Tucson Intl

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ICAO Code KTUS/TUS
Last Validated 10-2022
City Tuscon, AZ
Position 32°06'58"N 110°56'29"W
Runway(s) 11L/29R, 11R/29L, 03/21
Elevation 2641 ft

General

Tucson is one of those airports that offer something for nearly every kind of enthusiast. Airliners, bizjets, jet fighters, stored aircraft and general aviation - they are all here. Passenger and cargo services are carried out by the regular US carriers. The Arizona ANG and the ANG/AFRC Test Center operate with F-16s and a few other aircraft from here. Bombardier has a bizjet completion centre on the field and a number of jetliners is usually stored at various locations. Finally, a few older commercial transports reside at Tucson as instructional airframes.

Layout

Counterclockwise from spot 1, the areas of activity are freight, passenger terminal, general aviation, military base, storage/rework and bizjet completion. Of the three runways, 11L/29R is the one used for the heavier metal whilst 3/21 is popular with corporate and general aviation. The areas marked as unpaved (dark green) are disused surfaces where stored airplanes now await their faith. Despite the flat and arid terrain, overviewing the airfield from the perimeter is not easy due to its complex layout with many buildings surrounding aprons, and usually present heat haze. The southern part of the airport grounds, home to Raytheon Systems, is neither accessible nor very interesting for our hobby.

Getting There

The airport lies south of the city and across the I-10 from Davis-Monthan AFB, which is east of this airport. Another Interstate, I-19, passes the aiport in the west and the distance from either highway to the field is just a few kilometres. Signs lead the way to the main entrance at the end of Tucson Boulevard.

Around the Airport

1Air freight, main runway and taxiway

From Tucson Boulevard, just before you enter the airport, when you see the large terminal parkings, take a left onto E Airport Drive and drive it to the end. Here, park your car at the fence to see and photograph all traffic at the taxiway and runways before you. Also you will have a view onto the freight aprons here. Bring a pick up truck or some steps.

2Air freight and terminal south side

From Tucson Boulevard, just before you enter the airport, when you see the large terminal parkings, take a left onto E Airport Drive. Take the first right onto E Los Reales Road. Just before the next turn to the right, drive through and park here to have a look onto the freight and terminal areas.

3Terminal area

In the Terminal area, past security, you have a good view onto the airport activities. But also when not travelling you can spot here if you proceed to the middle part of the arrival area. Inbetween the check in desks is a area where you can have a view onto the runways. Also in the parking, on the top level, you will have a good view onto the runways.

4Transient parking and general aviation

Spot 4 offers many possibilities. From Tucson Boulevard, take one of the roads to the right to enter S Plumer Avenue. Follow this to the end, to arrive next to the tower. Park your car here at a parking spot next to the fence. You have a view onto the General Aviation apron and will be able to see all movements on the runways and taxiways. Depending on parking spot and amount of aircraft on the aprons in front of you, in the morning you can also picture all aircraft here. Or you can move onto the large parking area at your right and park your car here at the fence. You will have a unobstructed view onto taxiways and runways, although it is a bit far off and you could have some problems with heatwaves. For that reason you can also move by foot and with some steps to two other spots.
The first one is in front of the Atlantic Aviation hangar. Here you have a good view onto the beginning of runway 11s and taxiways. However, the people of Atlantic Aviation not always appreciate us standing in front of their office entrance so you'd better not stay here.
Second spot is next to the other Atlantic Aviation hangar. There is a parking and a fence giving you a good view onto the taxitrack the F-16s use to taxi back to their sun sheds. Also from this position you can read many tail numbers.

5S Plumer Avenue

From Tucson Boulevard, take the first right onto E Medina Road. At the crossing with S Plumer Avenue you have a view onto the General Aviation ramps, but also into the ANG sunsheds across the runway. If you take a right onto S Plumer Avenue, and park at the crash gate or Industrial area, you again have a good view onto the ANG sun sheds, especialy early in the morning.

6Military gate

From Tucson Boulevard, take a right onto E Valencia Road. Next to the ANG gate, there are some preserved aircraft which you can view when you park across the gate.

7Hamilton - front

From spot 6, drive on and take the next left onto S Park Avenue. Here you can park to shoot landing traffic in the morning, or if you drive past the extended runway, also in the afternoon. After two turns you drive past the fence and see many stored aircraft. Before reaching spot 7, you have a different angle on the ANG fighter sheds and will be able to read some more tail numbers there.

8Hamilton - back

Drive a little bit on, and take a left onto E Apron Drive. Follow it to the end to have a view onto the runway 11s, the aprons on the northwest side and to read some tail numbers in the sun sheds across the runways. In the afternoon, you have good possiblities for photography as well, with some steps.

9Pima Community College

If you want to continue on S Park Avenue, there is a new gate here that is only open during office hours (or if someone happens to be still present at the college). At the end you have a good view onto the threshold of runway 03, although for photography it is only good in the late afternoon.

10Learjet Customer Center

To arrive at spot 10, you have to continue on E Valencia Road and take a left onto I-19B/S Tucson-Nogales Highway. Take a left towards the signed Aero Park, onto E Aeropark Boulevard. Take the first left and have a look onto the apron here of the Learjet Customer Center.

11Bombardier Completion Center

To arrive at spot 10, you have to continue on E Valencia Road and take a left onto I-19B/S Tucson-Nogales Highway. Take a left towards the signed Aero Park, onto E Aeropark Boulevard. Drive on, take the second left onto the large parking and drive towards the fence to have a view onto the apron with many stored aircraft

At spot 4, you can gain height by standing on a power cabinet to photograph over the fence. (Coen Pasterkamp)

The approach of runway 11 is very do-able too. (Erwin van Dijkman)

Frequencies

126.650 / 326.200Clearance Delivery
124.400 / 348.600Ground
118.300 / 257.800Tower
119.000Tower
119.400 / 318.100APP/DEP (rwys 11 north, rwys 29 south)
125.100 / 269.550APP/DEP (rwys 11 south, rwys 29 north)
122.950UNICOM
123.800 / 320.100ATIS

Based Operators

Civil Operators
Cooper Aerial SurveysCeTU206G
Foto Flight GeomaticsPA-31
Jet ArizonaBeech E90
Med-TransBell 206
Bell 407
Raytheon SystemsB727
Sierra Pacific AirlinesB737-500
Southwest HelicoptersAS355
Bell 206
Bell 407
Military Operators
21st FS (RoCAF)F-16A-72V
F-16B-72V
152nd FSF-16CM/DM
195th FSF-16C/D
AATCF-16C/D

Preserved

52-8973F-84F
56-3055F-100D
56-1134F-102A
75-0394/AZA-7D
78-0005/AZ F-16A

More Info

Tucson International AirportOfficial website
Order of BattleScramble

Other Airfields

Davis-Monthan AFB  
Luke AFB
Papago AHP  
Phoenix - Mesa Gateway  
Phoenix - Sky Harbor  
Tucson Intl  
Yuma MCAS

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