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The source for the image and information on the Lordsburg airport in 1933 is the book titled, "Airports and Established Landing Fields in the United States, 1933", published by The Airport Directory Company, Hackensack, NJ. Refer to page 153 of that book.


Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available here.


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John Miller, when he landed his autogiro NC10781 here in May of '31, said of the Lordsburg airport, "Lordsburg was nothing but a gas pit in 1931. I got 'goathead' seeds in my tires at Lordsburg."

At that time, Lordsburg Municipal Airport adjoined the southeast corner of the city of Lordsburg, NM. Then, and as in the photo below taken a couple of years later in 1933, its sod and gravel surface sat at about 4,280 feet altitude at approximately N 32° 20.0' W108° 41.5'. In 1933, LORDSBURG was written on the roof of a warehouse on the south side of the southern Pacific Railroad. The right-most building in this photo might be it. The field had obstruction lights, and the entire area was available for landing in any direction. A telephone was available, number 113, as well as a one-way, U.S. Army radio station, WYZ, transmitting on 200 kcs.

Hotels and restaurants were available in town, with taxi service that had a "slight charge" to town. Fuel and oil were available, as well as mechanics on-call. There were no landing fees. Storage cost $1.00 per day, with weekly and monthly storage "pro-rated".

The view in the 1933 photo below is toward the northwest, with the railroad running east-west off the image, center right. Read on and analyze the rest of the images as a test of your orientation and situational awareness skills!

Lordsburg Municipal Airport, ca. 1933

This contemporary image below, from Google Earth, shows the Lordsburg Municipal Airport juxtaposed to the southeastern edge of town, as above. I've oriented/tilted the Google Earth map so that the railroad (touching the "G" in Lordsburg) is oriented about the same way it is in the 1933 image above. The airport runways and buildings are at bottom center of the image.

Below is a view to the southwest out the left front of my airplane (see bugs smashed on window). It was taken in September, 2002 as I approached Lordsburg airport following the railroad tracks from the east. I am north of the tracks. The railroad curves away in the distance, with Interstate 10 paralleling it . The airport and runways 01-19 lie faintly at center. Note dry lakes in the distance, west.

Lordsburg Municipal Airport from the Northeast, 2002


Lordsburg Municipal Airport, 2002

Today, even after 70 years, Lordsburg still is a small airport, as shown in this photo, left, taken as I turned final for runway 12 (the dirt runway 01-19 is just visible crossing the asphalt just beyond the airport buildings).

Construction of Interstate 10, in the foreground, caused the runway to be moved to its current location a few hundred yards toward the top of this photo. The original runway where John Miller, Charles Lindbergh and many others landed during the Golden Age was about where the frontage road and I10 exit ramp are today (visible just under the nose of my airplane). Compare the 1933 image with the 2006 Google Earth map and you can see how the interstate highway construction penetrated the area of the old airport and forced its displacement toward the southeast.

The railroad tracks, which parallel I10 just out of view at the bottom of the picture above, are in the same location as during the Golden Age. Well before the interstate highway system was conceived, these tracks were used for Golden Age "flight guidance" between Tucson, Lordsburg and El Paso.

To acquire insight into what our pilots on this Web site experienced as "flight guidance", I flew from El Paso to Lordsburg low and slow at 500 feet, following the same railroad, racing with the westbound freight trains (image below). For this flight, I had radar coverage and the full cooperation of Albuquerque Center -- they thought it was a great idea. Let me take this opportunity to give public thanks to our Air Traffic Controllers.

On this bumpy afternoon, among the mesquite and cloud shadows, and somewhere between El Paso and the dry lakes west of Lordsburg, I found out how really hooked I am on this project of mine. This is hard to admit, but as I flew along with tears in my eyes, I called out at the top of my lungs, over the engine noise, the names of some of the pilots who had traveled this very same route so long ago. And they answered me.

Racing the freight train, 2002



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