Sheppard Air Force Base isthe largest and most diversified training center in Air Education and Training Command. It is located close to Wichita Falls in the state of Texas. Though the mission has changed several times, Sheppard has always been in the training business since it was officially opened as an active Army Air Corps base in October 1941. The Field was named for the late Senator Morris E. Sheppard, former chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee. During World War II, Sheppard conducted basic training and it also trained glider mechanics, technical training for B-25 and B-26 crew chiefs and B-29 engineers. The base also provided liaison aircraft training for ground officers and helicopter pilot training. The 3630th Flying Training Wing was activated in 1965, and it assumed the helicopter training program. It also began providing undergraduate pilot training in the T-37 and T-38 for the German Air Force in August 1966. Helicopter training was discontinued in 1971 when the U.S. Army assumed responsibility for training Air Force helicopter pilots. The 3630th Flying Training Wing also provided undergraduate pilot training for pilots of the Republic of Vietnam Air Force from 1971 to 1975. The 3630th Flying Training Wing designation was changed to the 80th Flying Training Wing in 1973. The 80th Flying Training Wing began conducting the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program in 1981. This one-of-a-kind program provides fighter oriented pilot training for 13 NATO countries. They are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The program has been approved through the year 2016. Four organizations, the 80th Flying Training Wing, the 82nd Training Group, the 782nd Training Group and the 882nd Training Group, conduct resident training that qualifies students in a broad range of career fields—from pilot, aircraft maintenance, civil engineering, communications, comptroller and transportation to a wide scope of medical specialties. The 982nd Training Group provides instruction in a wide range of specialties at more than 46 Air Force installations worldwide. The 82nd Mission Support Group and the 82nd Medical Group support these organizations. ( MyBaseGuide.com )
Sheppard AFB is quite large, especially due to all the ground instructional facilities. The apron for the T-6As and T-38Cs is in the northwest. The large apron in the middle west of the runways is for ground instruction aircraft. The small apron in the south is for the civil aircraft. The airport has four runways: 15R/33L is mainly used by the T-38Cs, 15L/33R is mainly used by the T-6As and 17/35 is mainly used by the civil aircraft.
Sheppard AFB lies north of the city of Wichita Falls, Texas. Interstate 44 is build through this city and Sheppard AFB is located to the east of this interstate. From Interstate 44, which starts in Wichita Falls and neds in St. Louis, MI, take the exit onto Missile Road. Just before the main gate, take a left onto route 240. You will see the base at your right.
1Landing to the South
After leaving Interstate 44 via Missile Road and turning left onto route 240, continue to the north. When you see some houses and farms, take the next right onto Bailey Road. Park your car to the right and take your position for some landing traffic. However, most T-38Cs make a landing turn into runway 15R and will turn inside this road. The field next to the Bailey Road has no gate and you can walk along the fence, via a left and right turn, towards a small spot with some trees. Here, you have a excellent view onto all landing traffic for runway 15R and photography is possible with about 600mm/full frame. You can also continue along Bailey Road towards the spot for landing T-6Cs.
2View onto 82TRW aircraft
After leaving Interstate 44 via Missile Road and turning left onto route 240, continue to the north. Take the first road to the right, which is a dirt road, and continue to the end. At the fence, you have a view onto landing traffic for runway 15R and some parked aircraft of the 82nd TRW.
3View onto 82TRW apron/PM
After leaving Interstate 44 via Missile Road, take a left and park at the parking spots at your right. From these slightly elevated spots, you can look onto the large apron full with ground instruction aircraft and the preserved B-52.
4Wichita Falls MAP
From spot 3, take the route 240 to the south, towards Wichita Falls. When the fence of Sheppard AFB takes a right turn, do the same onto McKinley Street. This street will drive into Airport Drive and follow this one. Take a left towards Wichita Falls MAP and follow the road towards the civil terminal to have a look here. All civil aircraft will taxi along the fence, always with the sun in your back. Inside the wooden area, two Hercules aircraft are positioned but these are hard to see.
5Landing to the North
From spot 3, take the route 240 to the south, towards Wichita Falls. When the fence of Sheppard AFB takes a right turn, do the same onto McKinley Street. This street will drive into Airport Drive and follow this one. At the next crossing, Airport Drive and Old Friburg Church Road, positioning yourself for landing traffic. When you walk into the "No Trespassing" road, you will have a better view.
6View onto Runways
From spot 3, take the route 240 to the south, towards Wichita Falls. When the fence of Sheppard AFB takes a right turn, do the same onto McKinley Street. This street will drive into Airport Drive and follow this one. Pass the next crossing and take the next right onto Emmert Road. Stop at the next crossing to have a proper view onto the runways, especially runway 33C. Too bad the Emmert Road from this spot on is closed while the road to the right, Old Friberg Road, is a gated private road.
7View onto runways
From spot 6, take the Old Friberg Road to the right. At the next crossing with Farm to Market Road 171, take a left. At the next crossing take another left. At the next crossing, take a left again onto a dirt track. This track will lead towards the fence of Sheppard AFB and you will have a view onto runway 33R.
Walking from spot 1 into the field along the fence, these banking shots are the result. (Piet Luijken)
|88 FTS||T-38C, "EN", silver/red tailband with "Lucky Devils"|
|89 FTS||T-6A, "EN", red tailband with "Banshees"|
|90 FTS||T-38C, "EN", yellow or blue tailband with "Boxing Bears"|
|97 FTS/AFRC||T-6A, "EN", blue tailband with " Madcats"|
|459 FTS||T-6A, "EN", green/yellow tailband with "Dragons"|
|469 FTS||T-38A, "EN", green/yellow tailband with "Bulls"|
|82 TRW||multiple, "ST"|
|58-0589||GB-52D, preserved near spot 3.|
|63-9773||F-111A, preserved near show parade.|
|56-0912||F-104C, preserved near show parade.|
|63-7426||F-4C, preserved near show parade.|
|54-2151||F-100D, code FW-151, preserved near show parade.|
|61-0175||F-105D, tailcode RU, preserved near show parade.|
|80-0481||F-16A, tailcode ST, preserved at show parade.|
|63-8125||T-38A, tailcode EN, preserved at show parade.|
|77-0154||F-15B, tailcode ST, preserved at show parade.|
|56-3520||T-37B, tailcode EN, preserved.|
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