Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:
Texas, Western Abilene area
© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 5/15/14.
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Butterfield Trail Airport (revised 9/11/13) - Goodfellow AFB (revised 5/15/14) - D-Bar Ranch Airfield (revised 9/12/13)
Maker Field / Hughes Airport (added 5/14/14) - Vancourt Aux AAF #6 (revised 5/15/14) - Victory Field (revised 4/8/14)
Maker Field / Hughes Airport, Abilene, TX
32.45 North / 99.78 West (Southwest of Fort Worth, TX)
Hughes Airport, as depicted on the 1954 USGS topo map.
According to the 5/25/10 Clack Middle School Chronicle (courtesy of Mark Williams),
Maker Field was established after WW2 by former military flight instructors Red Maker & his brother-in-law Lester.
They came to Abilene in 1945, and lived at the airport for a year or so.
In 1950 or 1951, local businessman Jack Hughes wanted to buy the property to put up a shopping center.
He ran the airport for a short period of time, renaming it Hughes Airport.
The earliest depiction which has been located of Hughes Airport was on the 1954 USGS topo map.
The earliest photo which has been located of Hughes Airport was an 11/19/54 USGS aerial view.
It depicted Hughes as having 3 unpaved runways, with a few small hangars on the northeast side.
No aircraft were visible on the field.
According to the 5/25/10 Clack Middle School Chronicle (courtesy of Mark Williams), Earl Outland ran the Hughes Airport.
Don Bledsoe learned to fly at Hughes, and became a lineman at the airport.
The field had a main hangar, sales office, T-hangars, and over 100 planes.
The field featured fly-outs, hangar parties, and flying shopping excursions.
Jack North remembered flying out of Hughes Airport several times.
A 1956 photo depicted a Beech Twin Bonanza & another Bonanza inside the Abilene Aviation Company hangar at Hughes Airport (courtesy of Mark Williams).
A 1956 photo of an unidentified couple on a Beech Twin Bonanza at Hughes Airport (courtesy of Mark Williams).
A 1956 photo of a Stinson 108-1 in front of the Hughes Airport T-hangars (courtesy of Mark Williams).
The 1957 USGS topo map (courtesy of Mark Williams) depicted Hughes Airport as having a north/south paved runway with a taxiway leading to 2 buildings on the northeast side.
The 2 other runways depicted in 1954 had been lost, as the airport property had been reduced by the construction of Route 83 along the west side.
The construction of the bypass at Loop 322 & South 1st was a factor against the longevity of Hughes Airport.
Hughes Airport was evidently closed at some point between 1957-61,
as it was no longer depicted on the 1961 Austin Sectional Chart.
Jack Hughes opened the Westgate Shopping Capital on the Hughes Airport property in 1962.
The 1968 USGS topo map depicted the shopping center covering the Hughes Airport property.
A 12/9/12 aerial view showed no trace remaining of Hughes Airport.
The site of Hughes Airport is located southeast of the intersection of South 1st Street & Route 277.
Thanks to Mark Williams for pointing out this airfield.
Goodfellow AAF / Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo, TX
31.43 North / 100.41 West (Southwest of Fort Worth, TX)
The airfield which would eventually become Goodfellow AAF was depicted (but not specifically labeled)
on the 1941 Austin Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
The date of construction of the airfield at this location has not been determined.
Although some sources have indicated that Goodfellow Field was originally San Angelo's Municipal Airport,
that is contradicted by the above 1941 Austin Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),
which clearly shows the "San Angelo" civilian airport as a separate facility,
somewhat to the southwest of a separate military airfield (which was not specifically labeled) -
which would eventually become Goodfellow Field.
According to the Goodfellow AFB website, Military flight operations at Goodfellow Field began in February 1941,
when the first class of Army Air Corps students arrived to take basic flying training.
Primary & basic flight training was provided at Goodfellow for American & foreign cadets.
The North American BT-9/14 Yale & Vultee BT-15 Valiant were used at Goodfellow in 1941.
The base consisted of a total of 1,137 acres.
A rare color photograph of a Vultee BT-13 Valiant at Goodfellow Field in 1941.
The BT-13 Valiant was used at Goodfellow from 1941-45.
A 1942 photo of a huge number of BT-13 Valiants on the flight line at Goodfellow Field.
A 1943 aerial view looking east at Goodfellow Field.
The Fairchild PT-19 Cornell primary trainer was used at Goodfellow from 1944-45,
while the Stearman-Boeing PT-13/17 Kaydet primary trainer biplane was used from 1944-46.
The North American AT-6/T-6 Texan Basic/Primary Trainer was used at Goodfellow from 1944-54.
A WW2-era photo of an AT-11 undergoing a nighttime inspection at Goodfellow AAF (courtesy of Cole Perkins).
The satellite fields surrounding Goodfellow AAF.
Goodfellow AAF & its satellite fields, as depicted on the 1945 Austin Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
During WW2, a total of 7 unpaved satellite airfields were established for the use of Goodfellow:
Oates Aux #1 (9.3 miles southeast of San Angelo),
Broome Aux #2 (10 miles SSE of San Angelo),
Robbins Aux #3 (7 miles NNW of San Angelo),
Lane Aux #4 (10 miles ESE of San Angelo),
Pullium Aux #5 (2 miles northwest of Pullium),
Vancourt Aux #6 (1.5 miles southwest of Vancourt),
and Wall Aux #7 (3 miles ESE of Wall).
The Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan Basic Trainer, North American P-51 Mustang,
and North American B-25 Mitchell all served at Goodfellow from 1945-46.
Goodfellow trained a total of 10,000 airmen during the Second World War.
Goodfellow AAF was retained after WW2.
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was used at Goodfellow from 1946-71.
Following the creation of the independent U.S. Air Force in 1948,
Goodfellow AAF became Goodfellow Air Force Base,
an installation of the Air Training Command.
Goodfellow AFB was depicted on the 1949 Austin Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
as having a 5,500' hard-surface runway.
The Beechcraft C-45 Expediter was used at Goodfellow from 1951-54.
Goodfellow was host to a test program (a competitive flyoff?) in 1951-52,
using the Beechcraft YT-34 Mentor & the TEMCO YT-35 Buckaroo.
The Beechcraft AT-7/T7BH Navigator Basic Trainer was used at Goodfellow in 1952.
The Aeronca L-16 was used at Goodfellow from 1952-53,
while the Piper L-21 Super Cub was used from 1952-54.
The North American T-28 Trojan Basic Trainer was used at Goodfellow from 1953-55.
The North American B-25 Mitchell returned to service at Goodfellow from 1954-58.
Goodfellow AAF & its satellite fields,
as depicted on the 1954 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
A 1956 photo of a formation of North American TB-25 Mitchells passing in review over the Goodfellow AFB flightline.
The first jet aircraft to be assigned to Goodfellow was the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star,
which was used in a test program from 1956-57.
The Cessna U-3 Administrator was used at Goodfellow from 1958-71,
while the Piasecki H-2 Workhorse helicopter was used for weather missions from 1958-66.
Goodfellow continued to offer flight training until 1958,
at which point it had trained a total of 20,000 aviators.
Goodfellow was transferred to the USAF Security Service,
and its new mission became the training of Air Force personnel in advanced cryptologic skills.
The base's mission eventually expanded to include joint-service training in these same skills
for Army, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel.
The DeHavilland U-6 Beaver was used for weather missions at Goodfellow from 1960-66.
A 1966 aerial view looking south showed cars along along Goodfellow's ramp but no planes.
The last aircraft to be permanently assigned to Goodfellow was the Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster,
which served from 1972-75,
at which point the last 2 examples were transferred.
Goodfellow's runways were permanently closed in March 1975.
The 1978 USGS topo map still depicted Goodfellow AFB's 3 paved runways, ramp, and hangars.
Occasional flying operations were conducted into Goodfellow in the early 1980s
by C-130s participating in Readiness Loading Program activities.
Mark Williams recalled, “Goodfellow AFB... I was stationed there from April-August 1983.
While there I started taking my private pilot's course with the base flying club, and flew from the then-closed runways enough to get just over 20 hours.
My instructor was an active duty, USAF Lt. Col., and the base chaplain!
God may not have been my co-pilot, but I had the next best thing!
My last flight there was rather eventful, or I should say the landing was.
At the time they were just beginning the construction which resulted in what we see at Goodfellow today.
We frequently had to coordinate our takeoffs, and landings to avoid heavy construction equipment on the runways,
but generally they were done for the day when started our flying in the early, West Texas summer evenings.
This particular flight was spent shooting approaches at San Angelo's Mathis Field, and when we finished flew back to Goodfellow.
It was going to be 'my' landing, but on very short final a road grater drove onto the runway.
My instructor first told me to go around, then stated he had the aircraft.
I gave the controls to him, and acknowledged that it was 'his' aircraft.
He extended the final flying over the grater, then landed ('Geez, Chaplain!').
Just as he started to slow the aircraft we experienced quite a jolt. and he literally hollered at me, 'Did you touch the brakes?!'
No sir, I said, and it the became quite apparent that we blew a main tire.
He was able to safely bring the aircraft to a stop on the runway, and when we examined the tire we discovered that we had run over quite a large nail.
A man with the construction company drove over to us in his pickup, asked if we were okay, then drove us back to our hangar.
That was my last flight as a student at Goodfellow AFB. It was late July, 1983.
When I left Goodfellow in August the flying club was still there, and still using the runway, so I am not certain when they finally stopped using the field.”
Ramp & runways at Goodfellow in 1985, after runways had been closed.
One of the large circa 1940s hangars at Goodfellow
was razed in the late 1980s to make way for a new Commissary & Base Exchange.
The very last aircraft to operate from the runways at Goodfellow were 2 C-130s
which landed in June 1990 to support the fire-protection training mission realigning from Chanute AFB.
Two 1994 photos by Scott Murdock of 2 former hangars which remained standing at Goodfellow AFB.
USGS aerial photo 1996, after the field's closure.
The airfield consists of three 5,300' runways, taxiways & a ramp.
Note the 2 C-130s which remained on the field, at the northeast corner.
As of 2003, Goodfellow remains open as an active military base,
although without any flight operations.
A 11/8/03 photo by Brian Johnstone of a North American B-25J Mitchell mounted as a gate guard at Goodfellow.
What an ironic sight, only a few years after the end of the Cold War:
a 2005 photo of a once-feared Soviet Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum A, on static display behind a Goodfellow AFB hangar.
A circa 2006 aerial view looking north at an unusual collection of retired aircraft on Goodfellow's ramp:
a C-130 Hercules, F-14 Tomcat, and CH-53 Sea Stallion (sans no tail & tail rotor).
A circa 2007 aerial view looking west at a former Goodfellow hangar, a C-47 on static display, and what appears to be the base headquarters building.
A 3/14/13 aerial photo of the extensive airfield facilities which remain at Goodfellow AFB.
See also: The Handbook of TX Online.
Vancourt Army Airfield Aux #6, Wall, TX
31.34 North / 100.29 West (West of Austin, TX)
Vancourt was simply labeled as "No 6" on the 1945 Austin Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
This field was built during WW2 as one of 7 satellite airfields
to support pilot training at Goodfellow Army Airfield.
Vancourt Aux #6 was evidently built at some point between 1941-43,
as it was not yet depicted at all on the 1941 Austin Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
Vancourt Aux #6 was reportedly operational by 1943.
Vancourt Aux #6 was declared surplus with the end of WW2 in 1945.
Unlike many other WW2-era auxiliary military airfields,
Vancourt was returned to active service in 1948.
"Vancourt AF" was depicted on the 1949 Austin Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
as having a 5,300' unpaved runway.
"Vancourt AF" was depicted on the 1954 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
as having a 5,300' unpaved runway.
A 11/6/54 USGS aerial photo showed Vancourt equipped with 3 paved runways,
in contrast to earlier depictions of it having only unpaved runways.
Vancourt may have been the only one of Goodfellow's 7 satellite fields to be improved with paved runways,
to support training of B-25 Mitchell bomber crews.
Thus it became the only one of Goodfellow's satellite fields of which any trace still exists.
The 1957 USGS topo map depicted “Van Court Air Force Auxiliary Airfield #6” as having 3 paved runways & taxiways.
Vancourt was transferred from the control of Goodfellow AFB to Webb AFB in 1958,
until it was closed by the Air Force in 1961.
The Vancourt airfield was no longer depicted at all
on the 1961 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
A 1994 photo by Scott Murdock of the former runway at Vancourt Aux AAF, with the section reused as a drag strip in the background.
As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,
the airfield consists of 3 paved runways (each 5,000 ft long) & a number of taxiways.
Vancourt has been reused as a drag racing strip following its closure by the Air Force,
with the western N/S runway being used as a parking area,
and the NE/SW runway serving as a drag strip.
A June 28, 2005 aerial view looking north at the remains of the Vancourt airfield showed the runways to remain largely intact.
Victory Field, Vernon, TX
34.08 North / 99.29 West (Northwest of Wichita Falls, TX)
This 1942 postcard of Vernon, TX presumably depicts buildings of Victory Field (courtesy of Steve Cruse).
Victory Field was established in 1941 as a contract flying school for primary training
for the Army Air Forces during WW2 by Hunter Flying Service & Richey Flying Service.
At its peak,Victory Field had 122 instructors, 175 aircraft, and 400 cadets for each class.
A WW2 -era aerial view looking southwest at Victory Field, showing 20 single-engine aircraft, along with 2 hangars & other buildings.
Two undated WW2-era unit patches from Victory Field (courtesy of David Brooks).
An undated WW2-era class book cover from Victory Field.
Norman Delker was a flight instructor in the cadet training program from 1942-44.
In his words, "It was a great group of men that did the instructing.
Paul brown was the director of flying at the time. Dan Hunter was the owner of the operation.
We had approximately 200 Fairchild PT-19s in which the cadets were given their first 65 hours in the air.
After that they went on to BT-13s and then AT-6s when they got their wings upon graduation.
It was a wonderful experience."
The base was deactivated in 1944 because of the glut of AAF pilots.
Victory Field was apparently reused as a civil airport (very briefly),
as it was depicted as a commercial airfield on the 1949 Oklahoma City Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
In 1950 the buildings were taken over by the Texas Department of Mental Health & Mental Retardation,
which established the Vernon Center as a unit of Wichita Falls State Hospital.
A 9/6/53 USGS aerial view showed Victory Field after the airfield had been closed but was still completely intact.
Tamara Griffith recalled that "one of the hangars from Victory Field was moved
and is still in use at Wilbarger County Airport [in Vernon].
I learned to open those doors, and wandered through much of the unused areas as a kid
while my dad was usually out crop dusting in Stearmans."
The 1958 USGS topo map depicted 3 paved runways, labeled simply as “Airfield”,
with the former Victory Field buildings labeled as Vernon State Hospital.
Only 1 of the former hangars was still depicted.
By 1978, Victory Field was no longer depicted at all (not even as an abandoned airfield)
on the 1978 DFW Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ray Brindle).
In the 1994 USGS aerial photo, the airfield remains consisted of a single concrete runway (approximately 1,500' long),
along with traces of the other 2 runways.
The last of the 2 hangars had evidently been removed at some point between 1958-94.
In 1995, the property became the Victory Field Correctional Academy, a military-style youth correctional facility.
A 2001 photo by Scott Murdock of the entrance sign at the Victory Field Correctional Academy.
A 6/28/05 aerial view looking south at the site of Victory Field, showing the runway remains behind the prison buildings.
The Handbook of TX Online
Butterfield Trail Airport, North Abilene, TX
32.54 North / 99.77 West (West of Fort Worth, TX)
A 1960 postmark commemorating the dedication of Butterfield Trail Airport.
No airport was yet depicted at this location on a 11/11/54 USGS aerial photo.
This general aviation airport was dedicated in 1960, according to a commemorative postmark.
The earliest depiction which has been located of Butterfield Trail Airport
was on the March 1961 Austin Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It depicted Butterfield Trail Airport as having a 3,100' unpaved runway.
Butterfield Trail evidently gained a paved runway at some point between 1961-63,
as the 1963 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse)
described the field as having a 3,100' paved runway.
It listed the operator as Air Service Inc., and listed the manager as Paul Volgamore.
Linda Medellin reported that “Paul Volgamore often spoke fondly of operating the airport.
He did so after he retired from the Air Force as a Major.”
The only photo which has been located showing Butterfield Trail Airport in operation was a 9/29/67 USGS aerial photo.
It depicted Butterfield as having a one paved runway & one unpaved runway.
Three single-engine planes were visible around 2 hangars on the northeast side.
The 1970 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Ray Brindle) depicted Butterfield Trail
as having a 2,500' asphalt Runway 13/31 & a 3,000' gravel Runway 1/19.
Two hangars were depicted on the northeast side of Runway 13/31.
The fixed-base operator which conducts business today at Abilene Municipal Airport, Abilene Aero,
traces it's roots back to Butterfield Trail Airport.
The business began in 1968 as a partnership with 4 employees.
They moved to Abilene Municipal in 1971.
Butterfield Trail Airport depicted in the 1978 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
as having a 2,500' asphalt Runway 13/31 & a 3,000' gravel Runway 1/19.
Two rows of T-hangars & an office were located along the east side of Runway 13/31.
The managers were listed as O. Higgins & K. Waddell.
Daniel Reese reported, “Kent Waddel was co-founder or owner of Abilene Aero.”
The date of closure of Butterfield Trail Airport is unknown.
According to Randall Reese, in the mid 1970s or early 1980s the property was bought by Westex Drilling Company
and eventually used for storage of oilfield equipment.
The airport was definitely closed prior to 1982,
as it was not listed among active airfields in the 1982 AOPA Airport Directory.
Butterfield Trail Airport was still depicted on the 1987 USGS topo map,
even though it was apparently closed by that point.
As it existed in the 1995 USGS aerial photo,
The 2 runways of the former airport are still quite discernible, although somewhat deteriorated.
Several of the former hangars appear to still be standing.
A circa 2006 aerial photo looking north at the 2 former hangars which remain standing at the site of Butterfield Trail Airport.
The site of Butterfield Trail Airport is located west of the intersection of Route 83 & Market Road.
D-Bar Ranch Airfield, Sanco, TX
32.04 North / 100.46 West (Southwest of Fort Worth, TX)
The Sanco airfield was depicted simply as “Landing Strip” on the 1987 USGS topo map.
Photo of the airfield while open has not been located.
George Horn recalled, “I personally supervised the construction of the airfield.
I personally designed & directed it's construction for the owner, circa 1983-86.
The field is a 5,280' runway built on the 'D-Bar Ranch',
owned at the time by S. E. 'Skinny' Adams & his wife Elsie & their trust.
Skinny was also the owner of Adams Abstract Company in Robt Lee TX.
He was a walking, talking history-book of Coke County & evirons,
and I worked for the family as their chief pilot (under another business they owned, Lamar Savings, of Austin).
Elsie was a retired schoolteacher. Two truly adorable people.
My direct boss was Skinny's son, Stanley Adams, who was CEO of the bank.”
George continued, “The family wanted a runway constructed on top of that mesa
and I designed & supervised its construction.
It consisted of a caliche underlayment & covered with a 2-course oil-penetration mix asphaltic topcoat.
It's center crossed over a dry creek & so triple-corrugated drainage culverts were laid down & the runway was overlaid that arroyo
(you can still see that area as the lighter-colord area alongside the middle portion of the runway).
It was surrounded by a 8' game-proof fence which required 2 drilling rigs to drill 4' deep holes 10' apart
for 12' long creosoted poles for fence posts.
The fencing was a significant expenditure of the project.”
George continued, “It has 300' x 300' turnarounds/parking at each end, and was never lighted.
It was painted with reflective center stripes in 1986.
It was completed over a 3-year period, and the company jet (Hawker), KingAirs, and my personal airplane
used it only a few times, and then it was relegated to an unused status
(remember the S&L failures of 1986?).
It was never registered as a runway with the FAA
and the official position with anyone who asked was that it was merely a 'paving experiment',
not to be used without permission.”
It was depicted as "Landing Strip" on the 1987 USGS topo map.
George Horn recalled, “I left the employ of the Adams family in the late 1980s
and by the late 1990s the runway condition was deplorable & unsafe even for automobiles
as it has small trees & brush which has grown up penetrating the runway.
I advise anyone overflying it to avoid it not only for their own safety
but also to avoid possible legal actions from the property owners who never allowed outside use of it.”
The earliest photo which has been located of the D-Bar Ranch Airfield was a 1/28/96 USGS aerial view looking northwest.
It depicted the airfield as consisting of a single paved 5,280' runway, with a paved ramp area at each end of the runway.
There did not appear to be any signs of any buildings, or any indication that the field had been used recently.
This field was no longer depicted at all (even as an abandoned airfield) on 2002 aeronautical charts.
A 1/21/12 aerial view looking northwest at the remains of the D-Bar Ranch runway.
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