AAIR's Aviation Archaeology Course

The course is designed to give the general novice an overview of aviation archeology, yet still provide the expert with new ideas to improve their research, search, and documentation techniques. Upon completion of the course a graduation certificate will be issued.

Course Itinerary

Members visit a F-100 site in Arizona


Arrive in Phoenix Arizona, by your own transportation, at any time convenient to you and check into your hotel.


  • Full day of classroom instruction
  • History of aviation historic preservation and how it differs from other preservation fields
  • Historic preservation laws and the National Register of Historic Places
  • How to research a site and research resources
  • Search techniques
  • Accident Investigation
  • Site identification and documentation
  • Case studies of various crash sites
Members investigate a T-38 site


Field Work - this is where you get to go out into the field and apply what was learned on Saturday.

In the morning the class will use the search techniques learned to locate a World War II P-40 crash and then do a preliminary survey.

In the afternoon we will move on to a Cold War era jet fighter crash and practice site documentation techniques.

Return to Phoenix will be about 7:00 p.m. You can either catch a redeye flight out, or spend another night at the hotel.

The Instructor

Instructor - Craig Fuller

Craig Fuller was formerly the Chief Flight Instructor at Arizona State University’s Bachelors of Science Flight Degree Program. He holds a degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Aeronautical Science with a minor in Aviation Safety/ Accident Investigation and is currently working on obtaining his Masters Degree in Archaeology/Anthropology.

Craig, having been featured in such magazines as Smithsonian, Smithsonian Air & Space, America’s Flyways, Military International, FlyPast, Air Pictorial, and numerous newspaper articles, has located and documented over 300 crash sites in the Southwestern United States. He has assisted next of kin in locating their family member’s final resting place and even on occasion has brought a pilot back to the spot where he narrowly escaped fate.

With 5 years teaching experience, including previous courses in aviation archaeology for organizations such as TIGHAR, combined with almost 25 years of experience in the aviation archaeology field, Craig brings to life the exciting and little known field of aviation archaeology!

Tuition Cost

Tuition cost is $500.00 per person.

To reserve your spot, you must place a $250 deposit, which is refundable up to 30 days in advance of the course date. The balance is due 14 days prior to the course date and is non-refundable. Payment can be made by check, money order, or credit card through PayPal.

Please note that this does not include lodging. Any place in the Phoenix metro area is close enough, but the best would be north or northwest of Sky Harbor (Phoenix International Airport). Transportation will be provided to the crash sites, however transportation is not provided between the conference room and the hotel on Saturday.

Fine Print

While not inherently risky, any hiking in the desert has its challenges and risks. Both of the crash sites visited will be less than half a mile hike from the vehicles. The first site is in relatively flat desert as pictured below left and could actually be driven right up to in a 4X4. The second site involves hiking up a boulder-strewn wash with an elevation gain of approximately 250 feet, pictured below right. You need to judge for yourself your ability to hike to the sites. As part of the course you will be required to sign a release of liability, and an agreement to abide by the rules, directives, and restrictions of the course instructor and his representatives.

Typical flat desert terrain
Typical rocky desert terrain

Course Registration

To register for the course or if you have any questions, e-mail Craig or call 480-218-8198.