Spotting and Photography Guide: Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR)

goodyear airport overview

One of the things I wanted to do during my recent trip to Phoenix was to check out Goodyear Airport (GYR), which is located approximately 20 minutes west of Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). I had actually been there once before prior to this trip – about 13 years ago to be exact. But that was just a quick drive-by, and I didn’t see much. This time, I wanted to have a closer look.

For those not familiar with the significance of Goodyear Airport, it’s basically known for being an airline graveyard – one of a few locations in North America where airlines send their old airplanes to be broken up or stored long-term until another buyer comes along. I’ve always been fascinated by these kinds of places due to the history of the planes that are present. It’s not uncommon to see old airliners that haven’t flown for 15 years, so they are really good places to relive old memories!

So how easy is it to see the aircraft? Pretty easy actually, and you don’t even need binoculars or a long telephoto lens for your camera. I drove around the airport perimeter several times, and the best location by far is at the kink in the road on S Bullard Avenue, which I’ve marked on the map below:

gyr spotting location
The best spotting and photography location at GYR is on S Bullard Ave

There is a large pull-off at that corner which will allow you to park your car off the side and away from passing vehicles. I spent about 20 minutes here just looking and taking pictures, and nobody gave me any trouble. It’s not a very busy road anyway so I didn’t expect it to be a problem.

From this location, these are the kinds of views you will see:

united airlines 767-200
An ex-United Airlines 767-200 (N68160) stored at GYR
Blue Panorama 767-300
ex-Blue Panorama 767-300 (EI-EED) stored at GYR
el al 757-200 at gyr
Ex El Al 757-200 stored at GYR
aircraft stored at Goodyear Airport (GYR)
A wide angle overview of the aircraft stored at Goodyear Airport (GYR)

Keep in mind that these pictures were taken with my 24-105mm lens, and I didn’t crop any of them. That just goes to show you how close to the aircraft you can really get, and I’d imagine that you could get really detailed shots with a 200mm lens or longer. Keep in mind, however, that this is Arizona and heat haze will be a problem year round. You can minimize that by shooting in late afternoon – which provides the best light angle anyway. You’ll be shooting directly into the sun in the mornings from this location.

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