Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Bishop Army Air Field
(including Bishop Test Site)
"Tent City" temporary housing at Bishop AAF.
 
 
Bishop, in the east-central part of the state east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, had a small Army air field, Bishop Army Air Field (AAF) 2.5 miles northeast of town. The field was used for a short time and them turned over to the Air Technical Service Command. Today, it is the municipal airport for the city of Bishop.
 
Undated US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History
 
The site consisted of 897.22 acres subleased from Inyo County, California between 10 June 1942 to 2 May 1949. The US Army subleased from Inyo County runway use rights and a heliport area of 4.76 acres known as the Bishop Test Site from 15 November 1965 to 19 June 1971 and from 25 November 1980 to 30 September 1985. The site is owned by the City of Los Angeles, California and leased to Inyo County.

The project site was the former Bishop AAF used by the U.S. Army and Air Force from 1942 to 1949 and again from 1965 to 1971 and 1980 to 1985. The site was used for aircraft flight and ordnance delivery training. Aircraft maintenance was also accomplished at the site as well as ordnance storage.
 
During World War II the airfield was known as Bishop AAF and was used as a sub-base to Muroc AAF (now Edwards AFB) in 1942 and 1943 by Fourth Air Force. The site was used for aircraft flight and ordnance delivery training. In 1943 it was re-assigned to Tonopah AAF, Nevada. Aircraft maintenance was also accomplished at the site as well as ordnance storage.

After the end of World War II, Bishop AAF was turned over to Air Technical Service Command as a storage airfield. On 2 May 1949, Army cancelled its initial lease of 897.22 acres (363.09 ha) with Inyo County for Bishop Airport under the War Assets Administration's Peacetime Reduction Mission, and the base was declared excess to requirements and returned to civil control.
 
The Air Force used the heliport area and runway for performance testing of helicopters and other aircraft from 1965 to 1971 and 1980 to 1985. The Army facilities were constructed during 1942 and 1943 except for the heliport which was constructed during 1965. The DoD facilities included run-way expansion, fuel facilities, utilities, buildings, aircraft maintenance, hospital and barracks.
 
 

 Structure No.

Type or Purpose

 Size
 1 Enlisted Barracks 20x100
 2 Officer Quarters 20x100
 3 Latrine 10x24
 4 Latrine 25x24
 5 Administration and Supply  20x100
 6 Mess Hall 40x100
7 Utility Shop Unknown
 8 Operations Unknown
 9 Bombsight Storage 12x16
 10 Crew Shelter 10x20
11 Crew Shed 10x10
12 Crew Shed 10x10
13 Medical Dispensary 25x120
14 Link Trainer Building 20x40
15 Vehicle Fuel Point Includes a 25,000 gallon fuel tank.
16 School Building 20x60
17 Fire Station Unknown
 
During World War II building were the temporary, tar paper covered, Theater of Operations type buildings. Addition housing was provided by framed tents. The airfield had protective aircraft revetments for a squadron of 16 aircraft. In addition to the structures, there were ten earthen revetments for bomb storage, five structures for bomb fuses, ten structures for bomb fins, a warehouse and a latrine. There were also four aircraft fuel points, each with a 25,000 gallon underground fuel tank located on all four sides of the airfield.
 
 
History (2005) by Justin Ruhge
 
Bishop Army Air Field was located 2.5 miles northeast of the town of Bishop. In 1941 the airport was used for the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Sixty pilots were in training when the Field was transferred to the Department of the Army in June 1942. By December 1942 the improvements to the Field were completed and it was then designated the Bishop Army Air Field. The Field then came under the jurisdiction of the Tonopah Army Air Field on December 16, 1942. In 1943 Minter Army Air Field used the Bishop Field for basic training while Tonopah Army Air Field carried on the housekeeping duties and aircraft servicing.
In May 1944, 200 Marine pilots and crews arrived to practice aircraft carrier landings with their F-4U Corsairs. These planes tended to bounce when hitting the carrier decks so that the tail hooks would miss the arresting cables. The emphasis of this training was on the "bounce" problem.
Bishop Field was returned to the town of Bishop in November 1945. In 2005, it is the municipal airport for the City of Bishop.

References: Airports of the Owens Valley, 1928 thru 1945 by Kirt Nance, 2003

 
 
Extract of January 1945 US Army and Navy Directory of Air Fields
 

Updated 1 April 2014

Sources: Los Angeles District, US Army Corps of Engineers and Wikipedia