Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Frank Grealish pays a visit to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to photograph the military visitors that descend on this airport every weekend.

Northrop T-38 Talon mounted on a pole at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport

Northrop T-38 Talon mounted on a pole at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, formerly known as Williams Gateway Airport, is a commercial airport located in Mesa, Arizona, United States. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport used to be Williams Air Force Base, a USAF training facility that housed the 82d Training Wing, flying the Cessna T-37 "Tweet" and the Northrop T-38 Talon.

Most, if not every weekend, military visitors descend upon this airport, some of which are transiting through the airport while others deploy there for the weekend.

Willie, as it is affectionately known by the local photographers, is a popular airport with photographers from near & far... Bill, one of the locals, told me that he stores step ladders for a few English photographers who regularly pass through the area and visit the airport.

Afternoon Photography
Because of the orientation of the runway (North-West to South-East), the sun for photography only comes good after midday, as a result most photographers go to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in the morning and aim to arrive at Gateway around noon.

Northrop T-38A Talon, 64-13304 / BB from the 1st RS based at Beale AFB arrives on a fuel stop

Northrop T-38A Talon, 64-13304 / BB from the 1st RS based at Beale AFB arrives on a fuel stop

Over the course of the weekend aircraft from the US Air Force, US Marines and US Navy were present, I was hoping to catch my first glimpse of the new AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters but unfortunately that wasn't to be.

As it turns out there was a good selection of aircraft passing through, with everything from a black Beale T-38 Talon to a VMM-166 MV-22B Osprey complete with stylized "007" code number.

Other visitors included four VMA-513 "Nightmares" AV-8B Harriers and four VMFAT-101 "Sharpshooters" F/A-18C & D Hornets, with single examples each of a T-6 Texan II, TC-12B, CH-46, C-21, all topped off by an immaculate USMC C-20G.

The picture gallery below show what can be expected at Gateway at the weekend, military aircraft from any branch of the US military can show up, sometimes a few warbirds are thrown in for good measure.

Picture Gallery

US Navy Beech TC-12B, 161193 / G-322 from VT-35 taxis in at Gateway

US Navy Beech TC-12B, 161193 / G-322 from VT-35 taxis in at Gateway

 
USMC Gulfstream C-20G, 165153 USAF Learjet C-21A, 84-0131 from the 457th AS taxis past with an engine cowling removed McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C, 164707 from VMFAT-101 blasts off at Gateway Eyes down - 3 AV-8B Harriers from VMA-513 prepare for departure

USMC Gulfstream C-20G, 165153


USAF Learjet C-21A, 84-0131 from the 457th AS taxis past with an engine cowling removed

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C, 164707 from VMFAT-101 blasts off at Gateway

Eyes down - three AV-8B Harriers from VMA-513 prepare for departure

 
Osprey 007 (MV-22B, 168007, VMM-166) departs Gateway Boeing CH-46E, 155312 / ML-406 from HMM-764 taxis for departure Boeing CH-46E, 155312 / ML-406 from HMM-764 departs Gateway Four AV-8B Harriers from VMA-513 sitting on the ramp at sunset

Osprey 007 (MV-22B, 168007, VMM-166) departs Gateway

Boeing CH-46E, 155312 / ML-406 from HMM-764 taxis for departure

Boeing CH-46E, 155312 / ML-406 from HMM-764 departs Gateway

Four AV-8B Harriers from VMA-513 sitting on the ramp at sunset

 
USMC Gulfstream C-20G, 165153

USMC Gulfstream C-20G, 165153

 
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D, 164032 from VMFAT-101 returns to the ramp USAF T-6A Texan II, 00-3596, 84th FTS McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier, 165430, from VMA-513 returns to the ramp McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier, 165430, from VMA-513 returns to the ramp

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D, 164032 from VMFAT-101 returns to the ramp

USAF T-6A Texan II, 00-3596, 84th FTS

McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier, 165430, from VMA-513 returns to the ramp

 
A pair of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets from VMFAT-101 take off McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D, 164032 from VMFAT-101 departs Four McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets from VMFAT-101 on the ramp Four AV-8B Harriers from VMA-513 sitting on the ramp

A pair of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets from VMFAT-101 take off

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D, 164032 from VMFAT-101 departs

Four McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets from VMFAT-101 on the ramp

Four AV-8B Harriers from VMA-513 sitting on the ramp

 
A pair of Harrier AV-8Bs from VMA-513 prepare to depart on another training mission

A pair of Harrier AV-8Bs from VMA-513 prepare to depart on another training mission

 
 

Spread the word

Home| News| Reports| About| Contact| Disclaimer| © 2010 - 2017 AirForcesReview.com