County to submit plans for Beatty, Tonopah and Gabbs airports to FAA

Nye County will submit an Airport Capital Improvement Plan (ACIP) and support information to the Federal Aviation Authority for the Beatty, Gabbs, and Tonopah airports.

The Airports Capital Improvement Plan is the FAA’s primary planning tool for identifying and prioritizing critical airport development and associated capital needs for the National Airspace System. It also serves as the basis for the distribution of grant funds under the Airport Improvement Program, according to the FAA website.

Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman, whose district includes the three airports, said the FAA requires regular maintenance and upgrades to all airports.

“All airports are part of an emergency system throughout the country for all air traffic, the maintenance and upgrades (that) are necessary for safe use and required by the FAA,” Wichman said.

County staff met with the FAA on Nov. 30 in Carson City, where they reviewed the proposed capital improvement plan from 2018 through 2022 for the three airports.

Following these discussions, county officials prepared the plan data sheets and submitted them to Nye County commissioners. The submission of the data sheets are required for the FAA to perform its long-term budgetary planning, but doesn’t commit the county to any financial obligations.

Under the plan for the Beatty Airport, officials plan to spend $103,125 out of the county’s budget and $1.6 million out of federal funding over five years. The money would pay for an automatic gate, rehabilitation of a runway, installation of the Automated Weather Observation System, an environmental assessment to install a 12,000-gallon fuel tank, and update of the Airport Layout Plan drawing set.

Thanks to the 2017 grant, officials also plan to construct a taxiway turnaround at the airport.

The constructon costs for the Beatty Airport taxiway turnaround are estimated at $435,515, according to the documents,

“Construction of the taxiway turnaround will enhance safety by providing a safe location for aircraft to perform run-up operations before taking off on runway 34. It will also allow aircraft landing on runway 16 a safe location to exit the runway at the runway 34 threshold and turn around before taxiing up the runway to access the tie-down apron,” officials said in the documents.

Design of the project was performed between October and December 2016 and construction will occur during the summer of 2017, according to the documents.

By comparison, officials plan to spend $410,000 on the Gabbs Airport from 2018 through 2022. Nye County will spend $25,625 out of the amount, while $384,375 will come from the federal funds.

Officials plan to rehabilitate unpaved runways and update the airport layout plan drawing set, according to the plan.

The most expensive project, the Tonopah Airport, would require $7 million, with $6.6 million in federal funds and $442,500 in Nye County funds, the documents said.

The money will cover rehabilitation of several taxiways, rehabilitation of a tie-down apron and asphalt concrete, ALP update and exhibit property map update.

Wichman said she hasn’t looked into economic benefits of the airports to the county, but added that those benefits could be “measured.”

“You would have to measure the economic impact of the U.S. Postal Service on Nye as they use the airstrips daily, or UPS’ usage, but more importantly, the only way we have to transport patients for emergency medical need currently is to use the airstrips,” she said.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at On Twitter: @dariasokolova77