March Air Reserve Base, also known as March ARB (RIV/KRIV) was built in 1917 and opened in 1918 as Alessandro Flying Training Field. It is named after Peyton C. March Jr. who had died just 15 days after his comission in a crash in Texas. After being training base, today it is home for Boeing KC-135 Tanker and Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Transporter. Beside that a few General Dynamics F-16 and some General Atomics MQ-1 Predetaor are there on deployment usually. Since End of 2018 Amazon Prime Air using the Airport with up to 6 flights a day as well and you may see some rare military charter flights like United B777s or B757s flying US soldiers around the world.
The main reason to visit March ARB are the based Omega Air Tankers consisting out of DC10s and B707s. These are flying on regular bases here and are a big attraction as well as the huge March Field Air Museum in the west and March Field Airfest, an airshow held every two years in March.
Written by Severin Hackenberger in cooperation with Christian Preinl, Christian Wewerka, Alex Crail and Patrick Weis. Last Update: 2020
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| (5 votes, average: 4.20 out of 5)
|14/32||4054m / 13302ft|
|Ladder||Not tolerated once military police passes by, but may be useful actually at spots #2 and #5.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car definitely needed as public transport is poor here and the heat is crazy in summer!|
|Restrooms + Drinks/Food
||Along Alessandro Blvd north of the base there are many restaurants where you can get food and find restrooms.|
|Hotels||There are no spotterworthy hotels here.|
|Season||Summer is very hazy here, so everything|
|Security||Spotting at the fence is not really liked so do not park or hang at the fence all the time – only go to the fence when there is a movement to avoid trouble with the miltary police. Apart from that, spotting is okay in the approach. The usage of ladders is not recommended, however it is okay if you quickly use a very small one with 1-2 steps for the spotting session only.
You should keep a low profile and adjust to the common “military spotting rules” in general. Do not show your camera except when you use it, carry an ID with you, greet the stuff friendly and always just explain asking people what you do honestly.
|General Info||Single runway operated air base.|
|14/32||Used in both direction, but 32 usage is more common here.|
|Spot #1 – March Field Air Museum – All 14/32 movements|
|WHERE||This spot is next to Interstate Highway 215 inside the March Field Air Museum. Take Interstate Exit 25 and follow signs to the March Field Air Museum and park your car in their lot. Once inside, go straight ahead to a spectators grandstand next to the B-29 Superfortress Bomber. Go up to have a sight over the fence and take photos of the runway for the active flight movements.|
|WHAT||You can take pictures of planes landing and take-off on runway 14/32 and maybe intersection take-offs are possible, too.
You can also spend the whole day in the museum and photograph the aircraft on the outside display there.
|TIME||Noon till sunset.|
|MISC.||Museum Open Year-Round: Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Entrance fee 12$ per person.
The museum offers drinks and small snacks, and restrooms are in the museum. Official Website
|FOCAL LENGTH||18-100 for the museum and 100-400mm for the movements in the back
C17 departure = 170mm / Fighter departure = 320mm
The movements on the air base:
|Spot #2 – Patterson Ave – 32 Arrivals and Departures|
|WHERE||This spot is in the small industrial park west of the runway. Take Interstate Exit 23 and follow Harley Knox Blvd to east direction. Take the second street on the left “Patterson Ave” and drive to the end of the end of this street – the corner of Patterson Ave/Nandina Ave in the left curve. The car can be parked on the side of the road, but do not directly leave it at the spot. Rather a bit south and only go to the fence when there is a movement to avoid trouble with the miltary Police.|
|WHAT||All runway 32 movements are visible from here: Aproach, touchdown, line-up, taxiies and and take-offs.|
|TIME||Noon till sunset.|
|MISC.||Heathaze can be a Problem during the Summer. No facilites at this spot. Bring enough to drink with you.
A small step ladder with 1-2 steps is helpful, but you can also shoot through the wires on top of the fence without a step ladder at some points here.
F16 Fighter = 290mm
|Spot #3 – Nevada Ave – Afternoon 32 Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is located in the final aproach, so take Interstate Exit 23 and follow Harley Knox Blvd east. Then exit into the third street on the right “Nevada Ave”, where you can park the car in the field or on the side of the road.|
|WHAT||You only can take pictures of planes landing on runway 32.|
|TIME||Noon till sunset.|
|MISC.||This spot is a good alternative to spot #2 if military police sends you away there. Here you can still shoot 32 Arrivals.
Bring what you need, no restrooms, no food, no drinks.
|Spot #4 – Heacock St – Morning 32 Arrivals + Line-up 32|
|WHERE||From the south, take Insterstate Exit 23 and follow Harley Knox Blvd east. Take the second exit at the roundabout and continue on Harley Knox Blvd to the next intersection. Turn left at the intersection into Indian St. and immediately turn left onto Nadina Ave. Turn left again at the T-junction and follow Heacock St. to the point where the road curves. There you park the car on the side of the road.
From the north, take Interstate Exit 27A and follow Cactus Ave east. At the fourth intersection, turn right onto Heacock St and follow the street to near the end where the street curves. There you park the car on the side of the road.
Once you got rid of your car, you can freely position yourself around Heacook Street. Either walk up to the fence west of the street for line-ups or position yourself a bit away from the fence on the east for arrivals.
|WHAT||You only can take pictures of planes landing on runway 32. Planes taxi for line-up on runway 32 – the runway itsself is too far away from here!|
|TIME||Sunrise till late morning/early noon.|
|MISC.||A small step ladder with 1-2 steps is helpful so you can also shoot through the wires on top of the fence. But you can also just shoot thru the mesh itsself without a step.
Bring what you need, no restrooms, no food, no drinks. Heat haze can be an issue on hot days.
110mm = B762 / 190mm = B707 front shot with the mountains