A Utah airport that is broadening its general aviation tenant base, expanding its facilities, and entertaining the community at large with a biennial celebration of “aeroplanes, trains and automobiles” has been named “Airport of the Year” by the state’s aeronautics division.
Spanish Fork-Springville-Woodhouse Field was named “Airport of the Year” by the Utah Division of Aeronautics, said Cris Child, the airport’s manager. The award was presented at the spring conference of the Utah Airport Operators Association.
"The single factor I'd like to point out is the fact that the airport is strongly supported by two city councils and is recognized by the communities as a valuable public asset. It clearly contributes to local economic development, and the airport manager and his staff take every opportunity to invite the public to visit 'their' airport," said Pat Morley, director of the Utah Division of Aeronautics.
Woodhouse Field, elevation 4,350 feet msl, is a nontowered airport situated on the southeast end of Lake Utah. The airport occupies a cutout on the south edge of Provo’s Class D airspace. Salt Lake City International Airport is about 40 miles to the north. Woodhouse Field’s Runway 12/30 is listed at 5,700 feet, but that entry has yet to reflect recent improvements including a lengthening of the runway to 6,500 feet. The renovated apron has provided new tie-down spots for airplanes and helicopters, Child said.
The improvements have positioned the airport to seize on an emerging opportunity in the area’s aviation system.
“We have turned into the GA airport for the area, now that Provo has commuter service,” Child said. “We have encouraged GA here on the field, have good training and good service for the aircraft that come in and go out, I think.”
Local aircraft owners seem to have noticed: In the last six years, airport tenancy has increased from 100 based aircraft to 180.
A festive “Aeroplanes, Trains and Automobiles” event being held every two years has put the airport on the map with the larger community—and folks have turned out in numbers to enjoy free airplane rides, train rides, a car show and model train display, and musical performances.
At the most recent event, which drew an estimated 3,000 people, pilots gave 400 airplane rides to youngsters under the EAA’s Young Eagles program, Child said.
The next “Aeroplanes, Trains and Automobiles” day is scheduled for Sept. 10.