December 9, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
A vote by the Longmont, Colo., City Council will keep a 1,000-foot extension of the Vance Brand Airport runway on an approved list of improvements eligible for federal grant funding under an updated master plan. But construction could still be a decade away, the FAA has told planners and local officials.
On Dec. 7 the city council voted 7-0 to adopt planners’ preferred list of projects for updating the airport master plan—including the runway extension. The vote followed a public-comment session in which speakers expressed their views on the airport’s future, according to a local newspaper report.
Although construction to extend the 4,800-foot runway at the airport (elevation 5,055 feet msl) may be a decade away, the vote was a necessary part of the process of keeping the airport eligible for federal improvement grants.
The prior update of the airport master plan occurred in 2004, and since then pilots have been involved in long-range planning activities, as AOPA reported on Oct. 21, 2010. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Howie Morgan has actively participated in the planning process, and has kept the local aviation community informed of meetings and other developments as the master plan moves forward according to this schedule.
In a letter to the city council, AOPA noted that the runway extension would provide an added margin of safety for flight operations at Vance Brand. The association encouraged council members to weigh all the options and make choices that would best serve the needs of the community and airport users.
“The bottom line is that unless an airport improvement project is in the master plan and the capital improvement plan, the FAA will not even consider financing it,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy, after the council vote.
Airport Master Plan,
Pilot Skip Gibbs regularly uses his Bonanza A36 to bring medical volunteers and supplies to remote areas of Mexico. Just before sunset, Gibbs was flying to the historic city of El Fuerte in the state of Sinaloa where LIGA International Flying Doctors of Mercy has been doing good works since 1934.
The board of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority will wait 120 days before making a final decision to close Braden Airport, citing community concerns.
The GACE Flying Club, which grew from a club for Grumman employees, prides itself on offering members low-cost, safe flying and social events.