Improved safety, including the removal of night operations restrictions into northwest Wyoming’s gateway to Yellowstone Country, will soon be a reality after the new Hot Springs County Airport near Thermopolis opens to the public on Nov. 7. The fly-in and ceremony will include Gov. Matt Mead landing on Thermopolis’s new 6,370-foot-long Runway 5/23.
The new facility has been under construction since 2012 and will use 122.8 MHz as the unicom frequency, the same frequency as the older Hot Springs County-Thermopolis Municipal Airport that it replaces.
The previous airfield didn’t meet federal design standards and was situated in obstructed terrain that limited expansion and precluded night operations.
The grand opening of the new airfield in the Bighorn River valley 10 miles northwest of Thermopolis also includes a ribbon cutting, welcome speeches, and free lunch for attendees. It is only the tenth new or relocated nonprimary general aviation airport to open in the United States since 2010.
AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager Warren Hendrickson said the association was engaged on the local level with the Wyoming Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division, the Wyoming Pilots Association, and the Wyoming Airport Operators Association as plans for the new airfield came together. “The new airport will contribute to the safety of pilots flying in northwestern Wyoming because the facility meets FAA standards, has a longer runway, and is located where terrain is less of a hazard to flight operations,” Hendrickson said.
Hot Springs County Airport is situated close to the “world’s largest mineral hot springs,” according to the Hot Springs County Travel & Tourism Department. The foothills of the Bighorn Mountains are to the east and the Washakie Needles are to the west of the new airport.
The northwestern Wyoming city has an elevation of 4,326 feet and was founded in 1897. Nearby attractions include white water rafting, cross-country skiing, fishing, and hunting.