildings along the east side.



Grundman apparently gained a paved runway at some point between 1965-84,

as the 1984 USGS topo map depicted Grundman Airport

as having a single 2,300' paved runway, with a few small buildings along the east side.



In the 1999 USGS aerial photo it was not apparent if Grundman Field was still being actively used -

there were no aircraft visible on the field, or any other visible signs of current use.



Eric James reported in 2003, “I noticed the airport code was changed from 3GN to 82NE about one year ago.

I thought at the time they were moving public operations out of the city to the newer Nebraska City Municipal (AFK) to the south.

I believe Grundman Field has been abandoned within the past year.

Recently I was flight planning a cross country route over Nebraska...

I noticed the airport is now missing from the charts, not even depicted as an abandoned airfield.”



An August 2007 aerial view by Josh Thayer (courtesy of Eric James) looking east at the site of the former Grundman Field,

showing the remains of the paved runway.

The former hangars (just right of the center of the photo) were evidently removed at some point after the circa 2001-2005 photo.

Eric observed, “A road is being constructed across the old runway now.”



A 6/20/09 aerial view looking north along the remains of the Grundman Field runway.



Grundman Field is located northwest of the intersection of Route 2 & Business Route 75.

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Bruning Army Airfield / Bruning State Airport / Mid-America Airport, Bruning NE

40.34 North / 97.43 West (Southwest of Lincoln, NE)

A 8/1/43 plan of Bruning AAF (courtesy of John Voss).



This airfield was built during WW2 for the Army Air Corps' 2nd Air Force.



The earliest depiction which has been located of Bruning AAF

was a 8/1/43 plan of the “Bruning Satellite Army Air Base” (courtesy of John Voss).

It depicted Bruning as a substantial airfield, having three 6,800' paved runways, taxiways,

numerous dispersal pads along the taxiways,

and 2 paved aprons, one of which measured 2,135' x 600'.



Bruning also had a small bombing & gunnery range 3 miles southwest.



The earliest photo which has been located of Bruning AAF

was a 10/1/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted Bruning as having 3 paved runways & a large paved ramp on the west side.

 

The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Bruning AAF

was on the August 1944 Lincoln Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Allen Salzmann recalled, “My uncle was a P-47 instructor at Bruning in 1944...

His first assignment after returning from his tour with the 81st Fighter Group.”



An image of the WW2-era configuration of Bruning AAF,

from Flight Simulator scenery created by Bob Pearson.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Bruning AAF”

as a 1,720 acre irregularly-shaped property having 3 concrete 6,800' runways.

The field was said to have 4 wooden hangars, with the largest being a 225' x 202' structure.

Bruning was described as being owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Army Air Forces.



Bruning AAF was declared surplus in 1946.



At some point between 1946-48, it was reused as a civil field named Bruning State Airport.

"Brunning" [sic] Airport was depicted on the November 1948 Lincoln Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

as having a 6,800' hard surface runway.



An 8/14/53 USGS aerial view showed Bruning AAF remained intact, but did not show any sign of recent aviation usage.



The number of runways at Bruning had shrunk to one by 1960,

as the May 1960 Lincoln Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described Bruning as having a total of 3 runways (with the longest being a 6,800' concrete strip),

although the remarks in the Aerodromes table said "Northwest/Southeast & Northeast/Southwest runways closed."

 

Bruning State Airport was listed among active airports in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,

with a single 6,800' paved runway.

 

Within another six years, the maintained runway lengths at Bruning had been reduced in half,

as remarks in the Aerodromes table of the October 1968 Lincoln Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

said that the only remaining open runways were the northern 3,200' portion of the concrete Runway 17/35

and the northwestern 3,200 portion of the concrete Runway 13/31.

Runway 4/22 was said to be "permanently closed."



The Bruning Airport was subsequently closed at some point within the next 2 years,

as it was labeled "Abandoned airport" on the 1970 Lincoln Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The surrounding land was since reused for farming.



The 1978 USGS topo map labeled the property as the “Bruning State Airfield”,

but that doesn't necessarily prove the airport was still open at that point.



The Bruning Airport was evidently reopened (once again) as a civilian airport at some point between 1978-81,

as it was labeled as “Mid-America Airport” on the 1981 USGS topo map.

This was most likely due to its use by the Mid-America Feed Yard, a large commercial cattle feed lot.



Bruning continued to be labeled as the “Mid-America Airport” on the 1990 USGS topo map.



As seen in the 1999 USGS aerial photo,

portions of the pavement of Bruning's north/south & northeast/southwest runways had been removed,

but all of the northwest/southeast runway still remained intact.

Both parking aprons still remained intact, as did several hangars.

However, there was no sign of any current aviation usage.



The exterior of the one of the 2 remaining hangars at Bruning (the former sub-depot hangar), photographed by Bob Carlson in 2003.

 

A sad sight - a 2003 photo by Bob Carlson of the interior of one of Bruning's remaining hangars (the former squadron hangar).

It is amazing that it is still standing!

 

Another 2003 photo by Bob Carlson of the interior of one of Bruning's remaining hangars.

For an indication of the scale of the hangar, note the 18-wheeler tractor parked inside the hangar at the left-rear.

 

A 2003 photo by Bob Carlson of a remaining hangar at Bruning (at right),

along with the walls of a second hangar (center background)

and the traces of the foundation of a third hangar (right foreground).

He reported that the end of one of the runways was being used as a cattle feed lot.



A 2004 photo by Robert Pearson looking along the former northwest/southeast runway, which remains completely intact.

 

A 2004 photo by Robert Pearson of the former sub-depot hangar at Bruning, which remains in good shape.

Robert reported, "There were [originally] 4 east-facing hangars, by count of the chimneys.

Bruning AAF has 2 hangars remaining.

The doors have been replaced with retaining walls for grain storage."



A 2004 photo by Robert Pearson of the former squadron hangar at Bruning - in bad shape.

Robert reported, "Bad news at Bruning… the last squadron hangar, which was not in great shape,

was hit by a tornado & it's listing toward the flight line at about a 15 degree angle.

I don't think its long for this world."



A 2004 photo by Robert Pearson of the interior of the former squadron hangar at Bruning.



An October 2004 photo by Robert Pearson of the collapsed hangar at Bruning.

Robert reported, "Sad news, The Bruning squadron hangar apparently has caved in.

I saw no evidence of it being pulled down.

It must have happened sometime in late summer.

No one there I talked to could provide a date."



Guillermo Rosas reported in 2005 that the former Bruning airfield was currently reused

as the home of Mid-America Feed Yard, a large commercial cattle feed lot.



It has not been determined when the use of the property as the “Mid-America Airport” ceased,

but as of 2007 the site was depicted as an abandoned airfield on the Sectional Chart.



A 6/4/09 photo of the former sub-depot hangar at Bruning.



A 6/22/09 aerial view looking north at the remains of the extensive Bruning airfield.



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