COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — After an administrative process that took more than two decades, the Colorado City Airport expanded in a major way last month when the Bureau of Land Management conveyed 141 acres of public land to the town for airport use.
In an email to St. George News, Colorado City Mayor Joseph Allred wrote that among the many benefits of the added land are safety and increased accommodation for airport users and citizens using the airport in general.
Allred wrote that the added land will be used for protection of the Runway Protection Zone for the main runway, protection of the Runway Visibility Zone between all runways, protection of the taxiway for the main runway and for terminal area development.
Allred added that the newly acquired land has long been needed for additional hangars, as the airport is running out of space.
Airport Manager Ladell Bistline told St. George News, “All the hangars are full.”
“I would estimate maybe 15 pilots have planes that are looking for hangars. Our private hangars are full, the main hangar is full, we’ve got planes out on the ramp,” Bistline said.
Michael Herder, BLM Arizona Strip district manager, presented the conveyance patent to Colorado City officials on May 19.
“The BLM is pleased to work with the local community, FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and other partners to help ensure the safety and modernization of the Colorado City Airport and our regional transportation infrastructure in Mohave County,” Herder said in a press release.
Herder added that the land conveyance will have substantial, positive impacts for the airport, the community and the many visitors who fly into the area each year for business or to visit the Grand Canyon or other recreational areas.
In his email, Allred said that every community needs an airport nearby for economic development.
“The services (hangars, fuel, maintenance, etc.) are very important,” Allred wrote. “The newly acquired land will help us expand our services. We need to have land available for businesses and citizens to build hangars, and need to continue constructing infrastructure to support them.”
Bistline said that airports measure traffic by the number of operations (takeoffs and landings) per month. Traffic has returned to normal levels in Colorado City after the COVID-19 pandemic year slowed air travel considerably.
“I’d say we get about 400 operations a month,” Bistline said. “We get a lot of people that want to see Zion and take the tour of natural sights. Most of our operations are used for instruction. There’s always pilots in training that use the airport, a lot of students and instructors.”
Airport hosts first ever fly-in Saturday
Local residents have a fun-filled opportunity to learn about the Colorado City Airport on Saturday at a fly-in event.
“When I started advertising for this event I was very surprised how many people didn’t even know that we have an airport,” event organizer Darlene Stubbs said. “I’m excited to get people out to the airport so they can see what a positive thing it can be.”
The event is at the airport, located at 1599 W. Airport Avenue, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It begins with a free pancake breakfast. Children can play at a bounce house, and adults can enjoy airplane and Jeep shows. Affordable aircraft rides are offered, and there will be a live band for entertainment.
“This is the first fly-in we’ve ever had,” Bistline said. “People can come and enjoy it and they’ll be surprised at what a great airport we have. Hopefully, it will raise the youths’ interest in aviation. This is how you see a lot of people decide they want to get their license and participate.”
Lawrence Stubbs, an event organizer and a pilot, said that pending the success of this year’s event, future fly-ins will be scheduled that will feature vintage aircraft and military aircraft.
“On Saturday there are going to be several different types of planes to see,” he said, noting that there will be jets, turbo props and other aircraft with some rides available.
“There’s going to be lots of pilots, too,” he said. “People can pick their brains and sit in planes and satisfy all of their aviation questions.”
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