Oscoda Airport Storage and Maintenance Base – Spotting Guide
Oscoda Wurstmith Airport is a remote facility in northern Michigan, close to the shores of Lake Huron. It was formerly Wurtsmith Air Force Base.
The airport has one large runway, 06/24, and uses most of the remaining facilities, aprons and taxiways from its military days.
For the spotter, Oscoda is of interest as one of the main bases for Kalitta Air, where it performs maintenance on its fleet of Boeing 747s and 767s, and where many of its retired aircraft are stored awaiting their fate.
A quick look on Google Maps reveals 19 Boeing 747s present, plus a selection of Boeing 727s, 737s and MD-11s. And it’s not just Kalitta aircraft, with former Evergreen, Lufthansa, Northwest Airlines and National Airlines aircraft being stored here. This situation is always changing, but it gives you an insight as to why it might be worth making a trip to Oscoda when you’re in the area.
There is no airline service to Oscoda, but Kalitta does operate freight flights from here, as do some other cargo airlines on occasion.
Aside from Kalitta Air, Oscoda is also a busy general aviation field and sees many executive aircraft movements. A smaller apron and facilities at the eastern end of the airport handle these.
You will also find the Wurtsmith Air Museum, which is dedicated to the history of this Air Force Base, and aviation in northern Michigan. It has a few aircraft exhibits on display. [Museum Website]
Spotting at Oscoda
Spotting at Oscoda is fairly easy, as long as you have a car. Movements are not frequent enough to make it worthwhile sitting under the approach path, and chances are you’re here to spot the stored airliners on the various ramps.
From Oscoda Township, the F41 highway runs to the airport. It continues past the eastern perimeter of the field, with views across to the nearer storage ramps and lines of aircraft.
Continuing north, take a left turning along Rea Road which passes through forest but eventually opens up and travels along the northern perimeter line. Again, you will have views across the field to some of the lines of parked aircraft.
Retracing your journey, back at the airport site you can explore the many service roads leading to the different businesses on site, as well as the museum on E Van Ettan Street.
Arrow Street is one of the main roads heading through the site, leading to Mission Drive. Both offer views of the parked aircraft through the fence, but be careful not to cause any suspicion and keep camera and binocular use to a minimum.
Perimeter Road leads to the airport fence at the western end and may help you see some extra aircraft. Follow it east to return to the F41.
A recent log from August 2016 listed the following aircraft in storage:
N234AX 767-224ER Omni Air
N110TR 747-256B(F) (white)
N170CR 767-341ER(F) Kalitta
N450AX DC-10-10 Omni Air
N488EV 747-230B(F) Evergreen International
N502MG 727-191 MGM Grand Air
N629US 747-251F Northwest Cargo
N630SN MD-11(F) Lufthansa Cargo
N703CK 747-212B(F) Kalitta
N704CK 747-246F Kalitta
N705CK 747-246F Kalitta
N706BL 747-251B Baltia
N746CK 747-246F Kalitta
N747CK 747-221F Kalitta
N748CK 747-221F Kalitta
N752DH 727-224(F) Kalitta Charters
N767CK 747-446 (white)
N769CK 747-430 Lufthansa
N783CK 767-346 (white)
N784CK 767-346 (white)
N791CK 747-251F Kalitta
N792CK 747-212F Kalitta
N866AA 727-223 American Airlines
N923FT 747-2U3B(F) Star Air
I’d love to know if you’ve visited Oscoda and had any tips on spotting. Leave a comment below.