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Sky Harbor IAP (ANG)
3326'N 11200'W

Sky Harbor International Airport is located in Maricopa County in central Arizona, approximately 120 miles northwest of Tucson and 10 miles southeast of Phoenix. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is owned and operated by the City of Phoenix and is home to the 161st Air Refueling Wing. 161st ARW is colocated with Sky Harbor International Airport (KPHX) and is 24 miles ESE of Luke AFB and 2 miles north of the Salt River. The 161st ARW has 8 KC-135 aircraft assigned. Additional resources include the operations building, a security police post, and a small medical clinic. Luke AFB provides warning and metwatch support for the combined Papago AASF and 161st ARW areas.

The operations center and aircraft ramp are located on the south side of the airport proper. Geographic coordinates for Sky Harbor International are 3326'N, 11200'W. Field elevation is 1133 feet above mean sea level. The parallel runways are oriented 080/260 and are 11001 feet long.

The base is located on the southern end of the airport on a 50 acre parcel with a total of 16 buildings; 2 administrative, and 14 industrial, amounting to approximately 236,000 square feet. Day-to-day activities are managed by a force of 287 full-time personnel. One weekend per month this population swells to more than 879 members during military training assemblies. The base has no residential or transient housing facilities. The mission of the 161st Air Refueling Wing is to train, equip, and maintain units and individuals to meet worldwide requirements for federal day-to-day and mobilization missions and state emergencies.

Due to extensive commercial air traffic, the area surrounding Phoenix Sky Harbor is devoid of most obstructions. The airport complex is situated on a flood plain of the Salt River. Significant mountain ranges border northwest through south of the runway complex and consist of the Phoenix mountains to the north, McDow-ell, Goldfield, Usery, and Superstition mountains northeast through east, and the Santan and South mountains southeast and south. The Sierra Estrella range is located to the distant southwest.

Sky Harbor is located in a dense industrial park which provides more atmospheric pollutants than appear at Papago AASF pro-viding more opportunities for reduced visibility. Fog is also a problem due to close proximity of the Salt River.

Local weather observations and terminal forecasts are available daily on a rou-tine basis to the 161st ARW through the Phoenix Flight Services Facility and the automated surface observing system situated 2 miles northeast. Additionally, the 161st operations center has an electrowriter from NWS Phoenix, a telecopier from Luke AFB, and the Kavouras Dial-Up radar system. Luke AFB also provides weather support via an AWDS FCF/FO and a NOTAM terminal.

Phoenix Sky Harbor's emergence as one of the nation's major passenger airports began on October 13, 1952, with the dedication of Terminal 1. Built for $835,000, Terminal 1 was among the most modern, convenient and efficient passenger terminals of its time. The most distinguishing feature of this terminal was the air traffic control tower. The tower was constructed out of several underground fuel storage tanks welded together, one on top of another.

The year Terminal 1 opened, 296,066 passengers used Sky Harbor. In less than 10 years, Sky Harbor passenger usage tripled to 920,096 in 1961. More terminals were added over the years to accommodate increasing traffic. But in 1990 when Terminal 1 was demolished due to the need for major renovation, these other terminals were never renumbered. Terminal 2 was opened in the spring of 1962, the same year Sky Harbor broke the 1 million passenger mark. By the time construction of the $35 million Terminal 3 and $13 million parking garage began in 1976, 4.4 million people were flying in and out of Sky Harbor International Airport. Terminal 4 broke ground in October of 1989 and opened in November 1990. Terminal 1 was demolished shortly thereafter, but the other terminals were not renumbered.

In 1993, the City began land acquisition and design development to relocate the Arizona Air National Guard and numerous other projects necessary prior to constructing a third runway. In 1989, the FAA had completed a capacity study that recommended an additional runway at Sky Harbor. Runway construction began in 1997 and is now completed. Total costs for all projects incidental to and including the runway are estimated at $128 million.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to distribute the 117th Air Refueling Wing's KC-135R aircraft from Birmingham International Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), AL and the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport AGS (two aircraft) and two other bases. Phoenix Sky Harbor (37) scored higher than Birmingham (63) (see BRAC Recommendations for rank explanation) in military value for the tanker mission. This recommendation would take advantage of available capacity at Phoenix by increasing the air refueling squadron size from eight to ten aircraft, increasing the wing's overall capability. It would also capitalize on the favorable recruiting environment of the greater Phoenix region that could sustain this increased squadron size.



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