Spotting guide for: KGLS - Scholes International Airport
Scholes International Airport is the former Galveston Municipal Airport that dates back to 1932. It was renamed Corrigan Airport in 1938 for Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan, a Galveston native who worked at Ryan Aeronautical Company and helped to build Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis". Later he piloted his 1929 Curtiss Robin OX-5 monoplane named "Sunshine" from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, to Ireland due to a "compass error" after being denied permission to fly that same trans-Atlantic route by the U.S. Bureau of Air Commerce many times before.
During World War II, it was re-designated a U.S. Army Air Corps base and named "Galveston Army Air Field", United States Army Corps of Engineers, using funds made available by Congress through the Civil Aeronautics Authority, constructed three 6,000-foot-long, hard-surface runways at the airport to accommodate army aircraft. In January 1943, Galveston AAFld. was officially activated had the 46th Bombardment Group (Light) flying A-20s in the anti-submarine role in the Gulf of Mexico until replaced by the 10th Antisubmarine Squadron (Heavy), flying RM-37 Lockheed Venturas. The Field was primarily used for replacement crew gunnery training by the 407th Fighter-Bomber Group, with targets being towed to the gunnery range at nearby Oyster Bay. The installation cost $7 million and at its peak had some 2,500 personnel assigned. It was officially deactivated on November 15, 1945, with ownership reverting back to the City of Galveston. As late as 1948, it was an active seaplane base per Sectional Aeronautical chart SA SAC O-5. The earliest reference to GLS being named Scholes Field is in 1943.
GLS is now a general aviation airport serving diverse aviation segments. GLS is operated and maintained by the City of Galveston, Texas. Once served by Houston Metro Airlines and Braniff Airways, GLS's Master Plan considered the potential return of commercial airline service as well as the increasing trend of corporate aircraft and oil industry helicopter activity. In preparation for increased corporate activity, the ultimate plan considers the extension of the primary runway (17/35) from 6001 x 150 ft. to 7,100 feet. Currently, it can accommodate most aircraft, up to a Boeing 767.
GLS is an Airport with 24 hour Air Traffic Control and an "A" ARFF Index. The 1,200-acre airport offers a terminal, 24 hour fixed base operator, 24 hour weather services, a U.S. Customs agent on call, and state-of-the-art navigational aids with precision approaches providing all-weather capabilities. It is a fairly popular fueling stop for transient military aircraft due to a Military Area of Operations in the Gulf of Mexico. It is also the destination airport for fixed wing ambulances transferring patients to the Shriner's Burn Center.
Of the 220+ aircraft based at GLS, 50+ are helicopters belonging to Air Logistics, EVA, Evergreen, PHI, and other oil industry vendors.
The Lone Star Flight Museum is located on the north side of GLS and boasts a large collection of flying antique warbirds as well as the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame.
Publicly accessible areas that do not require any prior notification
Areas such as parking garages that require prior approval or
notification to airport security to spot.
Areas that to not require notification to spot, but are at your own
risk! You may be asked to leave by Airport security or by police.
Restricted area! Do not spot here, or you will be asked to
leave by airport security or police.
Food / Drink! Spotting sometimes requires a lot of time out in
the sun. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, and get food
when you need it.
These orange lines indicate where the final approach path of a
runway intersect or pass near a spotting area.
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Site 1: Lone Star Flight Museum
Each year, the Lone Star Flight Museum holds fly days and air shows. The north side of the ramp is closed off and one can photograph south down the ramp, catching departures and arrivals of the off-shore oil industry helicopters as well as air show participants. www.lsfm.org
Site 2: Main Terminal Building
The Main Terminal Building has an outdoor observation area on the ground floor. To access the area, enter the main terminal doors and walk straight through and exit the ramp side doors. There is a large yard before you get to the gate leading to the flight line. A second floor observation deck complete with tables and chairs, can only be accessed from an outdoor stairway in the outside yard on the ramp side of the terminal. It is best for photographing fixed-wing general aviation up close when they taxi in to the tie-down area. It is also best for photographing all of the inbound oil industry helicopters as all helicopter approaches are made from the north. Evergreen is the only major carrier who will not fly or air-taxi past the terminal as their base is the only one north of the terminal building.
Site 3: Stewart Road
Stewart Road near 83rd street in the morning hours and towards 99th Road in the afternoon hours are excellent for spotting or photography.
Site 4: Avenue V 1/2
The dead end of Avenue V 1/2 near 99th Street is a perfect spot when 35/17 is active, and not bad for when 31/13 is the active but best to photograph in either location in the afternoon.
Site 5: Airways Lane
From Stewart Road, drive northbound on 99th street untill it forks. Take the right fork onto Travel Air to the end. Turn right onto Airways Lane and stop at the dead end. It is best to photograph from this location in the afternoon.
Site 6: Teichman Road
Teichman Road near 91st Street is located across Offats Bayou from GLS and affords a different angle to spot from. Depending on the active and the position of the sun, you might have to move east or west down Teichman Road.
Site 7: Offats Bayou
For those who would like to merge boating and aircraft spotting, Offats Bayou lends itself to excellent access to the north side of GLS. There is a public boat ramp on 61st Street just south of IH 45. GLS is no more than a mile west from the launch.
Site 8: Cessna Drive
The end of Cessna Drive west of Comanche Street is is a prime position for photographing aircraft in flight using runways 17/35. It is located between the ARFF Station and the new Control Tower. It is also a prime location during the Lone Star Flight Museum's fly days and air shows, as it is the closest one can get to take offs and landings. Aircraft are much closer that the FAA requirements of 500 feet as they turn in to make passes in front of the crowd located 200 yards north of that location.
Site 9: Comanche Street
Comanche Street near Terminal Drive is a good location for photographing helicopters that service the oil industry.
Automatic Surface Observation Service (ASOS) (409-740-9248)