Luscombe / Temco Garland Airport, Garland, TX
32.9 North / 96.68 West (Northeast of Downtown Dallas, TX)
the following data was taken in large part from
Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:
Texas, Eastern Dallas area
© 2002, © 2010 by Paul Freeman. Revised 6/4/10.
A circa 1945 aerial view looking south down Jupiter Road at Luscombe's Garland Field (courtesy of Ron Nielsen), soon after the first hangars were built, with Forest Lane in the foreground.
This facility was originally a government owned plant, built during WW2 "for the production of Guiberson Diesel Radials (A-1020 for aircraft, T-1020 for tanks).
When the Army decided to simplify supply lines & only use gas engines the plant was turned over to Continental for license production of a tank version of the Wright R-975, which Continental continued to produce after the war as the R-9A."
After the war, the Garland plant was reused by the Luscombe company as an aircraft factory. Luscombe relocated in 1945 from Trenton, NJ, to Garland to take advantage of cheap labor. As seen in the above 1940s photos, Luscombe used the large arched-roof hangar (along with several smaller hangars to the east) to build the Luscombe Models 8A, 8D, 8E, 8F, T8F, and 11A from 1945-50.
Production of Luscombe Silvaires peaked at 21/day, with as many as 250 on the field at some times. The date of construction of the airfield adjacent to the Garland factory has not been determined, but it was presumably constructed by Luscombe when they began use of the site.
A circa 1940s aerial view looking northeast at Luscombe's Garland Field (courtesy of Ron Nielsen), with a huge number of newly-built aircraft sitting on the field north & east of the hangars.
A circa 1940s view looking southeast at the huge number of newly-built Luscombes awaiting delivery at Garland (courtesy of Ron Nielsen).
A circa 1940s view looking southeast at the billboard in front of Luscombe's Garland factory (courtesy of Ron Nielsen).
A Luscombe 8A, manufactured in Garland.
Luscombe declared bankruptcy in 1950, at which point it was acquired by the Texas Engineering & Manufacturing Company (TEMCO). TEMCO was no longer building civil airplanes, but doing defense work such as building elevators, rudders, and bomb bay doors for the B-36 bomber (assembled nearby in Fort Worth by Convair). By 1953, the facility was called Temco-Garland. In 1955, it was producing major assemblies for the C-123, C-130, Electra, F3H & F-100.
A 1957 aerial view depicted the Temco-Garland Airport as having a single north/south paved runway. In marked contrast to the earlier photos, not a single aircraft was visible on the field.
A circa early 1960s aerial view looking northeast at TEMCO Garland Field, with Jupiter Road on the left (courtesy of Ron Nielsen).
Several other large industrial buildings had been built on the site, adjacent to the original Luscombe hangar, but there was no aircraft-related production activity. The runway still remained intact, east of the industrial buildings.
Tecmo-Garland Airport was listed in the 1963 TX Airport Directory, along with the remark "Private; emergency use only." The field was described as having a 2,560' hard-surfaced runway, and the manager was listed as Temco Electronics & Missiles Company.
By 1978, after a corporate acquisition, the field was depicted as E-Systems Garland on the DFW Sectional Chart
A 1979 aerial view depicted the runway as remaining completely intact. The northern former Luscombe arch-roof hangars still remained standing, but the southern hangar had been removed at some point between 1972-79..
However, the airfield itself was closed prior to 1982, as the following story points out.
There is a fascinating story about what was surely the last aircraft to land & takeoff at Temco-Garland Airport. It is told by Ken Adwan : "In August 1982, I was an engineering intern working at E-Systems in Garland. E-Systems Garland was formerly LTV and before that Temco. I worked in a small building just off the north end of the old runway there. By that time the airport was of course closed and a new electronics lab building had been constructed right in the middle of the runway.
One afternoon, I & several other employees heard a commotion outside & went to investigate. We discovered an airplane (a 1969 Swearingen SA-26T Merlin)had just landed on the one thousand or so feet of runway to the north of the new lab. It had come to a stop just inches from the building. The aircraft, a Merlin turboprop twin, had run out of fuel while enroute from Atlanta to Love Field. The pilot, while demonstrating an apparent lack of flight planning skills, made what I consider an heroic dead stick landing.
His passengers were shaken, but unhurt."
The last aircraft departure from Temco Field, a 1982 photo by Ken Adwan.
The takeoff run began with the aircraft "backed all the way up to the lab building that was situated right in the middle of the closed runway. The aircraft had stopped about fifteen feet short of the building on landing." Note the dust being kicked up by the Swearingen Merlin's static runup.
A 1982 photo by Ken Adwan of the Swearingen Merlin takeoff run.
The arched-roof hangars originally used as the Luscombe factory are visible in the background.
The last plane to takeoff from Temco Field - a 1982 photo by Ken Adwan.
"Two days later, with two new main landing gear wheels & tires & minimal fuel, the chief pilot of the Georgia company that owned the aircraft flew it out & completed the trip to Love. I clicked off about a dozen pictures of what will surely be the last aircraft departure from Temco Field."
Jim King recalled, "I can also vouch for the story about the last plane to land at TEMCO-Garland Airport. I joined E-Systems in Garland in 1978 (and still work there - now Raytheon), and I recall the commotion caused by that plane making an emergency landing.
The E-Systems facility was cleared for high security by DoD.
The guards carry guns, and that day, many of them were certain that the Russians had just landed in our back yard!
I also remember a lot of speculation about how they would get the plane out of there. Taking off to the north, they had to clear power lines along Forest Lane. Not only did this mean a minimum fuel load, but because it is very hot in Dallas in August, they flew it out at dawn."
A 1989 aerial view showed a marked change in the facility compared to the 1979 photo. Almost the entire length of the runway was gone, with buildings & parking lots covering it. The former Luscombe arch-roof hangar had been removed at some point between 1979-89. The former antenna test facility on the northeast side of the runway had been removed, but a very similar antenna test facility had been built to the south, adjacent to the former southeast end of the runway.
As seen in the circa 2000 aerial photo,
the former Luscombe factory buildings were removed at some point in the past, having been replaced by more modern industrial buildings & their parking lots. The former runway was also gone, although it appeared as if an internal road inside the complex was built over the former runway. Three paved sections of the former antenna test facility were still visible on the northeast side of the complex. The airfield site is located northeast of the intersection of South Jupiter Road & Miller Road.
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