Airport Master Plan meeting June 20 in Cowley

Meetings are set for the north and south county airports master plans.

Big Horn County Airports Manager Carl Meyer told the commissioners June 5 that there will be a final public meeting on the North Big Horn County Airport Master Plan at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 20, in the meeting room at the airport near Cowley.

He said the plan is nearing completion but needs approval by the Federal Aviation Administration first and this is an opportunity for the public to provide input on the future of the airports for the next 10 years.

The master plans, he said, are long-term plans that set goals at the airports for the next 10 years. The plans are required by the FAA.

According to the draft plan, “Forecasts of future levels of aviation activity at an airport are the foundation for effective decisions in airport planning and development. The projections are used to determine the need and timing for new and/or expanded facilities or to decommission old facilities. Forecasts are intended to be realistic and based upon the latest available data that is supported by information in the study. They provide adequate justification for airport planning and development.

“With an accurate forecast, an appropriate time frame for phasing of capital investments can be created to help avoid early and unnecessary operating expenses or a loss of economic benefits for the community.”

Although as accurate as possible, the forecast is not absolute as it is only an indicator of aviation trends based upon past and current events. This study focuses on the 5-, 10-, and 20-year time frames. The degree of accuracy for the forecast is more precise short-term. A brief demographic and economic analysis for Big Horn County is provided. A review of historic aircraft operations, based aircraft, and existing aviation forecasts including the FAA forecasts and State of Wyoming forecasts is also included.

“Operations are generally split into two categories: commercial service and general aviation. All operations at the North Big Horn County Airport are assumed to be general aviation as there is not a (fixed-base operator) providing charter services at the airport.

“The active general aviation fleet is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent over the 21-year forecast period (2010-2031). The number of general aviation hours flown is projected to increase by 2.2 percent yearly over the forecast period. The number of private pilots is projected to grow at an average yearly rate of 0.3 percent over the forecast period.”

In other airport news as reported June 5:

The county will need to supply an office trailer at South Big Horn County Airport in order to enter into a lease agreement with the Bureau of Land Management.

Meyer said the cost is about $8,000 to $10,000. He said there is funding in this year’s budget in the North Big Horn County Airport equipment budget.

He said he looked at the trailer that was used for the museum. He said it is being used for storage at this time and there will be time constraints to work out a purchase price from Bob Hawkins.

Meyer said he did talk to Road and Bridge and they will tear down the old outhouse at the north airport.

By Karla Pomeroy