Granby airport awarded Airport of the Year |

Granby airport awarded Airport of the Year

The Colorado Pilots Association recently named the Granby-Grand County airport as a General Aviation airport of the year.

Harriet Alexander Field at Salida was also chosen.

In previous years, the Colorado Pilots Association has named one commercial-service Airport and one General Aviation Airport. But both Granby and Salida were considered such serious contenders that the two were named as Colorado’s General Aviation Airports of the Year.

According to the Colorado Pilots Association selection committee: “The award to the Granby/Grand County Airport was given in recognition of the extraordinary efforts by an airport user group along with strong support from Grand County officials that resulted in the revitalization and conversion of this airport into one of the most outstanding facilities serving Colorado mountain recreational areas. Following the loss of commuter air service in 1979, the airport suffered a fragile existence with a future that seemed so hopeless that it was threatened with closure. In 1989, the airport took on new life thanks to the formation of the Grand County Aviation Association which, in 1992, morphed into the Friends of the Granby Airport (FGA). Later, the formation of EAA Chapter 1267, located on the airport, helped to secure the airport’s future. The FGA and local pilots undertook an aggressive effort to gain community and governmental support for improvements in the airport. This effort resulted in a change from an airport that had only two based aircraft into one that now has 28 aircraft housed in modern, metal hangars. Also, a current $6.2 million dollar airport reconstruction project is near completion. Continuance and success of the facility is an outstanding example of community recognition of its value to the local economy and how efforts by airport user groups, community and local government, working together, helped save and improve the airport.”

The 2008 state-wide airport economic impact study commissioned by the Colorado Division of Aeronautics, shows that the annual positive economic impact of the Granby/Grand County Airport upon the economy of eastern Grand County is $5,489,200 per year.

“The funding for the $6.2 million dollar rehabilitation of the Granby airport was 95-percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, with 2.5 percent coming from the Colorado Aviation Trust Fund and 2.5-percent from Grand County,” said Bill Hamilton, who serves as a regional representative for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and is the current president of the Friends of the Granby Airport.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Craig Sparks, the manager of the Denver Airports District Office, and to Travis Vallin, the director of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics, for the funding their agencies provided and for their supervision of the Granby Airport Improvement Project. If all goes well, the Granby Airport is slated to reopen on Nov. 25, 2009. But pilots should check with the FAA for official notification.”

Thanks to the FAA’s General Aviation Airport Entitlement Program, the airport is also eligible for an annual grant from the FAA of $150,000. The cost of relocating the road that ormerly looped around the west-end of the runway is fully reimbursable to the county from the FAA.

“These prudent investments by the Grand County Board of Commissioners, the FAA and the Colorado Aeronautical Board have resulted in a virtually new airport at little or no cost to local taxpayers. I know the 11,118 Colorado members of AOPA join the Colorado Pilots Association in saluting the Granby Airport and all those who have now made it one of the best general aviation airports in the Rocky Mountain West,” Hamilton said.