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'Friendliest' Texas airport poised to grow'Friendliest' Texas airport poised to grow

“The friendliest little airport in Texas” may soon extend its jovial welcome to more people and larger aircraft under a long-planned expansion project that just received a big infusion of funds.

Stephen Vale refuels a locally based Cessna Skyhawk at Granbury Regional Airport. Photo courtesy of Peter D. Heffley.

Site preparation has begun for a new $31.9-million 5,200-foot-long, 75-foot-wide runway project at Granbury Regional Airport, and now, the Texas Transportation Commission has approved $3.3 million in land-acquisition funding to move the project along toward expected completion in January 2019.

According to an economic impact report released in July 2016, the new runway, to be constructed west of the existing 3,603-foot-long Runway 14/32 using federal, state, and local funding, “will be more aligned with prevailing winds for aircraft operations. In addition, the loadbearing capacity of the runway will allow for heavier aircraft.”

The new runway’s localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) precision approach will make available lower approach minima than existing nonprecision instrument approach procedures. The new runway will be equipped with centerline-illuminating omni-directional approach lights (ODALs) and precision approach path indicator lights (PAPIs).

“In addition, the new runway will create land for new hangars and aviation development,” the report said.     

A pancake breakfast held every fourth Saturday from April through September is one claim to Granbury Regional’s nickname of “the friendliest little airport in Texas” proclaimed in the airport’s newsletter, 14 Right (right traffic to Runway 14). Another claim to the airport’s aura of amiability arises from the daily coffee-and-doughnut sessions of the “KDGJ Morning Coffee Club.” The gatherings are held “for fellowship and lively aviation conversation,” reported a recent edition of the newsletter.

A sense of welcome is important for an airport that serves an area in Hood County, southwest of Dallas/Fort Worth, that has become a growing draw for tourism since Lake Granbury was created in 1969 on the Brazos River.

“The local community has really blossomed,” said Peter Heffley, a native of the area who serves as AOPA’s Airport Support Network volunteer at Granbury Regional Airport.

Expanding the airport’s capability to serve larger aircraft will help meet the region’s growth demands—and possibly “get some businesses in here that can utilize the airport,” he said, adding, “This has been a long time coming.”

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, FAA Funding

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