Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Eastern New Mexico

© 2004, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 5/25/14.

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Fort Sumner Aux AAF #5 (revised 5/25/14) - Hillcrest Airport (revised 2/10/12) - Portales Municipal Airport (1st location) (added 11/12/04)

Portales Municipal Airport (2nd location) (added 11/12/04) - Portales Municipal Airport (3rd location) (revised 11/17/13)

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Fort Sumner Auxiliary Army Airfield #5, Taiban, NM

34.59 North / 104 West (East of Albuquerque, NM)

A 10/5/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

depicted “Ft. Sumner AAF Auxiliary #5 (Taiban Field)” as having 3 paved runways & several taxiways.



This airfield was used during WW2 as one of 2 auxiliary airfields for Fort Sumner AAF (to the southwest),

which was used as a training field for fighter pilots.

 

It was also known as Taiban Airport.



The date of construction of Fort Sumner Aux #5 has not been determined.

It was most likely not a pre-war civilian airport,

as no airfield was listed at this location in The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

Its parent airfield, Fort Sumner AAF, was established in 1942.



The earliest depiction of Fort Sumner Aux #5 which has been located

was a 10/5/43 aerial view from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Ft. Sumner AAF Auxiliary #5 (Taiban Field)” as having 3 paved runways & several taxiways.



The 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields (courtesy of Ken Mercer)

described Fort Sumner Aux #5 as having a 6,000' hard-surface runway.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Fort Sumner Aux #5

was on the 1945 Roswell Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field in relation to its parent airfield, Ft. Sumner AAF.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Ft. Sumner AAF Auxiliary #5 (Taiban Field)”

as a 800 acre irregularly-shaped property having 3 asphalt 6,000' runways, oriented north/south, northeast/southwest, and east/west.

The field was not said to have any hangars,

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



At some point between 1945-55, the field was apparently reused as a civilian airport,

as "Fort Sumner #5" was depicted as a civilian airfield on the 1955 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

and described as having a 6,100' hard-surface runway.

 

Fort Sumner #5 was still depicted on the December 1968 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

but it was marked as "Emergency only".

 

Fort Sumner Aux #5 was apparently abandoned at some point between 1968-80.

The former airfield was not depicted at all on the 1968, 1980, 1982 or 1984 USGS topo maps,

or the 1998 World Aeronautical Chart,

which is unusual, for such a large abandoned airfield which still remains largely intact.



As seen in the 1997 USGS aerial photo, this airfield had a somewhat unusual configuration,

with 3 paved runways connected by 3 paved taxiways which all intersected in the center.

The does not appear to have been any ramp area, or indication of any former hangars or other buildings.

 

Tim Tyler visited the site of Ft. Sumner Aux #5 on October 20, 2004,

and reported that it appeared as a "Large, grassy field.

What appeared on Street Atlas USA to be the former road that led into the site

was completely obscured with what looked to be the remains of a small cattle loading pen.

No foundations or anything else was visible."



A 1/17/14 aerial view of the site of Ft. Sumner Aux AAF #5 shows this extensive former airfield remains remarkably intact.



Fort Sumner Aux #5 is located northeast of the intersection of Route 252 & Route 36.

 

Thanks to Chris Kennedy for pointing out this airfield.

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Portales Municipal Airport (1st location), Midway, NM

34.25 North / 103.24 West (Southeast of Albuquerque, NM)

The original Portales Municipal Airport, as depicted on the February 1944 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Photo of the airfield while open has not been located.

 

The first location for the municipal airport for the town of Portales was located 6.5 miles northeast of the town.

It was evidently established at this location at some point between 1937-41,

as it was not yet listed among active airfields in The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airport Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

The earliest reference to the Portales Airport which has been located

was in The Airport Directory Company's 1941 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).

It described Portales as having 4 unpaved runways.

 

The earliest depiction of the Portales Airport which has been located

was on the February 1944 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Portales as an auxiliary airfield.

 

The Haire Publishing Company's 1945 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)

still listed the Portales Airport as being located northeast of the town.

 

At some point between 1945-46, the original Portales Airport was replaced by a new field 5 miles southwest of the town,

and the original airfield was evidently closed at the same time,

as the original airfield (to the northeast) was no longer depicted at all

on the March 1946 Estacado Plain World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of David Brooks).

 

As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

at some point a stadium was built over a portion of the site of the first Portales Airport.

However, the faint trace of the outline of several former runways is still perceptible, southeast of the stadium.

It is not known if any buildings remain from the airfield.

 

The site of the original Portales Airport is located on the southeast side of Route 70,

1 mile northwest of its intersection with Route 202.

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Portales Municipal Airport (2nd location), Portales, NM

34.13 North / 103.39 West (Southeast of Albuquerque, NM)

The second location of the Portales Municipal Airport,

as depicted on the March 1946 Estacado Plain World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of David Brooks).

Photo of the airfield while open has not been located.

 

At some point between 1945-46, the original Portales Airport (6.5 miles northeast of the town)

was replaced by a new field 5 miles southwest of the town.

The new Portales Airport was depicted as an auxiliary airfield in that location

on the March 1946 Estacado Plain World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of David Brooks).

 

The Portales Airport was still depicted southwest of the town

on the September 1948 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

 

However, a third location of the Portales Airport was evidently established at some point between 1948-54,

and the 2nd location of the airport was evidently abandoned.

Only the new airport (2 miles to the west of the town)

was depicted on the October 1954 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

and the 1957 USGS topo map.

 

As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

the site of the 2nd location of Portales Airport does not bear any recognizable trace of the former airport.

However, note the runways of the present-day Portales Airport (the 4th location of the town's airport)

on the opposite side of the highway to the northwest.

 

The site of the second location of the Portales Airport is located southwest of the intersection of Route 70

and South Roosevelt Road U.

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Portales Municipal Airport (3rd location), Portales, NM

34.18 North / 103.37 West (Southeast of Albuquerque, NM)

The 3rd location of the Portales Municipal Airport, as depicted on the October 1954 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The third location for the municipal airport for the town of Portales was located 2 miles west of the town.

It was evidently established at this location at some point between 1948-54,

as it was not yet depicted on the September 1948 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

(which still depicted the 2nd location of Portales Airport, to the southwest of the town).

The earliest depiction of the Portales Airport to the west of the town which has been located

was on the October 1954 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Portales as having a 3,500' hard-surface runway.



The only photo which has been located showing the Portales Airport to the west of the town in operation was a 10/11/54 USGS aerial view.

It depicted Portales as having 1 paved runway & 2 unpaved runways, and 3 hangars on the northwest side.

There were no aircraft visible on the field.



The 1957 USGS topo map depicted Portales as having 2 paved runways

and taxiways leading to several small buildings on the north side.



The 1960 Jeppesen Airway Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Portales as having a 3,500' paved Runway 2/20,

along with 2 shorter crosswind "turf" runways.

Taxiways led to a ramp on the north side of the field with several hangars & buildings.

 

The 1966 AOPA Airport Directory (according to David Brooks)

described Portales as having a 3,500' Runway 3/21 & a 2,400' Runway 7/25.

The operator was listed as the City of Portales.

 

Portales was depicted on the July 1977 CG-19 World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

as having 2 paved runways, with the longest being 3,500'.

 

The main runway at Portales was evidently lengthened at some point between 1977-87,

as the 1987 Flight Guide (courtesy of David Brooks) depicted Runway 2/20 as being 5,230' long

(although the runway surface was described as "loose gravel").

The only other runway was the 2,450' loose gravel Runway 9/27;

the former third runway had apparently been abandoned.

Lauterbach Flying Service was depicted as occupying the building on the north side of the ramp.

 

At some point between 1987-96, the 3rd Portales Airport was replaced yet again (for the 4th time) by a new field 2 miles to the southwest,

and the 3rd location of the airfield was presumably closed at the same time.

 

As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

the majority of the length of both runways at Portales still exist,

but 4 baseball diamonds have been built right over the runway intersection.

Note the hangars which remain, as well as the closed-runway "X" still visible on the north end of the runway.

David Brooks observed, "A nice airfield that had been there for decades destroyed for 4 baseball diamonds!

Who knows why - maybe the locals did not like the noise or they wanted 4 baseball diamonds?"



The site of the 3rd location of Portales Airport is located southwest of the intersection of Route 88 & South Industrial Drive.

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Hillcrest Airport (E86), Clovis, NM

34.41 North / 103.17 West (Northwest of Lubbock, TX)

Hillcrest Airport, as depicted on the 1945 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Photo of the airport while open has not been located.

 

This airport was apparently opened at some point between 1944-45,

as it was not listed among active airfields in the Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo)

or the 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields (courtesy of Ken Mercer).

The earliest reference to Hillcrest Airport which could be located

was on the 1945 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

which depicted it as a commercial or municipal airport.

 

The 1957 USGS topo map depicted Hillcrest as having 5 unpaved runways, labeled simply as “Landing Field”.



According to Chris Kennedy, the 1963 AOPA Airport Directory described Hillcrest as having 4 unpaved runways,

with the longest being the 3,600' Runways 3/21 & 13/31.

The operator was listed as Western Flying Service.

 

Hillcrest Airport, as depicted on the 1967 Albuquerque Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

Hillcrest's airfield configuration was basically unchanged

as depicted in the 1967 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

A single building (a hangar?) was depicted at the south end of the field.

 

Hillcrest was still listed as an active airfield in the 1982 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Ed Drury),

but its status had changed to a private airfield,

with the remark, "Use at own risk."

The number of runways had decreased to only two:

3,600' Runway 13/31 & 2,800' Runway 8/26, both turf.

 

Hillcrest Airport was evidently closed at some point between 1982-93,

as it was not listed in the 1993 Flight Guide (according to Chris Kennedy).

On the 1985 USGS topo map, it was labeled simply "Landing Strips",

which probably indicates that it was closed by that point.

 

In the 1997 USGS aerial photo, the outlines of at least 3 runways & one taxiway were still recognizable.

It was not apparent whether the airport building (at the south end) was still standing.

 

A circa 2003 aerial view of the Hillcrest Airport site shows that the outlines of several runways were still recognizable.

Several new buildings had been constructed over the southern edge of the airport property between 1997-2003.



George Ruch reported in 2004, "Hillcrest Airport is now nothing more than mainly unused land.

There has been some development along the southern border (East 7th Street) -

a now-empty ClientLogic call center on the southeast corner

and Eastern New Mexico Rehabilitation Services near the southwest corner."

 

The site of Hillcrest Airport is located northeast of the intersection of East 7th Street & Schepps Boulevard.



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