keep download times manageable, I've divided the state into 48 sections,
so there are 48 pages (or "panels") which correspond to each
section of the state. Each page contains a section of an aeronautical chart and anywhere
from zero to twenty lost and/or uncharted airports, as well as navigation elements to allow
the user to move around the site.
airports (closed, abandoned, etc.) are represented by a red circular symbol,
as shown below; uncharted airports (still active, but not on the charts) are represented by a green circular symbol
Simply click on
a lost or uncharted airport symbol to reveal the details for that airport.
A brief description of that airfield will appear in a text area below the
pages (almost all of them, actually) have multiple lost and/or uncharted
airports. While an airport is selected, it's icon will "throb"
with a small animation to help identify the current airport.
view the details for another airport on the same page, simply click another
airport symbol. To dismiss the details for any airport without viewing
another's, click the Clear button.
are two ways to move around the site:
1. Each page contains
a small map of the state with a grid superimposed over it in the lower
right corner of the screen. Click on a section of the mini-map to navigate
to that portion of the state.
2. Along the edges of the main map on each page are "pan"
controls. Click on a pan control to move to the next adjacent area.
Technical Requirements To
access this site you need a computer connected to the internet, any recent
web browser, and the Flash plug-in. Note that if your web browser is set
up to block "scripts and plug-ins" you will not be able to see
much. The only "script or plug-in" used is the Flash player,
which is required.
site does not suck any personal data off your computer, does not set a
cookie or write anything to your computer, and will not unleash anything
nasty on your computer. I promise. Really.
site has been tested on Windows PCs running Windows XP and Windows Vista
and the current and recent versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox
browsers, as well as Macintosh computers running Mac OS X and Mac OS Classic,
with the Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. If the site does
not work properly on your computer, please let me know (please provide
details of your operating system, web browser, and Flash player plug-in,
including version numbers for each).
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Cares about lost airports? Why should I?
Well, I do, and I think all pilots should. According to AOPA, nationwide
airport closures are taking place at an alarming rate - nearly one every
two weeks! And this is not just a recent phenomenon: airports have been
closing a lot faster than new airports have opened to replace them for
many years, and the number of closed runways out there is shocking.
Did you know that there were once dozens of airfields scattered around
the major Northwest cities, and at a time it seemed like nearly every
small town in the region had an airfield or two (or more than two)?
I believe that every
time a runway closes, it breaks one thread in the fragile web of
interdependant elements that make up the aviation infrastructure. We
need to preserve and protect our airports, not let them vanish from
our landscape as if they were mere relics of an earlier America. That goes for
close-in airports that are being pressured by growing cities and suburbs,
and obscure little airstrips out in rural areas.
As a recreational
pilot, I'm worried about our remaining airports, and wanted to help
raise awareness of how many fields we've lost over the years. Hopefully
it will help motivate all of us to fight to keep our remaining airports
open. And maybe, just maybe, we might be able to bring back a few of
these lost airports back from the dead.
Constitutes a "Lost" Airport?
By my definition, any
airfield, public or private, that was
once used as a landing site for civil or military aircraft that is now
closed and no longer operating. This goes for land airplanes; seaplanes
and heliports are not covered.
Constitutes an "Uncharted" Airport?
By my definition, any
airfield, public or private, that is still in use, that's not depicted on FAA charts.
Many (although not all) of these airports are actually listed in aviation
databases, and the FAA certainly knows about many of them. For one reason
or another, they just aren't charted.
Did You Find These?
I used a variety of sources in my research. Primary sources include
old aviation charts (Sectional Charts; World Aeronautical Charts; Joint
Operations Graphic - Air, aka "JOG" Charts); old topographic
charts; and a variety of old airport directories (AOPA's Airport Directory;
Washington state's "Pilots Guide" airport directory; and Flight
Guide airport directories). I also fly around the state a lot looking
for airstrips below and have spotted a surprising number of abandoned
runways and many that are obviously still in use (having a slow plane
gives me time to look; having an old plane gives me another good reason
to always be looking for anything below that might serve as an emergency
landing spot). If you look down and see a freshly-cut grass strip with
a bright orange windsock and a yellow taildragger sitting at one end
-- that's an airport, regardless of whether or not it's on the map!
you missed something... I've got something you should change or add...
If you know about another field that I haven't included here, please
let me know. If I got something wrong, I'd appreciate you helping me
correct it. I've done a lot of research and am confident I've found
a lot of accurate information about a lot of lost airports, but I don't
claim to have all the answers. If you or anyone you know can help make
the information presented here more complete and more accurate, please
contact me via email at the address below. Your contributions are appreciated.
can I help?
I'm still seeking additional primary resources for my ongoing research.
If you have any of the following, I'd like to borrow them to look over:
charts - Any sectionals covering the Northwest. Note that
the charts we now know as "sectionals" went through a major
change in the early 1970s. Prior to the "new style" sectionals,
old charts covered a smaller area. For example, covering the whole
state of Washington under the old system, there used to be 4 "sectionals",
Bellingham, Seattle, Kootenai and Spokane (plus the top edge of two
more, the Portland and La Grande sectionals, too).
charts - Joint Operations Graphic (Air) charts, aka "JOG
charts", are (or were) published by the Defense Mapping Agency,
apparently during the 1970s and 1980s (the dating of the charts seems
confusing, with multiple dates stated). These charts cover smaller
areas in greater detail than today's sectionals; their scale is 1:250,000,
the same scale as today's Terminal Area Charts, and they use a slightly
different symbology. They are fairly obscure maps among most civil
pilots (although they are apparently popular for use in search and
rescue operations), but (to my surprise and great delight) are still
(mostly) available, new from the National Aeronautical Charting Office.
I have a full set of JOG charts covering the Pacific Northwest (minus
one or two charts that are no longer available), but would like to
hear from anyone with older editions. I'm also especially looking
for a few of these JOG charts to complete my coverage of the area,
so if you have any of the following please let me know: NM 10-11,
NM 10-12, NM 11-11, NL 10-9, NL 11-7, NL 11-8.
old charts - It seems that aeronautical charts were relatively
scarce prior to WWII (given the low performance of most small aircraft,
I guess long cross country flights were somewhat rare adventures).
I have a few sectionals from the late 1940s and 1950s and am specifically
looking for more charts from this era. I also have no aeronautical
charts of the region at all dated prior to WWII. Basically I'm looking
for any civil or military charts from the 1980s and earlier.
• AOPA airport directories - AOPA has published
a text-based airport directory for decades. A helpful feature of this
directory was that it included many private strips (most other airport
directories do not). I have many old editions of this directory, but
am looking to fill in gaps. I'm especially seeking all editions prior
to 1967, and 1972-1985.
• Washington state airport directories - The
Washington State Aeronautic Commission (now the Department of Transportation
Aviation Division) has published a state airport directory since the
late 1950s (maybe earlier). I have copies of several old editions
(and have access to review many others), but am looking to fill in
the gaps. If you have or know of a state airport directory from any
of the following years, I'd like to hear from you: any year
prior to 1959; 1960-1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972,
1973, 1975, 1976, 1978-1982, 1984, 1985, 1987-1997. A big thanks goes
out to Jim Scott and all the good folks at the WSDOT Aviation Division
office in Arlington for their help in accessing old state airport
Guide airport directories - This little airport book with
the brown cover is familiar to most pilots. It has been published
continuously since 1960. I have several older editions but am looking
to fill in gaps, primarily during the 1960s and 1970s. I'm especially
looking for editions prior to 1965.
• Other old airport directories - Somebody
published airport directories back in the 1940s and 1950s, although
they are fairly rare nowadays. There was also another brand of airport
directory for general aviation pilots that I know was published back
in the 1970s (I remember a bound - not looseleaf - airport directory
that had both runway diagrams and photos that was available back then).
If you know of any of these, I'd like to hear about it.
accounts - If you or someone you know has been flying around
here for many years and/or knows of any airport I've missed, something
that I've got wrong, or can add to my descriptions, I'd love to hear
from you or them.
How to contact
You can send me email at the following address: lostairports (at) pacificnorthwestflying
Here are links to some additional online resources for those interested
in lost airports:
- A deservedly popular online database of airports and related
data. You won't find (many) closed airports listed on airnav.com,
but a couple do show up in searches.
USA - Satellite photos and topographic maps online. A
tremendous resource for airport searches and any visual investigations
of faraway places from the comfort of your computer.
& Little-Known Airfields - Another website focusing on
closed airports. The author covers abandoned airports nationwide,
so there aren't very many airports listed in each state (although
there is a lot of interesting information there). My focus for this
website is to only document lost airports of the Pacific Northwest
-- and do it in depth -- rather than attempting to cover the whole
with others in the Pacific Northwest flying community
- Join local pilots and other flying enthusiasts from around
the Northwest online to discuss local flying issues, airports and
other topics of interest to Northwest pilots. Take the weekly "Name
That Northwest Airport" photo challenge, and check out the latest
in Northwest aviation news.
note that this website is perpetually unfinished, and is subject to
change from time to time. Additional details are
being added as I discover them (and have time to add them), and new
features and enhancements are planned for future updates. Any feedback