For about three weeks starting on May 2, the gravel runway at Lake Hood will be closed for a major rehabilitation project. This project will include removing and replacing a foot of gravel and will also make improvements to electrical systems and drainage on the airport. During this time airplanes based at Lake Hood will use the paved runways at Anchorage International Airport (ANC). In addition to ground operations on the taxiways at Anchorage International and the taxiway that connects Lake Hood with the main runways at ANC, pilots also need to be aware of the difference in airspace associated with these two airports.
Lake Hood is covered with Class D airspace and is served by the Lake Hood Tower. Just a short distance away at ANC, however, the airspace is Class C, triggering the requirement for transponders and ADS-B Out. Since aircraft based at LHD may normally operate in the Class D airspace going in and out of LHD, they may not be equipped for operation in the Class C airspace. Fortunately, air traffic control and flight standards have coordinated to accommodate this disruption to normal operations at LHD. In a Letter to Airmen issued April 14, Anchorage Tower outlined procedures for non-ADS-B equipped aircraft to arrive and depart from Anchorage International’s runways, on a work-load-permitting basis. Please reference the Letter to Airmen for details on these procedures.
Provisions for non-transponder, non-ADS-B operations:
In response to concerns expressed by pilots based at Lake Hood, the Alaska Airmen’s Association reached out to the FAA for clarification on the relaxation of the transponder and ADS-B Out requirements. To help put pilots at ease, the FAA issued a letter outlining the situation and confirming that ATC is able to allow non-equipped aircraft to operate under the provisions described in the Letter to Airmen. It does note, however, that pilots are required to advise controllers of their lack of equipment on initial contact, and that the procedures are offered on a workload-permitting basis, likely leading to delays, especially during high traffic periods at ANC. All pilots may anticipate delays between 1100 and 1600 local time, thus avoiding arrivals and departures outside of these peak traffic times at ANC may expedite operations. Pilots are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time and fuel for potential delays.
The three weeks in May when the Lake Hood strip will be closed will provide a significant disruption during the very time the short summer flying season is ramping up. The current status of the strip is available via NOTAMs, while the airport has a Lake Hood Update page on their website, designed to help keep users informed as the project progresses. We appreciate the airport, ATC, and flight standards all coordinating to provide a workaround during this challenging but busy time of the year and look forward to an improved runway at LHD this summer.