Airport’s Hangar One Grand Opening This Saturday
The Leadville/Lake County Airport will hold a Grand Opening for Hangar One, this Saturday, Jan. 17, starting at 2 p.m. The afternoon celebration will include food, music and tours of the facilities.
The new hangar is heated and is 11,000 sq. ft. It was designed to accommodate larger aircraft and to encourage new business at the airport. It will accommodate planes carrying up to 9 passengers, depending on its size & weight, and a wing span of approx. 63 ft. and should accommodate light planes such as the Cessna Citation Sovereign.
There’s little doubt that North America’s Highest Airport has become a shining example of how grant, and tax-funded government projects, can not only drive economic development in a rural community, but that the facility’s expansion can (and has) created revenue streams.
In a mere three years, the airport’s upgrades and expansion make it seem as though someone were leaning full force forward on the throttle. A new office, upgraded rental car presence from Hertz, upgraded fuel station, extra storage facility for airport and emergency equipment, and now the Hangar One completion, have this county-owned and maintained regional airport taking a “Top Gun” place.
But the truth is that the success is more likely attributed to good old-fashioned common sense, along with a solid vision, good plan, and consist hard work that has seen the airport’s success stay the course. From the airport’s advisory board, to the Lake County Public Works department meeting construction goals, to steady commitment from the Lake County Board of Commissioners, all the way on up to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Leadville Airport is a good example of genuine collaboration with real results.
So what are the benefits to all the airport expansion? Whether its fees associated with using the facility for high altitude training, fuel sales, or parking and storage charges with the completion of Hangar One, the Leadville Airport’s budget continues to tally the revenue.
So if you love airplanes and airports, or if you haven’t been up to the Leadville/Lake County Airport in a while, this is a great time to check out all of the upgrades and meet the staff. So join the party, which will also include a visit from Representative Millie Hamner and some special aviation guests.
Meet The Staff at the Leadville/Lake County Airport
Ladies and Gentleman, this is your pilot speaking. Please take a moment to get to know the staff at the Leadville/Lake County Airport!
Levi Brown has been the Manager at America’s Highest Airport since August 2014. Brown originally hails from Kansas, where he got most of his training and education. Brown holds a piloting degree from Kansas State University, and has also secured his certificated member status for airport management from Metro State University in Denver. His aviation career started as a commercial pilot.
“I enjoyed it, but you never know where you’re going to be at night,” says Brown. “And the pay isn’t as good as people might imagine it would be.” From there, he went on to do some aviation teaching, as well as time as a charter pilot, flying those big, fast jets around in Kansas.
Brown had originally applied for the Airport Manager position back in 2012. “I didn’t get it, so I went back to school and got my degree in aviation management,” explains Brown.
He also adds marketing to his list of credentials, which should come in handy as operations expand and the Leadville Airport grows its list of services offered at the facility.
Zach Dawson is no stranger to Leadville, but is excited to be working up at the airport as the new Operations Technician since late last summer. Dawson was born in Colorado, but spent most of his youth in the farming and ranching fields of Montana.
He eventually came back to Colorado, graduating from high school in Boulder, after which he headed up to the mountains to pursue his love of skiing. After years of tallying as many ski days as possible in a season, a skiing accident slowed down his outdoors adventure, and Dawson set his sights on aviation, securing his helicopter license in the Pacific Northwest.
“I decided I like the sun and headed back to Colorado,” says Dawson, referring to the rainy reputation of the Pacific Northwest. Like Brown, Dawson had applied for positions at the airport before and was called back this July to re-interview for the position of Airport Operations Technician. Dawson has also completed Colorado Mountain College’s Fire Academy class, taught by Captain Simon of the Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue.
Dawson is an outdoor-lover and while he still likes to ski, he now looks at the “quality, not quantity” of his days on the slopes.
Fall Colors over Twin Lakes from Leadville Airport