Blake Field celebrates 2017, prepares for runway work
By Annette Brand
Published Thursday, February 8, 2018 8:08 am
Cheryl Husmann presented the 2017 year-end report for Smiling Aviation at Blake Field at the county commissioners' Feb. 5 meeting.
Earlier in the meeting the commissioners approved the application to Federal Aviation Administration for federal assistance in the reconstruction and resurfacing of the runway at Blake Field to FAA standards. The work will begin in the latter part of 2018. The design for the reconstruction was laid out by FAA and Armstrong Consultants.
The total cost of the reconstruction and resurfacing of the runway will be $6,899,144. The county's share of the cost will be $689,916, and the state's portion will be $344,958.
Husmann reported that takeoff and landings at Blake Field in 2017 were 3,677, up 28.6 percent over 2016. Total fuel sold was 42,535.93 gallons, up 91.6 percent. Rent collected was $19,303, up 12.8 percent, with many inquiries for space.
Aircraft based at Blake Field as of Dec. 31, 2017, totaled 63, consisting of one helicopter, one motor-glider, several single and twin engines, and numerous experimental aircraft.
Husmann said she and husband Mark have been able to keep their fuel pricing competitive and stable. They had the main ramp crack sealed and slurry sealed, which improved the surface considerably.
They continue advertising on pilot planning websites such as AirNav, Global Air, 100LL & Flight Aware. They maintain exposure on Google -- the pilots' favorite --and update and improve their information on Google maps. They maintain exposure on Yahoo and Yelp also.
"We are updating web photos and information on a regular basis for the airport as well as for Smiling Aviation," Husmann said.
"Looking forward, we have seen an increase in traffic and inquiries for space on the field. At this moment, we do not have any hangar space for rent, only two or three tie-down spaces for monthly renters and two or three tie downs left open regularly for transients," she said.
"The option that is available is for people who want to build their own hangar."
In January the commissioners approved agreements with Benjamin Lowe to operate Ultimate Skydiving Adventures from Blake Field and an agreement with Lowe to operate Rocky Mountain Air Tours, LLC, also out of Blake Field.