Minden-Tahoe Airport manager backs larger loads
MINDEN – Bring on the bigger, heavier planes, Minden-Tahoe Airport Manager Jim Braswell said Saturday.
Douglas County Commissioners approved the creation of an advisory committee to study the size, noise and land use around the airport.
The Airport Advisory Committee, which advises the commission, will select committee members in January.
“We definitely have to take a look forward to it,” Braswell said. “It’s time for the community to have a look at things that have been done in the past as far as weight limits.”
Currently the county has a weight limit of 50,000 pounds for multi-wheeled planes and jets that use the airport, with the lower limits for different types of aircraft.
But larger planes aren’t necessarily noisier, Braswell contends.
“You know what’s happened in the last 15 years in the aviation industry is that planes have been built with more power with less noise,” he said. “They weigh about the same, but make less noise at takeoff.”
County law exempts the Nevada Division of Forestry fire bombers which are larger than 50,000 pounds.
Braswell supported the creation of a study group, along with the suggestions of the Airport Advisory Committee, because it would involve the residents who live in the area adjacent to the airport.
The new committee would include two Airport Advisory Committee members and residents from the foothill, Johnson Lane, East Valley, Winhaven and Minden areas.
“What we’re looking for is the corporate jets and planes that would be able to come into the area and use the airport a little more often,” Braswell said.
He said the load limitation has discouraged use of the Minden-Tahoe Airport for some corporate officials even though they have relatively quiet jets or planes. Also, tourism is stifled by the size restraints.
Braswell said that more frequent fly-ins by companies would mean more hangar rentals, airplane fuel purchases, and plane repairs, all of which would benefit the county’s tax base.
The new committee will also be charged with evaluating a zoning designation that would be unique to the area surrounding the airport.
Commissioner Kelly Kite said other areas’ airports became surrounded by houses whose occupants then demanded relocation or closure.
“I’d just as soon we didn’t go through that out there,” he said.
The Minden-Tahoe Airport is a general aviation airport, not a commercial airport, Braswell noted. That means it’s constructed for “recreational flying, business and corporate, and emergency services.”