Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Texas - Laredo area

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 4/12/14.



Eagle Pass Aux AAF #1 (revised 7/7/12) - Eagle Pass Aux AAF #3 / Barnard Ranch / Chittim Ranch (revised 7/7/12)

Eagle Pass Municipal (revised 4/12/14) - Laredo AF Aux #2 (revised 3/20/14) - Laredo Municipal Airport (revised 3/20/14)

Link Ranch (revised 7/7/12) - Val Verde County Airport (revised 6/30/13) - Winn Exploration (revised 3/20/14)



Laredo Air Force Auxiliary Airfield #2, Aguilares, TX

27.46 North / 99.23 West (East of Laredo, TX)

A 4/15/55 USGS aerial view of Laredo AFB Aux Field #2.



No airfield was depicted at this location on the 1940 USGS topo map.



According to "Air Force Bases" (USAF Historical Division, courtesy of Steven McNicoll),

this airfield was activated in 1953 as Ike Hirsch Auxiliary Airfield, a satellite field for Laredo AFB.



A pilot recalled recalled, “I graduated from Laredo February 1, 1954.

At that time we flew T-28A & T-33 aircraft.

I instructed at Laredo in both aircraft from summer 1954 until June 1957.

We used the field [Laredo Aux #2] primarily for touch & go landings & simulated flameout patterns.

Sometimes with & sometimes without mobile control. I was mobile controller there several times.

We used a mobile tower mounted on a truck frame which was a top-heavy monster to drive back & forth to the field.

It contained radios & flare chutes into which you could fix the flare guns.

It sometimes got a bit hairy with T-33s flying simulated flameouts & no-flap approaches.

A good friend & roommate died in a mid-air collision there.”



The earliest depiction which has been located of Laredo Aux #2 was on a 4/15/55 USGS aerial view.

It depicted the field as having an asphalt northwest/southeast runway with a parallel taxiway & ramp on the east side.



“Laredo AFB Aux Field #2”, as depicted on the 1956 USGS topo map.



Tom Dowling recalled, “I was a student of Laredo AFB Class 71-02.

One Friday night before graduation from T-37s, about 10 of use went out to Barfly [Laredo Aux #2]

and painted our class numerals in 49 foot high letters on one end of the runway.

The following Tuesday Colonel Robert Parsons, then the base commander had our class stay after.

He sad the usual things like defacing government property, etc.

He then described us as one of the most '**** hot classes' he had seen at Laredo.

He then joined us the following Friday after flying to cover over the yellow with gray. I have no idea if the gray still shows.”



According to Col. Carl Gough Jr., USAFR

(who was a student & T-37 Instructor Pilot at Laredo AFB from 1970 until the base closed in 1973),

Auxiliary Field #2 was used by T-37 trainers practicing VFR patterns,

and was known as "Bar Fly".

Every student pilot that attended pilot training at Laredo AFB soloed out in the T-37 at Bar Fly.

The instructor would shut down the right engine,

exit the aircraft & watch while the student started the right engine.

After restarting the engine the student would call for take off

and the instructor would walk across the runway & observe from the mobile unit.

After 4 or 5 landings the student would clear the runway

and pick up the instructor for the return to Laredo AFB.

 

The 2 small teardrop-looking areas on the west side of the runway

were the locations of the mobile units for controlling traffic.

An instructor & 2 students would drive from Laredo AFB

and spend about 6 hours in the mobile unit directing traffic & grading landings.

 The airfield was inactivated by the Air Force in 1973.

 

The 1977 USGS topo map depicted the field as having a single paved northwest/southeast runway, labeled as "Laredo Aux (Closed)".



The 1980 USGS topo map depicted Laredo Aux #2 as having a massive 10,400' paved northwest/southeast runway with a parallel taxiway,

labeled as "Test Facility".



As seen in a 1995 USGS aerial view looking southeast,

several new buildings or other construction had been placed over the center of the runway & the taxiway,

apparently in the facility's new role as a "Test Facility".

It is not known exactly what the current use of the facility is.



A 2003 photo by Scott Murdock of the entrance sign at the former Laredo Aux #2 Airfield.

The entrance road was gated, with a sign saying "Restricted Area. Test vehicles in operation.

Permission to enter must be obtained before proceeding into the proving ground."

However, the sign fails give any indication about from whom permission must be obtained.



A 2005 aerial view showed the Laredo Aux #2 runway to remain in fine condition.



Marvin Whiteley reported in 2007, “This runway is under private control & is used at times for cropdusters.

My nephew is the manager of this 25,000 acres, running cattle & deer hunters (as of 2005), his name is D.J. Fruge.

Michelen tire ran a testing facility at this location for some time in the past.”



Evan Hodgden reported in July 2007, “The sign at the Laredo AFB Aux Bar-fly is exactly the same as depicted in the 2003 picture.

Lots of the students simply referred to Bar-fly as Barf, as in 'We'll also be going to Barf today.'”



A circa 2007 aerial view looking north at several buildings located along the Laredo Aux #2 runway & ramp.



A 12/17/12 aerial view looking southeast at the Laredo Aux #2 runway showed it to be considerably deteriorated,

with many plants poking up through the pavement.



____________________________________________________

 

Link Ranch Airfield, Laredo, TX

27.43 North / 99.47 West (Southwest of San Antonio, TX)

Link Ranch Airfield, as depicted on the 1956 USGS topo map.

Photo of the airfield while open has not been located.



This airfield was evidently built at some point between 1954-62,

as it was not depicted on the August 1954 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The earliest reference to the Link Ranch Airfield which has been located was the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,

which described the field as having a single 2,100' asphalt Runway 13/31,

and listed the operator as G.F. Link.



Spencer Wood recalled, “In 1955 I started flying with my father and in 8/56 soloed at Laredo Municipal Airport.

When my father purchased a metal prop, and considering the gravel which saturated the runway at Laredo Municipal, he started looking for a new base to fly from.

He had met George Link at his place of business in Laredo.

From that initial meeting Mr. Link extended rights for my father to tie down our Ercoupe at the Link Airport.

The photos & sketches do not 'do justice' to Link. It was developed by someone who had no concept of prevailing winds.

Generally you could count on a 45-90 degree 15-20+ knot crosswind.

With a pond at one end & a cliff at the other up & down drafts were a real pain, and for a young pilot it was a real challenge, but I never had an incident.

At Link we were never bothered by theft problems, which were rampant at Laredo Municipal.”



The earliest depiction which has been located of Link Ranch Airfield was on the 1956 USGS topo map.



Spencer Wood recalled, “I got my private [pilot's license] in 8/57 & flew out of Link with my dad until late 1958.”



The 1963 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse) depicted Link Ranch as having a single 2,100' asphalt Runway 16/34,

with 2 T-hangars east of the runway.

 

The February 1964 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted the Link Ranch airfield as having a 2,100' hard-surface runway.

 

The airport was apparently still in use in 1969,

as a cropduster Cessna 188 was destroyed that year after suffering an engine failure upon takeoff at the Link Ranch,

according to an NTSB report.

 

Of that crash, George Frank Link III (grandson of the Link Ranch Airfield founder) recalled,

"I was born in 1969 so I missed the event but spent many years crawling on & around the wreckage

after my grandfather hauled it to his dump located behind his house.

N317UP was George Link Sr.'s last airplane (a Skylane);

he owned up until he lost his medical.

N417UP was a British Islander we used for La Posada Airways

which back in the day used to haul ritzy folk from hotel to hotel back when money flowed a little easier.

My dad George Link Jr. was the pilot of that bird.

His co-pilot's name was Skip Reed."

 

The 1979 USGS topo map depicted Link Ranch as having 2 paved runways, labeled “Landing Strips”, and a ramp northeast of the runway intersection.



The Link Ranch airfield closed at an unknown date, between 1969-82,

as it was not listed among active airfields in the 1982 AOPA Airport Directory.

 

In the 1995 USGS aerial photo, the primary runway still remained intact,

with closed runway "X" markings still recognizable.

A crosswind runway of approximately 1,000' had apparently been added at some point, as well.



At some point between 1995-2004, the northern end of the former Link Ranch Airfield was covered by what else – a new housing development,

as seen in the 2002 USGS aerial photo.

The majority of the pavement of the 2 runways remained intact.

The hangar on the northeast side of the field had also been removed.



A circa 2006 aerial view looking south at the remains of the 2 runways, as well as the foundation of the hangar.



The Link Ranch Airfield is located on the east side of Route 83, 5 miles south of Laredo.

It is only one mile from the Mexican border.

____________________________________________________

 

Laredo Municipal Airport, Del Mar, TX

27.61 North / 99.52 West (North of Laredo, TX)

Laredo Municipal Airport, as depicted on the August 1954 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



This municipal airport was apparently built at some point between 1949-54,

as it was not depicted on the 1949 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

The earliest reference to Laredo Municipal Airport which has been located

was on the August 1954 Corpus Christi Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as having a 3,000' hard-surface runway.



Laredo Municipal Airport, as depicted on the 1956 USGS topo map.



Spencer Wood recalled, “In 1955 I started flying with my father and in 8/56 soloed at Laredo Municipal Airport.

In those days this airport was a step above landing on any bad county road.

When my father purchased a metal prop, and considering the gravel which saturated the runway at Laredo Municipal, he started looking for a new base to fly from.

Theft problems were rampant at Laredo Municipal, not to mention the crop dusters which like to depart from the taxiways, with looking for other traffic.”



The 1962 AOPA Airport Directory described Laredo Municipal Airport as having a single 3,300' asphalt runway (13/31),

and listed the operator as the City of Laredo.



The 1963 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse) showed that the field had a US Customs office,

and a private heliport & hangar sat northwest of the runway.



The earliest photo which has been located of Laredo Municipal Airport was a 2/25/64 USGS aerial view.

It depicted the field as having a single paved northwest/southeast runway with a parallel taxiway,

and a dozen light aircraft & several small hangars on the southwest side.



Max Hottell recalled, “The Laredo Municipal Airport located on the Old Mines Road also had military operations on it in the late 1960s.

The Air Force had a contract flight school operation using civilian contract instructors flying T-41 aircraft.

The T-41 was a Cessna 172 with only 2 seats & a climb prop. Students spent the first 6 weeks of their pilot training in the T-41 program.

To administer the program 3 Air Force Instructor Pilots & 1 enlisted maintenance man

were assigned as Technical Representatives for The Contracting Officer (TRCO).

I was the senior TRCO in 1968, 1969 and early 1970.”



Evan Hodgden recalled, “I went to Laredo AFB Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 72-07 from April 1971 - March 1972.

The Laredo Municipal Airport was the site of T-41 training for Laredo AFB,

pre-T37 training (the T-41 flying closed in 1973).”



Due to its location less than 2 miles northeast of the Mexican border,

in the 1960s & 1970s the old Laredo Airport was often the scene of

flights to & from Mexico carrying goods which were not necessarily legal to be imported or exported.

This included liquor, gold, narcotics, illegal aliens, mercury, lime oil, guns, consumer electronics, etc.



Evan Hodgden recalled, “I went to Laredo AFB UPT Class 72-07 from April 1971 – March 1972.

Laredo Municipal was the site of T-41 training for Laredo AFB, pre-T37 training. The T-41 flying closed in 1973.

I believe it moved to HDO and became part of OTS, rather than screening after the pilot candidates were commissioned.”



A circa 1972 aerial view looking west at the Laredo Municipal hangar & FBO building (courtesy of Mike Hoover),

with a large variety of planes on the ramp.

Mike recalled, “I was a junior in High School and happened to be employed there in the summer of 1972.

At the time I was there Mrs. Betty Morgan was the proprietor. Her husband, Don Morgan, had passed away sometime earlier; I never met him.

It was my understanding that Mr. Morgan was a key player at the airport in its early history.

The FBO was known, of course, as Morgan Aviation Services. If you look closely I believe you can see Don Morgan’s name at the edge of the hangar.

I have very fond memories of that summer. Mrs. Morgan was very good to me.

Of course the LAFB closed the very next year & shortly thereafter became the main Laredo Civil Airport.

That event marked the end of the line for the old airport.”



The much larger Laredo AFB (a few miles southeast) closed in 1973,

at which point it became the new Laredo International Airport.

 

Laredo Airport was still depicted on the 1977 & 1980 USGS topographical maps.

 

The 1980 USGS topo map showed that the runway at Laredo Municipal had been lengthened to 7,700'.

It also had a parallel taxiway, a ramp, and several hangars west of the southern end of the runway.

 

Laredo Municipal Airport apparently closed at some point between 1980-83,

as it was labeled "Abandoned Landing Strip" on the 1983 USGS topo map.

 

At some point between 1983-87, the former Laredo Municipal Airport was evidently reopened as a private airfield,

as the 1987 CH-23 World Aeronautical Chart (according to David Brooks)

depicted a "Killam & Hurd" private airfield at the same location.

 

The private "Killam & Hurd" airfield was depicted on the 1991 CH-23 World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of David Brooks)

as having a single 7,200' paved runway.

 

The use of the site as a private airfield had apparently come to an end at some point between 1991-95,

as the 1995 USGS aerial photo showed that the site had been redeveloped as an industrial park,

with numerous buildings being erected over the former runway.

Several thousand feet of runway pavement still existed both north & south of Killam Industrial Boulevard in the 1995 photo.



As seen in the 2004 USGS aerial photo, the area around the site of the former Laredo Municipal Airport has become even more developed,

but the remains of the former runway are still very much recognizable.



A circa 2007 aerial view looking west at what appears to be a former Laredo Municipal Airport hangar.



The site of the former airport is located east of Mines Road,

at Killam Industrial Boulevard (which was built over the midpoint of the former runway).

 

Thanks to Todd Greenberg for pointing out this airfield.

 

See also:

http://www.aerobourne.com/11laredo.htm

http://www.aerobourne.com/12speckl.htm

____________________________________________________



Eagle Pass Auxiliary Army Airfield #1 / Cueves Field, Spofford, TX

29.03 North / 100.53 West (South-Southeast of Laughlin AFB, TX)

A 10/26/43 aerial view looking north at “Eagle Pass AAF Auxiliary #1 (Cueves Field)”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This field was used during WW2 as one of 3 satellite airfields for Eagle Pass AAF,

which conducted basic & advanced single engine flight training.

The date of construction of Eagle Pass Aux #1 has not been determined,

but Eagle Pass AAF itself became operational in 1942.



The only photo which has been located showing Eagle Pass Aux #1

when it was operational was a 10/26/43 aerial view from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Eagle Pass AAF Auxiliary #1 (Cueves Field)”

as an unpaved square landing area within which may have been 2 unpaved east/west runways.



The 1944 USGS topo map depicted Eagle Pass Auxiliary Landing Field #1 as consisting of a square landing area.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Eagle Pass Aux #1 which has been located

was on the July 1945 Edwards Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Eagle Pass Aux #1 was already described as “Inactive” in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It described Eagle Pass AAF Auxiliary #1 (Cueves Field)”

as a 625 acre square property within which was a “sod” all-way field measuring 5,303' by 5,247'.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by private interests, and to be operated by the Army Air Forces.



Eagle Pass Auxiliary #1 was apparently never reused as a civil airfield, due to its remote location.

It was no longer depicted at all on the 1952 Edwards Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy),

the 1966 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Price),

or on the USGS topo maps from 1969.



The 3/7/96 USGS aerial photo showed the former Eagle Pass Auxiliary Army Airfield #1 to be a one-mile square.

An unknown structure (an oil well?) had been constructed on the middle of the former airfield.



A 3/31/08 aerial view showed the site of the former Eagle Pass Auxiliary Army Airfield #1 is still recognizable,

as a one-mile square, oriented diagonally (into the prevailing wind).

This orientation also matches the alignment of the runways at Eagle Pass Aux #3.



The site of Eagle Pass #1 is located 3 miles west of Route 131, 12 miles southwest of Spofford.



Thanks to Chris Kennedy for locating this field.

 ____________________________________________________



Eagle Pass Auxiliary Army Airfield #3 / Barnard Ranch Airfield / Chittim Ranch Airfield,

Eagle Pass, TX

28.69 North / 100.35 West (South-Southeast of Laughlin AFB, TX)

A 10/26/43 aerial view looking north at “Eagle Pass AAF Auxiliary #3”

from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This field was used during WW2 as one of 3 satellite airfields for Eagle Pass AAF,

which conducted basic & advanced single engine flight training.

The date of construction of Eagle Pass Aux #3 has not been determined,

but Eagle Pass AAF itself became operational in 1942.



The only photo which has been located showing Eagle Pass Aux #3

when it was operational was a 10/26/43 aerial view from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted “Eagle Pass AAF Auxiliary #3” as an unpaved L-shaped landing area.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Eagle Pass Aux #3 which has been located

was on the July 1945 Edwards Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Eagle Pass Aux #3 was already described as “Inactive” in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It described Eagle Pass AAF Auxiliary #3”

as a 560 acre irregularly-shaped property having 2 bituminous 4,000' runways, oriented northeast/southwest & northwest/southeast.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by private interests, and to be operated by the Army Air Forces.



The Eagle Pass Aux #3 airfield was apparently reused for some unknown period of time as a private civil airfield,

as it was labeled "Barnard Ranch (Pvt)" on the 1954 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It was described as having a 3,500' hard-surface runway.



No airfield at this location was depicted on the 1956 USGS 250k topo map.

 

The airfield had been renamed "Chittim Ranch (Pvt)"

by the time of the 1957 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The Aerodromes table on the chart described the field as having 2 runways,

with the longest being a 3,000' concrete strip.



The Chittim Ranch airfield was apparently abandoned at some point between 1957-61,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the January 1961 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

or the 1966 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Price).

 

The 1982 USGS topo map depicted only the northeast/southwest runway, labeled simply as “Landing Strip”.



As of the 3/7/96 USGS aerial photo,

the two 3,000' runways had decayed to a very poor condition but were still clearly recognizable.



The former airfield was no longer depicted at all (even as an abandoned airfield) on the 1998 World Aeronautical Chart.



A 3/31/08 aerial photo showed the two 3,000' runways had decayed to a very poor condition but were still clearly recognizable.



The site of Eagle Pass #3 is located on the north side of Route 277,

eight miles east of the town of Eagle Pass.

____________________________________________________

 

Eagle Pass Municipal Airport (EGP), Eagle Pass, TX

28.7 North / 100.48 West (Southwest of San Antonio, TX)

Eagle Pass Municipal Airport, as depicted on the 1943 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

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

The earliest depiction of Eagle Pass Municipal Airport which has been located

was in the 1934 Department of Commerce Airfield Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).

It described the "Eagle Pass Airport" as being located on the eastern edge of the city on Highway 85,

and described the airfield as being a rectangular sod field.

 

Eagle Pass was depicted as an auxiliary airfield

on the 1943 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

However, Eagle Pass Airport may have been temporarily closed during WW2

(due to wartime security concerns, as was the case at many other small civil airports during the war),

as it was not depicted at all on the 1944 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

nor listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



Eagle Pass Airport was apparently reopened at some point in 1945,

as "Eagle Pass" was depicted as an auxiliary airfield

on the July 1945 Edwards Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The earliest photo which has been located showing Eagle Pass Municipal Airport was an 8/7/46 USGS aerial view.

It Eagle Pass as having 2 unpaved runways, with a few small buildings along the northwest side.



"Eagle Pass" was depicted as a commercial/municipal airport

on the 1954 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It was described as having a 3,000' unpaved runway.

 

The Aerodromes table on the 1957 Del Rio Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

described Eagle Pass Municipal as having 3 runways,

with the longest being a 3,000' turf strip.

 

The runway at Eagle Pass was evidently paved at some point between 1957-61,

as the January 1961 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described the field as having a 2,600' hard-surface runway.

 

The 1962 AOPA Airport Directory described Eagle Pass Municipal Airport as having with 2 paved runways,

and listed the operator as the City of Eagle Pass & Maverick County.

 

The 1963 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse)

depicted Eagle Pass Municipal Airport as having a 2,600' asphalt Runway 16/34,

and a crosswind Runway 12/30 (of which 580' was paved, with the remainder being turf).

Five hangars were depicted on a paved ramp along the west side.

The operators were listed as Al Apts Aero Service & Border Aero Services.



The 1966 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Price) depicted Eagle Pass Airport as having a 3,200' runway.



The 1983 USGS topo map depicted Eagle Pass Municipal Airport as having a single paved northwest/southeast runway,

with the former crosswind runway evidently having been closed at some point between 1963-83.



By the time of the 1985 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse),

Runway 16/34 had been lengthened to 3,025', and the operator was listed as Bravo Aero Service.

 

The last photo which has been located showing the Eagle Pass Municipal Airport while it was operational

was a 3/7/96 USGS aerial view looking south.

It depicted 5 light single-engine aircraft on the ramp on the west side of the field.



Eagle Pass Municipal was closed sometime between 1996-2001,

after the former Eagle Pass AAF to the north was closed by the military

and reopened as a civil airport, Maverick County Memorial International Airport.

 

According to Lowell McManus, Eagle Pass Municipal Airport

was promptly subdivided & sold for commercial development.

A large new U.S. Post Office & several smaller businesses have already been built,

and 14 acres of it have been purchased for a new Wal-Mart Super Center.

"The new Wal-Mart Supercenter was completed & opened in the fall of 2002.

There is now no obvious evidence that the site was ever an airport."



However, a 3/31/08 aerial photo show that a small northern portion of the former runway still remains.

However, all of the former hangars along the west side of the site have been replaced by modern buildings.

____________________________________________________

 

Winn Exploration Company Airport (6TA4), Eagle Pass, TX

28.72 North / 100.41 West (Southwest of San Antonio, TX)

The Winn Airfield was simply depicted as “Landing Strip” on the 1975 USGS topo map.



This private airfield was evidently constructed at some point between 1966-75,

as it was not yet depicted on the 1966 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Price).

The earliest depiction of the Winn Airfield which has been located was on the 1975 USGS topo map,

which depicted a single northwest/southeast runway, labeled simply as “Landing Strip”.



The earliest aeronautical depiction of the Winn Airfield which has been located

was on the 1985 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Steve Cruse).

It depicted Winn as a private airfield with a 6,300' runway.



Evan Hodgden recalled, “Winn Petroleum Field...

In late 1982 I interviewed for the Citation copilot job in Eagle Pass.

I was one of #10 of 11 interviewed & was told I had the job except for one more pilot from Houston. He got the job.

The aircraft was a [Cessna Citation] 501 model I think, and the 2nd aircraft a Cessna 210.

The aircraft were kept in a hangar at the south end of the field.

Mr. Winn was a very successful oil man, indeed. He had family members in the business also.

Since I was the 1st in line to be hired at the time, I got ushered into Mr. Winn's office for an interview with the boss.

Mr. Winn was quite an impressive figure & businessman.

The office was ultra-plush & his big game trophies from all over the world were extraordinary.

In late 1983 or early 1984 the Citation crashed at the Winn Field. I read the accident report.

They made an approach descending through an overcast, canceled IFR,

were not aligned with the runway & executed a missed approach to a circling VFR approach.

Apparently they got too low & slow returning to the field & impacted on base to final on sloping terrain somehow.

The Winn field sat on a plateau above the surrounding terrain & the highway leading in & out of town.

They mostly slid on impact.

I don't think their aviation department lasted long after that.”



Dave Roach recalled, “My father used to fly for Winn Exploration in the late 1980s.

I have flown in & out of it.”



As seen in a 1996 USGS aerial view looking southeast,

the airfield at Winn consisted of a single paved runway, a ramp & a single hangar.



As of 2003 this airfield was listed in the FAA Airport/Facility Directory as an active private airfield,

but with the note "Airport closed indefinitely".

It was listed as having 2 aircraft based at the field (including 1 jet),

and the runway configuration was listed as a single 6,300' paved Runway 14/32.



A 5/10/12 aerial view looking southeast showed the field remained unchanged compared to the 1996 photo.

Note the prominent “W” painted on the paved circle in the middle of the runway.

____________________________________________________

 

Val Verde County Airport, Del Rio, TX

29.38 North / 100.82 West (West of San Antonio, TX)

The 1943 USGS topo map depicted the Val Verde County Airport as having 3 paved runways.



A postmark commemorated the 1/27/42 Dedication of Val Verde County Airport.



According to Scott Murdock,

this fairly substantial airport was leased in 1943 as an auxiliary to Laughlin Field (which sits right across Route 90).



The earliest depiction of Val Verde County Airport which has been located was on the 1943 USGS topo map.

It depicted the "Val Verde County Airport" as having 3 paved runways,

with one small building & a beacon on the west side of the field.



The earliest photo which has been located of the Val Verde County Airport

was a 10/26/43 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted the the field as having 3 paved runways.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Val Verde County Airport which has been located

was on the 1944 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted "Val Verde County" as an auxiliary airfield.

 

The July 1945 Edwards Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

also depicted "Val Verde County" as an auxiliary airfield.



According to Scott Murdock,

Val Verde County Airport was declared surplus by the military in 1945.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Val Verde County Airport”

as a 250 acre triangular property having 3 asphalt runways, with the longest being a 5,200' east/west strip.

The field was said to not have any hangars,

to be owned by Val Verde County, but not be to in operation.



A 4/25/50 USGS aerial photo showed the Val Verde County Airport to remain intact but evidently abandoned.

It consisted of 3 paved runways arranged in a triangle, with a paved ramp & one small building on the south side.



A list of offices of the National Weather Bureau stated that the local office

was located in the Administrative Building of the Val Verde County Airport from 1951-57.

 

Scott Murdock indicated that Val Verde County Airport was reactivated by the military in 1952.

 

However, the 1954 Edward's Plateau World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

appeared to still depict Val Verde County as a civilian airport, not military.

It was described as having a 4,900' hard-surface runway.

 

"Val Verde Co AF", as depicted on the 1957 Del Rio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

In 1957 the airfield was transferred from Air Training Command to Strategic Air Command,

and in 1958 it was redesignated Laughlin Service Annex.

It was disposed of in 1959.

 

Val Verde County Airport was presumably never reused after that point for civilian aviation,

as it was not depicted at all on the 1961 World Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

The closure of Val Verde County Airport was undoubtedly caused by its unfortunate proximity to Laughlin AFB,

whose runways are only 1.5 miles to the southeast.

 

It was depicted as "Aband arpt" on the 1966 Edwards Plateau WAC Chart (courtesy of Robert Brown).

 

The former airfield was not depicted at all on the 1969 USGS topo map.



Jesse Kent was an instructor pilot in T-38s at Laughlin AFB from 1969-72,

and he recalled seeing the runways of the abandoned Val Verde County Airport while on approach to Laughlin.

"While I was there (stationed at Laughlin) you could still see the triangular shape of the runways in the midst of the mesquite.

It was directly underneath our traffic pattern.

My roommate & fellow T-38 IP [Instructor Pilot], Bob Ladley, from Uvalde, TX,

was killed on the grounds of that old airport in 1969 while on an instructional ride with a student pilot

(T-38 heavyweight single-engine final turn for Runway 14L)."



A 3/23/71 USGS aerial photo showed the Val Verde County Airport during its period of reuse by the USAF.

All 3 paved runways remained intact, although 2 of them had been narrowed at some point between 1950-71.

The ramp on the south side was still recognizable, but new roads had been overlaid on it.



"Another young T-38 IP, Bob Seabury, was killed on the old field in [May of 1971]

when the hydraulic system pitch control seized during a night touch & go on Runway 32R.

Captain Seabury & his student ejected at low altitude.

The student got a good chute, but came down in the flames of the wreckage,

which was right in the middle of Highway 90.

He died from burns & trauma a few days later.

Bob Seabury's ejection trajectory carried him to his death straight out through the mesquite trees on the old airport.

He had just returned from a tour of duty in Viet Nam in F-100s,

and had a brand new [son].

Though new at Laughlin, he had a reputation as an outstanding pilot."

 

Jason Seabury recalled, "My father, Bob Seabury, is the deceased T-38 pilot.

My dad's accident was in May of 1971.

When he died, I was one day short of 9 months old."



Denver Robinson recalled, “I well remember the T-38 final-turn crash, and knew & liked Bob Seabury.

I well remember the night he bought it... I was a flying a night round-robin student mission (as the IP in the back)

and during the mission we heard a broadcast on guard (243.0)

from a familiar voice from 'Lariat' (the T-38 RSU), something like '... it looks like sparks trailing...',

then after a long while we were informed (by 'Gunsmoke', the T-38 operations folks)

that Laughlin was only accepting a single approach & full stop landing (under tower control as Lariat was closed),

from a straight in to the center runway... which was a big surprise since Lariat never closed while students were in the air,

and we had all planned to do multiple night touch & go's prior to soloing our studs out at night.

We we got within visual range of the base (I remember it was an extremely clear night)

we saw multiple rotating red lights in the vicinity of the runway...

but, didn't learn that a plane was down until after our landing.”



The former airfield was not depicted at all on the 1972 USGS topo map,

but the northwest/southeast runway was depicted (labeled simply "Landing Strip") on the 1985 USGS topo map.

 

As can be seen in the 1996 USGS aerial photo,

the Val Verde County Airport consisted of 3 paved runways arranged in a triangle,

the longest being 4,800'.



A 2003 view by Scott Murdock of the remains of former runway pavement at the site of the former Val Verde County Airport.

 

Scott Murdock visited the site in 1994 & 2003,

and reported that "housing developments cover most of the former airport,

but the runways are still visible in aerial photos, cutting across the pattern of residential roads.

I was able to drive on 2 of the 3 old runways, in an undeveloped corner of the airfield."



The outline of the 3 former runways were still quite recognizable in the 2003 USGS aerial photo.



Larry Garrison reported in 2007, “I was at Laughlin recently

and none of the current leadership has knowledge or interest

in the original Del Rio Airport right across Highway 90 from the base.”



A 3/31/08 aerial view looking northwest showed that the eastern end of 2 former runways remained quite intact.



The site of the former Val Verde County Airport is located northeast of the intersection of Route 90 & Route 2523.

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