Kent Rominger Airport moves onward and upward

Photo by Lyndsie Ferrell The Kent Rominger Airport is an essential but underused resource in Del Norte and the Rio Grande County Commissioners in partnership with the airport board are looking at expanding. The airport located outside of Del Norte is a hotspot during the wildfire season, bringing in large firefighting aircrafts like the one pictured. Plans to improve the airport are underway.

RIO GRANDE COUNTY — During a work session held by Rio Grande County Commissioners on March 10, board members welcomed newly appointed Kent Rominger Airport Director Earl Robinson to hear and discuss updates pertaining to the airport. Commissioners are eager to see the expansion of the airport come to life and are working through the details in hopes of intriguing the right pilots to come to the area.

The commissioners are beginning discussions pertaining to the expansion of the airport through various projects that will include additional hangar spaces, improvements to the existing runway and adding additional taxiways to make the airport user friendly for a wide range of aircrafts and pilots.

According to commissioners and airport board members, there is only one hangar space left on the property and that now is the time to take advantage of state and federal funding to aid in the cost associated with an expansion. Commissioners stated that there is plenty of space on the property, it was just a matter of getting details in place to add additional hangar space.

The board also discussed the possibility of bringing Jet A fuel to the airport and talked about the process of adding it to the fuel service. Several factors come into play when bringing this type of fuel to the airport including making sure that fuel services either include a tow service or tanker fuel truck to deliver fuel to planes in order to minimize the amount of engine cycles a pilot does. Having either or both services would allow larger aircrafts to come to the airport for fuel.

The board also looked at the possibility of expanding the taxiway by creating a packed dirt taxi that connected with hangars. This would allow for easy access to and from the runway for pilots.

Discussions also included improvements to the existing runway to improve the life of the pavement by adding two additional inches of asphalt and fog seal which extends the life of the asphalt for several years. Commissioners stated that both state and federal money is available to help with the costs associated with this phase of the project.

The improvements to the runway would also allow for larger, heavier aircraft to land at the airport bringing in more diverse pilots that would otherwise not be able to come to the Del Norte area. Currently the airport has a pilot’s shelter that is equipped with sleeping arrangements, access to a courtesy vehicle so that a pilot staying the night can go to town if needed and shower facilities.

Though plans are only in the beginning stages, both boards are hard at work figuring out the details that will keep the Kent Rominger Airport moving onward and upward.