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Nat'l Park Service Proposes Destruction of Unique GA Airport

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A unique GA airport (Stovepipe Wells) in the middle of historic Death Valley is under attack by some folks at the National Park Service, under the direction of Superintendent Mike Reynolds of the Death Valley National Park, because they want to turn it into a locale for star gazing. Airport supporters are calling for the aviation community to participate in the planning process by submitting their comments by December 23, 2020 to the NPS. (aero-news.net) 기타...

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C337Skymaster
Commented. Hopefully others see this and comment as well. I'm almost as far away from that location as you can get and still be within the lower 48, but I reviewed Google and Airnav documentation, and it's literally just a flat spot in the sand with some pavement on it. No lights, no buildings even. It would honestly be MORE work for them to repaint it or rip up the pavement than to just put the night viewing area somewhere nearby. I also raised the concern of medical evacuation, since the next nearest airstrip is over 60nm away, and I didn't see a first-rate hospital in town on the Google Maps shot.
RetiredCaptain
"some pavement on it"

And not very good pavement at that. The FAA's Airport Facility Director says "Rwy 15–33 pavement heaving; extremely rough sfc."

In other words not someplace most of us would want to land at. Too many strikes against it. Poorly maintained runway, in DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, in Kalifornia. Yikes. To its credit however it does seem like a place where one could safely go to social distance one's self from others.

Best
C337Skymaster
Yeah, my recommendation to the Park Service was to turn it into a dirt strip. Then they just have to run a grader over it every couple years. Not enough justification to eliminate the airstrip entirely, though.

Also makes me wonder if their other proposal to pave a different part of the park is really such a good idea...
watkinssusan
having been to death valley only once in my lifetime as a child,all i remember was miles of hot sand,roads in the middle of nowhere,,and at that time (in the 50's),the park service had "watering stations",miles apart,not for drinking,but for people to fill their car radiators!i was not aware of a general aviation airport there,but its probably historic, and it should stay!there are lots of open spaces ,especially in death valley, to star gaze...
RetiredCaptain
"... i remember was miles of hot sand,roads in the middle of nowhere..."

Hasn't changed much.

Best

Capt J Buck
Pilot
xtoler
Destroy the airport and take away jobs from the few people who work there. Wow, great idea. It's probably some idiot who bought a house near there recently and doesn't like the noise and light and wants to stargaze easier from their back yard. I hope that deal falls through.
C337Skymaster
Seems like that's always how it is. I've got an old SAC base nearby, and all the old-timer locals shake their heads and laugh at the noise complaints it gets about R22's doing pattern work, saying "You shoulda been here when the F-111's were doing pattern work".
joelwiley
If you're not talking about KMHR, you could be - almost word for word. Only it was BUFFs
one old-timer local
C337Skymaster
Mine is KPSM, and it had BUFFs originally, too. Those were replaced by F-111's (from what I'm told) before the base closed when I was 3. :)
edman610
ed lang 1
Done. Not that it will matter, they will do what they want anyway.
patpylot
behold the never-never land federal thinkers inhabit. I see the logic in leaving well enough alone, for at some time an airplane is going to need that runway, for safety or for medical needs. Capable helicopters might not be available if needed.
jmilleratp
Your government at work. :-P
serdyfsx12
GA Airports, most one of the highly Government Subsidized activities around ! ! !
RetiredCaptain
Please cite some statistics to support your statement. For example how much in the way of subsidies did Stovepipe (LO9) get in fiscal 2000-2019? Federal? State? Local?

Since the FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides grants to public agencies — and, in some cases, to private owners and entities — for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS)it would be interesting to know how much funding GA airports got last year. Perhaps you can define what a "GA" airport is for those that may not know.

Perhaps you don't know the answer(s)to any of my questions. I understand.

Best

Capt J Buck
Pilot

P.s. Stovepipe Wells (L09) has remarks in the airport facility directory that says " Rwy 15–33 pavement heaving; extremely rough sfc." In other words the airport is in rough shape and the Dept. of the Interior would prefer to shut it down. Not many pilots I know would want to land on such a poorly maintained runway.
joelwiley
KL09 https://flightaware.com/resources/airport/L09/map
Manager listed as the local Park Ranger, call dispatch after hours . . .
serdyfsx12
GA is dying due to costs, old age and impracticality . . . Astronomy is enjoyed by more people and Dark Sky initiatives help show everyone what can be seen without light pollution ! ! !
charlie02vy
so.....where exactly do you think commercial pilots come from??
linbb
linbb 1
He doesent even know as those are just two many come from community colleges or do it on there own from local flight schools.
serdyfsx12
Academies and Military
xtoler
I guess you're not a pilot. Most pilots I know, including those I've served with in the USAF start out learning to fly at these small airports. It's not until they need to get higher certifications then they go to the academies. Also, unlike some countries, just because one has flown in the military does not automatically land them a job with an airline, but it does help.
RetiredCaptain
"Most pilots I know, including those I've served with in the USAF start out learning to fly at these small airports."

Same could be said for those of us who served in the USCG.

As an aside I started flying (as a preteen) with my dad (in his Cessna 170) out of 45G. I'll let you figure out where that's at. Hint the remarks section of the FAA's AFD says "Attended irregularly. Deer and large birds on & invof arpt. Call arpt manager to verify rwy conds in winter. Call to verify snow removal."

Ahh the good 'ol days.


Best

Capt J Buck
linbb
linbb 0
Star gazers are just another SIG they can find many other places to do there thing. Tough luck just because people are more special than anyone else just ask them they gaze at.............the same damn star night after night and wow it looks exactly like it did the first time it was wver seen so what?
RetiredCaptain
"...GA is dying due to costs, old age and impracticality..."

It's clear to me that you know little (or anything) about the General Aviation sector of our economy.

Best

Capt J Buck

ATP DC-9 B757 B767
Flight Instructor
Ground Instructor
Aircraft Dispatcher
A&P Mechanic
Air Traffic Controller
FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (Ret.)
FAA certified accident investigator (Ret.)
ICAO Panel Member
Aviation Safety Consultant
KenWD0ELQ
Want a good telescope? https://www.slooh.com/landingPage lets you control better telescopes than ANYTHING you could purchase locally.

The problem is that airports are big, and once that land is parcelled out, they can NEVER be rebuilt.

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