Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Virginia: Fauquier County

© 2002, © 2021 by Paul Freeman. Revised 9/19/21.

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Airlie Airport (revised 9/19/21) - Upperville Airport (revised 4/29/19)

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Airlie Airport (2VA9), Warrenton, VA

38.758,-77.787 (Southwest of Dulles Airport, VA)

Airlie Airport, as depicted on the October 1966 Washington Sectional Chart.



Harry Groome, a wealthy Philadelphia native, purchased this land in 1899 to build his “Airlie House,” named after a castle in Scotland.

Airlie House & Farm was operated as a modern gentleman’s estate, boasting pastures with purebred livestock in addition to the property’s extensive gardens.

In 1924, a catastrophic fire consumed Airlie House, but Groome rebuilt his residence.



A 1952 aerial photo did not yet show the Airlie Airport.



In 1961, Airlie House & Farm became Airlie Center, a conference center.



At some point between 1952-65, the Airlie Airport was added to the conference center.

The earliest depiction which has been located of Airlie Airport was a 1965 aerial view.

It depicted a single unpaved northeast/southwest runway, with a single building on the west side.



Airlie Airport was not yet depicted on the March 1966 Washington Sectional Chart.



By 1966 an aerial photo showed Airlie Airport's runway had been paved in asphalt, with “Airlie” painted along the midpoint.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Airlie Airport was on the October 1966 Washington Sectional Chart.

It depicted Airlie Airport as a private airfield having a single 3,200' paved northeast/southwest runway.



The earliest topo map depiction which has been located of Airlie Airport was on the 1970 USGS topo map.

It depicted Airlie Airport as having a single paved northeast/southwest runway, with 1 small building on the west side.



The 1975 Washington Terminal Aeronautical Chart depicted Airlie Airport as a private airfield having a single 3,200' paved northeast/southwest runway.



The earliest photo which is available of Airlie Airport was a 1994 aerial view looking northwest.

It depicted Airlie Airport as having a single asphalt Runway 3/21, with “Airlie” painted along the midpoint.

A small building & 1 light single-engine aircraft were on the west side.



The last photo which has been located showing an aircraft at Airlie Airport was a 2003 aerial view looking northwest.

It depicted 1 light single-engine aircraft parked on the west side of Airlie Airport.



The August 2007 Washington Sectional Chart depicted Airlie Airport as a private airfield having a single 3,200' paved northeast/southwest runway.



A 2017 aerial view looking northwest depicted Airlie Airport in an unchanged fashion, but no aircraft were visible on the field.



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located showing Airlie Airport still in operation was on the July 2019 Washington Terminal Aeronautical Chart.

It depicted Airlie Airport as a private airfield having a single 3,200' paved northeast/southwest runway.



A September 2019 photo looking east at the entrance gate on the southwest side of Airlie Airport.

The white sign says “Aircraft landing area”, and the stone pillar behind it says “Transient aircraft”.



Airlie Airport was evidently closed at some point between 2019-21, as the 2019 Washington Terminal Aeronautical Chart depicted it as “Closed”.

The airfield's closure was most likely a result of the closure of the Airlie Conference Center during the COVID pandemic.



As of 2021, the FAA Airport/Facility Directory data listed Airlie Airport as having a 3,250' asphalt Runway 3/21,

owned by The Kimmaren Corp., and managed by Chris Malone.



A 9/18/21 aerial view by Paul Freeman looking south depicted Airlie Airport as remaining intact.



Ryan Miller reported in 2022, “Airlie is officially closing. The 1/27/22 charts will likely be the last to depict it open.”



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Upperville Airport (2VG2), Upperville, VA

38.971, -77.868 (Northwest of Dulles Airport, VA)

A 1957 aerial view evidently showed the Upperville runway while under construction.



Upperville Airport is a private runway located on the estate of the late Paul Mellon.



The Upperville Airport was evidently built in 1957,

as a 1952 aerial view did not yet depiction the runway,

while a 1957 aerial view evidently showed the Upperville runway while under construction.

It depicted the field as having a single paved runway, in its original 3,500' length.



The Upperville Airport was not yet depicted on the 1957 Washington Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Upperville Airport which has been located

was on the 1960 Washington Sectional Aeronautical Chart,

which described it as having a single 3,500' bituminous runway.



The 1961 USGS topo map did not yet depict the Upperville Airport.



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

by which time the runway had been lengthened to 4,500'.



Upperville Airport, as depicted on the 1963 USGS topo map.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which is available of Upperville Airport

was on the July 1962 Huntington Sectional Chart (courtesy of David Stevenson).

It depicted Upperville as having a single 4,500' paved northwest/southeast runway.



The 1964 Washington Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss)

continued to depict Upperville as having a 4,500' paved runway.



Upperville's runway was evidently lengthened again at some point between 1964-72,

as the 1972 Washington Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe)

described Upperville as having a 5,100' paved runway.



The 1970 USGS topo map depicted Upperville Airport as having a single paved runway.



A 1974 aerial view depicted Upperville Airport at its eventual length, 5,100'.



The February 1975 Washington Terminal Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Mitchell Hymowitz).

depicted Upperville as a private airfield having a 5,100' paved runway.



A local pilot reported, “From 1987-94 I was the pilot of a helicopter owned by Paul Mellon’s immediate neighbor to the north of his Upperville Estate,

and we often flew within sight of that airstrip, when we flew this neighbor, our employer, to his home, just north of Mr. Mellon’s Upperville estate.

Paul Mellon owned a Gulfstream G-II jet, N1929Y, which his pilots would operate for him in & out of that runway on his property.

I was told that this tail number was specifically secured for Mr. Mellon’s Gulfstream, inspired by the fact that Mr. Mellon graduated, in 1929, from Yale University (1929 & Y for Yale).

Mr. Mellon’s operation developed its own private instrument approach for that runway, based on the positioning of a non-directional beacon (Goodwin Lake GDX), just east of that runway.

We were given a 'confidential' Jeppesen Chart depiction of that approach, as a favor, by Mr. Mellon’s Gulfstream crew back then,

to use in adverse weather, if we ever needed it to find our way to our owner’s estate, just north.

We often saw N1929Y parked there at Upperville, or heard or saw it take off or land there (first generation Gulfstream IIs were very loud!).

And we saw that Gulfstream often, at Washington National Airport (DCA), where it was hangered when it wasn’t flying missions for Mr. Mellon.”



The only aerial view which has been located showing an aircraft at Upperville Airport was a 1989 aerial view looking north,

which depicted a swept-wing twin-engine business jet (presumably Mellon's Gulfstream II, N1929Y) parked on its ramp on the south side of the runway.



The single 5,100' northwest/southeast runway is lighted & is painted with instrument approach markings.

There are no hangars at the facility, just a small parking ramp along the south side of the runway.

Upperville Airport is located almost immediately underneath the busy approach path to nearby Dulles Airport's Runway 12.

Visitors to Upperville included a private Boeing 727 which once flew in for a party,

and it was once used for an emergency landing by a Dulles-bound airliner which was experiencing difficulties.



Upperville is listed in the FAA Airport/Facility Directory as a private airfield.

Although its construction & ownership by a wealthy private individual makes perfect sense,

the location of a private jet-capable paved runway (which is also very secure & rarely used)

a mere 6 miles from the Mount Weather presidential bunker would appear to invite speculation.

Was this field was constructed with some "agreement" with the federal government,

with the provision for its use in a national emergency to bring personnel in & out of the Mount Weather bunker?

Since the only aircraft facilities on the Mount Weather property consist of a grass runway for helicopters or light aircraft,

it would appear to have been highly desirable to have some nearby facility capable of handling heavier fixed-wing aircraft.



Airfield owner Paul Mellon passed away in 1999.



Aerial photo taken by Paul Freeman, 11/99, from a Diamond Katana DA20A-1.



A 5/4/08 view looking west at the Upperville runway, with the windsock in the center.



An undated photo of the Upperville runway from the property's 2014 for sale listing.



Property owner Bunny Mellon passed away at 103 in 2014,

and 2,000 acres of the Oak Spring Farms, including the airfield, have been placed on the market.

For a mere $70 million, it can be yours.



The only ground-level photo which has been located showing an aircraft at Upperville Airport was a pre-2015 photo of a Dassault Falcon 2000 private jet on the Upperville runway.



The 2016 Washington Terminal Aeronautical Chart depicted Upperville as a private airfield having a 5,100' paved runway.



A 2017 aerial view looking north at Upperville Airport.



As of 2021, FAA records list the Oak Spring Garden Foundation as Upperville Airport's owner.



Ryan Miller reported in 2022, “Upperville is officially closing. The 1/27/22 charts will likely be the last to depict it open.”



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