Copyright © 2000-2009, Scott D.
27 Oct 2002 - Added photos.
15 Dec 2009 - Added additional photos, upgraded existing photos.
Monday, 3 Oct 1994
Aerosmith has been one of my favorite rock groups for nearly two decades. So, when tickets went on sale for their concert in Dallas, I grabbed one quick. Since I had to drive over from Shreveport, it seemed only logical to make it an overnight trip and toss in a few base research visits for good measure.
On the road at 0630, I headed west to Terrell, TX. First stop: Terrell Municipal Airport (TRL), 32-43-30, 96-16-30. As Kaufman County Airport, it was a contract flying school (Terrell Aviation School, Ltd.) during W.W.II, training British pilots. An added touch was visiting the Silent Wings Museum, located on the airport grounds.
Continuing west past Dallas and Fort Worth, to Weatherford. From there, I headed north to Mineral Wells and the former Wolters AFB, 32-49, 98-05. It is now part industrial park, part Army National Guard base with some older buildings still standing. Wolters AFB was an Army fort both before and after its short period of Air Force use. (I did not realize it at the time, but one of the Wolters facilities I visited was the former Nike launcher site DF-70L! At the time of this visit it was used by the TX Army National Guard as a range control facility.)
I also visited the Mineral Wells Airport (MWL), 32-46-56, 98-03-41, which served as an auxiliary field to Carswell Field during W.W.II. It was home to a large Army heliport supporting the nearby Folt Wolters during the Vietnam War.
Now it was time to head back east, to Fort Worth. Taking Loop 820 north, then RR 287 north I found the site of the former Hicks Field. No longer used for flying, it is about one mile south of a modern airstrip called Hicks Airfield (T67), 32-55-52, 97-24-42. Yes, I visited the new airstrip first thinking it was the genuine article -- a couple of friendly and knowledgeable pilots directed me back to the historic site, at 32-55, 97-24. It is now an industrial park, although it looks mostly abandoned. Two large hangars remain, at 32-54-42, 97-24-03.
Weaving my way back through Fort Worth, I found the former Meacham Field, 32-49, 97-22. It is still in use as Fort Worth Meacham Airport (FTW), with a nice old hangar visible.
Further east, I made my way to Grand Prairie and found NAS Dallas Hensley (7TX2), 32-44-30, 96-57-30. The Air Force piece of this Navy base was referred to as Hensley Field. A large W.W.II hangar still stands. At the time of this visit, it still had an Air National Guard unit present, flying C-130s.
I had hoped to visit Love Field next, but due to rush hour traffic I cut the fun short for the day, and settled in at a La Quinta Motor Inn on Highway 75. The research part of my day was over; I was on the road 11 hours and drove 430 miles. Getting to the concert was an adventure in itself -- it took me 95 minutes to drive six miles to the Coca-Cola Starplex for the show! I found one of the very last parking spaces and was just wandering into the amphitheater when the lights went down. I assumed that the opening act, Collective Soul, was about to start. To my surprise, I had missed their set entirely, and was just in time for Aerosmith! (Concerts actually start on time at the Starplex!) A great show, but what else would you expect from Aerosmith?
Tuesday, 4 Oct 1994
Checked out of the La Quinta at 0600, found my way over to Dallas Love Field (DAL) before the morning rush hour. It is right in the midst of Dallas, at 32-51-07, 96-50-54. Love Field was an Air Service base back in W.W.I. During W.W.II, it was a contract flying school (Dallas Air College) serving the Army Air Forces.
Then I aimed north out of the Metroplex and cruised to Gainesville. Gainesville Municipal Airport (GLE) was Gainesville AAFld back in W.W.II. Located at 33-39, 97-12, it supported nearby Camp Howze, a large Army training post.
Continuing north over the border into Oklahoma, and past Ardmore to the former Ardmore AFB, 34-18, 97-01. It is now Ardmore Municipal Airport (ADM), and still has much the look and feel of an Air Force Base. I found a friendly controller on duty in the control tower, who invited me up to chat and take photos from the tower walkway. Great view!
Southwest of the base, and visible from I-35, sits Ardmore Radio Beacon Annex, at 34-12-42, 97-10-05. The FAA currently operates it.
Then I headed back south into Texas, worked my way east to Sherman, and found the Grayson County Airport (F39), which used to be Perrin AFB. It is at 33-42-46, 96-39-58. Many of the old Air Force buildings remain in use. Perrin conducted interceptor training, and this hangar may have been an aircraft weapons calibration shelter.
Heading east to Bonham, I found Jones Field (F00), 33-36, 96-11, which was a W.W.II contract flying school (Bonham Aviation School) under the same name. I had the pleasure of talking with Mr. H.R. Van Zandt at the FBO. He had been a dispatcher for the flying school during the war, and had this to say about the days of wartime flying training: "We didn't have radios, we just issued them airplanes and hoped they'd make it back in one piece."
Based on information I learned from Mr. Van Zandt, I meandered north about six miles and found the location of Brown Field, 33-41-30, 96-11, an auxiliary to Jones Field. Nice add-on!
Worked my way back to Greenville, then worked my way to the Caddo Mills Airport (7F3), 33-02, 96-15. Still in use as a general aviation field, it was once Caddo Mills Auxiliary Field, an auxiliary to Majors AAFld. The airport manager told me the field had been used for drag racing at one time.
Back toward Greenville, my next stop was Majors Airport (GVT), 33-04, 96-04, which had been Majors AAFld during W.W.II. It was a quite industrial setting, not very scenic for the tourist. There were several USAF aircraft on the ramp and in the hangars of E-Systems, a large defense contractor.
Well, all good things must come to an end, and the schedule said it was time to head home. I finished my day in 14 hours, covering 545 miles. This put the two-day total at 987 miles, in 25 miles of road time. The old Volvo was earning its keep.
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