(Editor’s note: This is a follow-up column by resident John Brent, who several weeks ago advocated that a regional airport be placed in Pahrump instead of a general aviation facility.)
I can appreciate the passionate concerns expressed by some readers regarding air and noise pollution of an airport. I share those same concerns, and find the existing Pahrump plans for a ‘general aviation airport’ as unsuitable and unacceptable. My proposal corrects the serious location and operational shortcomings of those plans!
A regional airport is the way to go! The improvements and benefits are substantial!
The new airport location, I am suggesting, provides a viable solution for Pahrump.
It is also very obvious that some readers have no idea where Tecopa road is located!
Therefore, the following distances will give you an accurate point of reference.
Starting from Highway 160 and Homestead Road, going south to the Manse road exit, is exactly 5-miles. If you drive another 8-1/2 miles you will reach Tecopa Road, which runs in a westerly direction. The suggested location for the Pahrump regional airport would be an additional 2-1/2-miles south of Tecopa Road and 2-1/2 miles west of Highway 160.
Tecopa Road, after an expansion, could become a feeder line to the airport. The airport runway would be aligned with the prevailing wind, which tends to come from the south.
It is advantageous for fixed wing aircraft to perform takeoffs and landings into the wind; to reduce takeoff roll and reduce the ground speed needed to attain flying speed.
Higher altitude airports require longer runways due to decreased density of air, which reduces lift and engine power, requiring higher takeoff and landing speed. The aircraft require a longer runway in hotter conditions, too.
A runway of at least 6,000 feet in length is usually adequate for aircraft that weigh below approximately 200,000 pounds, however, we would need some more distance to compensate for our higher altitude and hotter climate.
I believe the proposed airport location would be well suited to meet all necessary needs. It has plenty of area for buildings, installations and equipment to ensure well-organized arrivals, departures and the efficient surface movement of aircraft.
The one subject that still needs to be mentioned is the not so inconceivable possibility of a major earthquake. With our undesirable earthquake risk factor, our 160 lifeline going over mountainous terrain is very vulnerable to serious displacement that could make a prolonged cut-off period a real possibility.
In case an emergency airlift of vital supplies were to be needed, adequate facilities would be required to accommodate the aircraft. That fact alone makes a fully capable and functional regional airport a real and practical necessity!