MCAS Yuma is located in the southwest of Arizona and very close to the Mexican border. The US Marines have mainly based F-35Bs here, but they also share this airfield with some civil charters, which operated from the other side of the airfield, named: Yuma Int. Airport. Because Yuma is that close to the border with Mexico, also the DEA, US Customs and the Southwest Border Alliance can be found at this airfield.
While driving from California to Arizona on the I-8, you should take exit 3 (in Arizona). At the end of the exit take right to enter the S Avenue 3 E. Continue on this road untill you reach the intersection with the S-80. At this intersection you'll see the airfield in front of you at the right.
Around the Airport
1Landing runway 21 (morning)
This is a spot where you could photograph aircraft landing on runway 21 and is located along the S-80. If you turn right at the intersection of the S Avenue 3 E and the S-80 you're already there. The spot is only suitable for photographing in the morning because the sun is then behind you. In the summer period the wind is mainly south so during this period the aircraft will land on 21L and 21R.
2Landing runway 21 (evening)
This spot is the most popular spot and known as 'The Fairgrounds'. It's also located along the S-80, slightly further to the west as spot 1. Best time for this spot is the evening because the sun is then at your back. In the morning you'll have the sun behind the aircraft.
From this spot you'll have a view towards the "heavy aircraft" plaform. To photograph those aircraft you'll need stairs to get higher then the fence. For serials it's just okay with normal binoculars. The only trouble is the heatwaves so the spot is only suitable in the morning (early morning for photographing) or evening. The location of this spot is in a restricted area so don't stay here too long or you'll definitely get a visit from the base security and ask you to leave. They will hang around untill you leave! To get here from spot 1 and 2 follow the S-80 take the first left (S Fortuna Ave) after you pass the airport.
4Landing runway 3L
From here you'll have a great view of of the landing on runway 3L. The spot is mainly suitable in the evening when the sun is at your back. You'll get here if you follow the S-80 eastbound. At the Y-crossing, keep following the S-80 / W 32nd St and take the first left (S 4th Ave). Follow this road until you reach the airfield.
This is a good location to shoot aircraft in the morning. If they are departing from runway 21, then you will get them with wheels-up. If they are landing on 3, then you will get them coming around on base, then final with wheels-down. This is also not a bad spot to shoot from in the afternoon. The sun will be behind you, for the most part. In the evening, you can get them on the downwind leg, before they turn final (many mm needed). If you're coming from the I-8, follow the S Avenue 3E. You'll pass the airfield at you right. After you've passed the airfield you need to take the second to the right (E County 14th St.S). Follow this street and go left (before you cross the water) when you'll see the base at you right.
Since this spot is located at a restricted area you can expect to be sent away by security. This spot is good in the morning until the afternoon. In the winter it is also good in the evening because the sun is still at you back. This spot is located in the vicinity of spot 5.
F/A-18A during landing taken at 'The Fairgrounds', spot 2, (Steve Elliott)
F-5N during landing on runway 3L taken at spot 4 (Steve Elliott)
|336.400 / 118.000||Clearance Delivery|
|315.700 / 121.900||Ground|
|361.200 / 382.800||Tower|
|374.800 / 125.550||Departure|
|336.400 / 374.800||Approach|
|273.200 / 118.800||ATIS|