Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Texas - El Paso area

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 2/22/14.

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(Original) El Paso Municipal Airport (revised 4/26/13) - Hueco Airport (revised 3/3/13)

MacGuire Ranch (revised 2/22/14) - Skyport Airport (revised 12/16/11)


(Original) El Paso Municipal Airport, El Paso, TX

31.83 North / 106.43 West (West of Biggs AAF, El Paso, TX)

The layout of the original El Paso Municipal Airport (courtesy of Bill Quinn),

from the 10/7/28 issue of the El Paso Evening Post.


The El Paso Municipal Airport was originally located in a different location than the present-day El Paso International Airport.

A considerable amount of information about the original El Paso Municipal Airport was submitted by William Quinn,

who extracted it from the El Paso International Airport's publication entitled "50 Years of Service".


The first El Paso Municipal Airport was dedicated in 1928,

on a plot of land adjacent to the west side of the Army's Biggs Field.

It had an unpaved all-way landing area measuring 3,150' x 2,750',

with a single 60' x 100' steel hangar along the southeast corner of the field.

Arthur Johnson, a former Army flier, was the first manager of the airport.

 

Amelia Earhart became the first woman flyer to land at the new field, within its first year.

Also within 1928, the first commercial tenant at the new airport was Scenic Aiways (based in Chicago).

Scenic Airways ceased operations by 1930, and was renamed R & L Airways.

 

The first regularly scheduled airline service from the original El Paso Municipal Airport

was initiated in 1929 by Standard Airlines.

Standard Airlines and the TX & Pacific Railroad inaugurated the country's first rail-plane, coast-to-coast service.

 

The 1929 Rand McNally Standard Map of TX (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted 3 airfields in El Paso (from west to east): “Biggs Field”, “Airport Three Sixty Five”, and the “El Paso Airport”.

It described the El Paso Airport as being 200 acres in size.


By 1929, only one year after the Municipal Airport had opened,

Standard Airlines decided it had outgrown the field, and established Standard Airport to the southeast

(which would eventually become El Paso International Airport).

 

The first airmail service for El Paso was provided in 1930 by Southern Air Fast Express (later a division of American Airlines),

with the inaugural flight being conducted through El Paso Municipal Airport.

However, all future airmail flights were conducted at Standard Airport.

 

By 1930, activities at El Paso Municipal Airport consisted of private aircraft, charter aircraft, and a flying school.


The location & layout of the El Paso Municipal Airport,

as depicted on the 9/13/30 Department of Commerce Airway Bulletin (courtesy of Jonathan Westerling).

It described El Paso as being owned & operated by the City of El Paso,

and consisting of a 316-acre irregularly-shaped hard field.

Hangars were located on the southwest corner of the field.


The 1932 Air Navigation Map #30 (courtesy of Bill Johnston)

depicted the El Paso Airport as one of 3 airfields in close proximity.


El Paso Municipal Airport, as depicted on the 1935 Roswell Sectional Chart.


A 1936 aerial photo looking northeast at the original El Paso Municipal Airport (courtesy of Bill Quinn).

The 2 hangars of El Paso Municipal Airport are at the bottom-center,

and the dirigible hangar of Biggs AAF is at the top-right.

 

The above 1936 aerial photo shows that a second, larger hangar had been built,

along Railroad Drive on the southeast side of the field.

A total of six unpaved runways were visible on the airfield's landing area.

 

American Airlines & the City of El Paso traded airports in 1936,

and in 1938 two hangars were moved from the original Municipal Airport to the new El Paso City Airport.


The original El Paso Municipal Airport was no longer depicted at all (not even as an abandoned airfield)

on the 1939 USGS topo map,

nor on the 1965 El Paso Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).


According to Bill Quinn, "I am not sure when the airfield ceased operation all together.

I do recall it was just vacant land for many years,

when around 2000 it became a concrete batching plant & railhead for Jobe Concrete Products."

 

A clue as to the previous occupant of the property is found on USGS topo maps from 1983 & 1997,

which still labeled the area as "Planeport".

 

A 2002 USGS aerial photo of the site of the original El Paso Municipal Airport.

The circular tank of the El Paso city waterworks at the bottom-center is the same one visible in the above 1936 aerial photo.

But there does not appear to be any trace remaining of the former airfield at the site.

 

Two 2002 photos by Bill Quinn of the site of the former El Paso Municipal Airport,

now the "Planeport" plant of Jobe Concrete Products.


The site of the original El Paso Municipal Airport is located northeast of the intersection of Railroad Drive & Fred Wilson Road,

adjacent to the west side of Biggs Army Airfield.

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Hueco Airport (4E8), El Paso, TX

31.84 North / 106.13 West (East of El Paso, TX)

Hueco Airport, as depicted on the 1974 USGS topo map.

Photo of the airfield while operational has not been located.


This private airfield was evidently established at some point after 1962

as it was not listed among active airfields in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory.


It was originally intended to be used as a private airstrip for John Barnett's plane.

In 1968, after attending several auto races in Mexico,

Barnett got the idea to operate a racetrack on the airport site.

The first race at the "El Paso Dragway" was held in 1969,

and for the next several years the airport was apparently simultaneously used as a racetrack.


The earliest depiction which has been located of the Hueco Airport was on the 1974 USGS topo map.


Hueco Airport was listed as a private airfield in the 1982 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Ed Drury),

which described the field as consisting of a 2,600' asphalt Runway 18/36 & a 2,500' dirt Runway 9/27.


It was closed as an airfield at some point between 1982-95,

as the 1995 USGS topo map labeled the site only as "Drag Strip".


As seen in a 2/10/96 USGS aerial view looking northwest,

the former Runway 18/36 (which had been reused as the drag strip) had been lengthened to 3,600',

but there was no trace remaining of the former Runway 9/27.

 

A 2003 photo looking southwest from 16,000 feet at the former Hueco Airport, by Bill Suffa.


An 11/5/12 aerial view looking northwestat the former Hueco Airport.

 

Today, the former Hueco Airport is known as Thunder Alley Dragway.


The site of Hueco Airport is located north of Route 62, 8 miles east of Route 375.

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Skyport Airport (4E7), El Paso, TX

31.95 North / 106.42 West (North of El Paso, TX)

Skyport Airport, as depicted on the 1955 USGS topo map.

Photo of the airfield while operational has not been located.


The date of construction of this small general aviation airport has not been determined. 


The earliest depiction which has been located of Skyport Airport was on the 1955 USGS topo map.

It depicted 2 perpendicular runways & 2 taxiways, labeled simply as “Landing Area”.


Skyport was not listed among active airfields in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory.


The earliest airport directory listing which has been located of Skyport Airport was in the 1963 TX Airport Directory.

It was described as having a 5,000' “sod” runway,

along with the remark, "Private, restricted to skydiving & soaring only."

The manager was listed as Skydivers of El Paso, Inc.


Steve Wood recalled, “Skyport Airport... In 1965-66 I was an Army Aviator stationed at Biggs Army Airfield.

Ft. Bliss had a skydiving team who used this field for their skydiving activities.

I often flew the skydivers to this airport for their jumps from a De Havilland U-6 Beaver.

At that time, there were no facilities or buildings on the site.

The field was also used for glider towing & launching.

I don't know who maintained the dirt runways but they were in good condition.”


The 1967 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Jonathan Westerling)

described Skyport as “Private airstrip closed to Public.

Used by Skydivers of El Paso. Visiting skydivers welcome.”

It was said to have 2 dirt runways: 5,090' Runway 15/33 & 2,950' Runway 6/24.


Skyport Airport, as depicted on the 1974 USGS topo map.


The 1979 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Jonathan Westerling)

described Skyport as “Private. Closed to public. Parachuting activities reported.”

It was said to have 2 dirt runways: 5,000' Runway 15/33 & 3,000' Runway 6/24.


Skyport Airport was listed as a private airfield in the 1982 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Ed Drury),

which described the field as consisting of a 5,000' dirt Runway 15/33 & a 3,000' dirt Runway 6/24.


It may have been closed by 1983,

as the 1983 USGS topo maps label the field simply "Landing Strips".


Don Tedrow recalled, "It was used occasionally for skydiving up until about 1987.

Sometime around 1986 or 1987, I landed there with a friend in a Citabria,

on a weekend when the jump club was using it.

As you can see in the photos, there was some sort of ditch dug across the main Runway 15/33.

I don't know the purpose, most likely a pipeline of some sort.

It left a pretty severe dip & bump in the runway."


The 1995 USGS topo map depicted the 2 runways & several taxiways, labeled simply as "Landing Area".


The 1996 USGS aerial photo showed the 2 runways & the connecting taxiway still existed in good condition.


As seen in the 2002 USGS aerial photo,

the remains of the 2 runways & the taxiway were still intact.

There did not appear to be any original airfield buildings remaining at the airfield site.

 

According to Don Tedrow, "The structure(s) at the bottom of the 2002 photo

are the runways & shelter for an El Paso radio control aircraft club.

So in a sense, the 'airfield' is still in use!"


A circa 2006 aerial view looking south at 2 of the runways of the former Skyport Airport.


David Patterson noted in 2006, “Within 5-10 years,

the entire area around the landing strip will be covered with new homes & businesses.”


A 2007 photo by Jonathan Westerling of the shelter of the Burnett Model Air Park adjacent to the southeast side of the former Skyport Airport.


A 2007 photo by Jonathan Westerling, “Looking north up the longer runway at El Paso Skyport.”

Jonathan reported, “It is really amazing how fast they are building houses down there.

In a year & a half the encroaching developments have chewed up a half mile of desert

and now come all the way up to the west end of the former Skyport runway.

As an aside, this DID make it much easier to drive right up to the site for photos without having to bushwack through the sagebrush,

so there is a small a silver lining I suppose.

The runway & taxiways are hard packed soil with grass growing up along their length.

I was unable to find any remnants of other aviation infrastructure on site.”


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MacGuire Ranch Airfield, El Paso, TX

31.53 North / 105.73 West (Southeast of El Paso, TX)

A 1/1/74 USGS aerial view depicted MacGuire Ranch as having 2 unpaved runways.


According to an obituary on the website of the War Eagles Air Museum (courtesy of Don Tedrow),

this was the private airfield of John MacGuire, a rancher & devoted pilot.

The date of construction of the MacGuire Ranch Airfield has not been determined.

MacGuire moved to the El Paso area in 1947.

He kept many of his warbirds at his private airfield.


The earliest depiction of the MacGuire Ranch Airfield which has been located was on the 1965 El Paso Sectional Chart.

It described the MacGuire Farm Airfield as a private field having a single 2,700' bare runway.


The earliest photo of the MacGuire Ranch Airfield which has been located was on a 1/1/74 USGS aerial view.

It depicted MacGuire as having 2 unpaved runways.


The 1978 USGS topo map depicted the 3 runways,

labeled simply as “Landing Strips”.


The 1985 USGS topo map continued to depict 3 runways labeled simply as “Landing Strips”.


MacGuire eventually moved his warbird collection

after founding the War Eagles Museum at Santa Teresa Airport in 1989.


As seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

the MacGuire Ranch Airfield consisted of 3 runways (the longest, 5/23, is 9,200')

& a small ramp & hangar on the south side of the field.

The largest runway had been added at some point between 1974-96.

The MacGuire's ranch house was also located just to the south of the airfield.

The MacGuire Ranch Airfield appeared to still be active, as the runways were not marked with closed runway symbols,

and there was a small plane next to the hangar.


However, the MacGuire Ranch Airfield was depicted as an abandoned airfield on the 1998 World Aeronautical Chart.


Airfield owner John MacGuire died in 2001 at age 80.


A 3/23/08 aerial view by Marc Ellman looking west at the MacGuire Ranch Airfield.

Marc observed, “The runway is still in decent condition. It sits near the edge of a cliff East of El Paso.”


A 3/23/08 aerial view by Marc Ellman looking southeast at the smiley-face painted on the turnaround pad at the end of MacGuire's Runway 23.


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