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Last Validated 02-2024
City Waco
Position 31°38'16"N 097°04'27"W
Runway(s) 17L/35R, 17R/35L
Elevation 470 ft


TSTC (Texas State Technical College) Waco Airport lies north of Waco city along Interstate 35/US Route 77 between Dallas and San Antonio. Before 1968, it was known as James Connally Air Force Base, used as a pilot training base under the Air Training Command. Nowadays, apart from the College, L3Harris (a merger of the former L-3 Technologies and the Harris Corporation) has its Waco Integration and Modification Center here, a major refurbishment centre for the EP-3, (E)C-130 and C-5.


The airport has two parallel runways, from north to south. West of them is large apron with mainly corporate-style aircraft (used by the TSTC) on its northern part and heavy military hardware on the rest of it. The latter is also the case for L3Harris' apron in the southeastern corner of the field.

Getting There

The airport, not to be confused with Waco/Regional some miles to the west, and adjacent campus lie along the I35/US77 just north of the city. When coming from the north on the highway, take exit 342A to FM2417, Crest Drive. Turn left onto East Crest Drive to head just north of the main apron and make your way to the desired spot(s) from there on. Alternatively, continue past Crest Drive on the I35 Frontage Road and turn left to cross under the highway at the next option, East Craven Avenue. This leads to the southern part of the main apron (possibly with a little detour due to roadworks). From the south, take highway exit 341 to (East) Craven Avenue and turn onto it to continue as above.

Around the Airport

1Col. James T. Connally Aerospace Center

To the left of this prominent building, the fence is close to the apron behind the Texas State Technical College hangar. A number of general aviation aircraft can usually be found here, especially King Airs. If you have access to the Aerospace Center this will give you a panoramic view of the apron behind it, from a lounge with a Cessna hanging from the ceiling. If not, you may also want to peak between the buildings on the other (south) side of the Center. Spot 1 is best reached from Crest Drive, where you turn right 0.7 miles from the highway, onto Airline Drive. The Aerospace Center and its large parking lot will be hard to miss.

2Fire brigade

Just south of the control tower, 9th Street runs up to the fence along the apron, with a good chance of a nice view of aircraft parked nearby. This will be the first left after the Challenger Learning Center when coming from the north/spot 1. Do obviously take care not to obstruct the fire engines' routes.

3L3Harris hangar southwest

Continuing south on Airline Drive, there is an L3Harris parking lot just before their large hangar here. From either side of the hangar, you may be able to see and possibly photograph aircraft outside, visiting for modifications.

4South view 1

Where Airline Drive ends and connects to Concord Road, there is some space to park a car. From here, you can see planes on the aprons on either side of the runways and possibly in open hangars. The spot is situated between the centrelines of the runways, so for photography - which is of course best with afternoon light here - you will likely want to walk back a bit for some distance.

5South view 2

Take Concord Road to the left from the previous spot and proceed to the triangle of roads with Williams Drive and Tirey Road. There is ample room to park here and the spot is good for photography of landings on 35R (35L is rather far away), with the best light in the morning of course. This spot also offers additional views onto the L3Harris aprons and somewhat into their hangars, if open.

6Final 17L (am)

Most, but not all, of Mazanec Road (FM2417) is lined with trees. This spot with a view over open terrain allows for photography of landings on 17L, and to a lesser degree 17R. The light is best in the morning obviously and to just watch some action it should do all day. To get here from spot 5, just follow the airfield perimeter via Aviation Parkway and Our Way Road onto Mazanec Road. Find the spot shortly after this road makes a 90-degree right. From the other side, continue on Crest Drive that becomes Mazanec Road and stay on it. You will reach the spot 0.35 miles after passing the approach lights of 17L. Parking on the verge just clear of the road should work.

At Waco, you can expect some surprises, like this Hercules now flying with the Polish Air Force. This shot was made from Aviation Parkway, close to spot 5, by Reinold Kalsbeek.

Many trainers use Waco for some approaches, like this one, also captured from spot 5 by Reinold Kalsbeek.


124.000 / 255.700 Tower
126.125 / 227.125 Departure
127.650 / 227.125 Approach

Based Operators

L3Harrisvarious types

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