Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport 11-24-2013

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport 11-24-2013

Article and Photos by Steven Valinski

Since it had been raining in The Valley of the Sun since Thursday evening, it was nice to see sunshine breakthrough for most of the day today. This prompted me to grab my backpack of equipment and head to the airport. As I mentioned in a previous article, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (formerly Williams AFB) can be a good place to observe/photograph military aircraft on the weekends.

Today I was able to catch a USMC Hornet from VMFAT-101 “Sharpshooters” and a couple of VMA-211 “Wake Island Avengers” Harriers. The surprise of the day was a AH-1W SuperCobra from HMLA-773a based out of NAS Belle Chasse in Louisiana. It was parked and did not depart, but I was able to photograph it from the ramp. I also took a trip to the ATSI, Inc. ramp where ATSI stores there McDonnell Douglas A-4N Skyhawks used for tactical aviation training. These are former Israeli aircraft that were purchased by ATSI.

It was a brief day spotting but I was happy with the yield.

KIWA 11-24-13

7 thoughts on “Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport 11-24-2013”

  1. Yes, the Marines love Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, especially on the weekends. If they run non-armed weekend mission they tend to come to Willie. Mostly Yuma squadrons, but we’ve had Cherrypoint, and other bases squadrons in. We also get Navy aircraft. My favorite are the “single-ship” visitors. They tend to come into town to visit family from far-away bases.

  2. Great catches and images. Always though that is interesting how the WI Avengers are the only USMC unit that wears the roundel versus the starts and bars. I know it has something to do with history but the reason why escapes me at the moment. As for the ATSI birds, do they fly as red air kinda like ATAC does?

    1. Bill,


      Yes, ATSI will fly as an aggressor aircraft, as well as, fly training missions, simulated combat support, etc… I think they can be a pricier solution than ATAC and Air USA so I do not see them fly as much as those other choices. Incidentally, Air USA obtained a MiG-29. I would love to see it flying during Red Flag or WTI.