How To Use This Site

To 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.

Lost 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 chart.

Some 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.

To 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.

Site Navigation
There 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
.

Website 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.

This 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.

This 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).

Site FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who 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.

What 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.

What 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.

How 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!

Hey, 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.

How 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:

  1. Sectional 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).
  2. JOG 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.
  3. Miscellaneous 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 directories.
  4. Flight 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.
  5. First-hand 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 me
You can send me email at the following address: lostairports (at) pacificnorthwestflying (dot) com.

Additional resources
Here are links to some additional online resources for those interested in lost airports:

AIRNAV.com - 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.

TerraServer 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.

Abandoned & 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 country.

Connect with others in the Pacific Northwest flying community

PacificNorthwestFlying.com - 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.

Please 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 is welcome.

Back to the Lost Airports home page.