Hunt Field Airport Master Plan

Owner: City of Lander, Wyoming          Date: 2006

Engineering Cost: $156,000

Services Provided:

  • Airport Master Planning
  • FAA Funding Coordination
  • Public Participation
  • Local Planning Committee Coordination

Lander’s Hunt Field is Wyoming’s busiest general aviation (GA) airport. Over 50 airplanes call Lander home. Given this level of use, the FAA believed the airfield may have significant long-term challenges. The airfield was nearly out of space to accommodate additional hangars. New hangars have been built at a rate of two to three per year over recent years with more hangar applications pending. The FAA was particularly concerned with the out-of-standard separation between the runway and taxiway in light of increasing use by multiengine aircraft.

To complicate matters, the site is very constrained, making expansion problematical. The runway extends the full length of the bench on which is resides. The bench falls off very steeply on all but the north side making runway expansion difficult and costly.

The airport is avidly supported by Lander’s aviation community and businesses. The airport is surrounded by the golf course and rodeo grounds. These facilities are also avidly supported by their users. Any expansion of the airport would impact both of these strongly supported groups and adjoining private land owners. The potential for conflicts was obvious.

To proactively find common solutions to the dilemma of accommodating competing interests the City Council took the innovative approach of appointing an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the airport, golf, rodeo, and business communities, adjoining land owners, and the general public. This committee worked with James Gores and Associates and the Airport Board for over a year exploring a wide series of alternatives that would both meet FAA criteria for the airport and minimize impacts to the adjoining land interests.

At the beginning of the planning process, both the FAA and Wyoming Aeronautics Commission expressed their strong preference that the airport be upgraded to meet safety standards applicable to business jet class aircraft. It was highly questionable whether a way could be found to upgrade the airfield to meet these standards. During the master planning process, James Gores and Associates was responsible for developing a long-term plan for modernization of the existing airport and to determine whether it would be more feasible to construct a new airport at a different site. The plan necessitated meeting FAA requirements, keeping budgetary constraints in mind, and still meeting the needs of a very active and growing aviation public.

It was determined during the planning process that Hunt Field should remain in its present location and be configured to accommodate most twin engine prop planes while being able to be easily upgraded in the future to host larger business class jets. It was also determined that the airport should plan to provide hangars for up to 100 based aircraft.

Through work with the citizens advisory committee and the airport board, an airport master plan was developed that would relocate the Lander Old Timer’s Rodeo Grounds. It would minimally impact the golf course until business class jets had to be accommodated and would require buying out only three residences during the 20-year planning period, and for lower impact than originally expected.

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