Since 1946, Sportsman Airpark, owned and operated by the Dale family, has provided a public use General Aviation Gateway connecting our region and the nation’s air transportation system. General aviation includes flying as diverse as overnight package delivery and a weekend visit back home; as different as emergency medical evacuation and inspection trips to remote construction sites; as complementary as aerial application to keep crops healthy and airborne law enforcement to keep the peace. This facility has served as a training center for many of Newberg’s finest including Ken Austin at a young age of 17.
The latest analysis by the FAA shows that in 2012, our airport contributed $13M in direct spending activities, plus an additional $10M in associated community spending. Our airport has fielded personal and charter flights to area destinations and events such as The Allison Inn & Spa, Hazelden, fishing trips, Chehalem Glenn Golf Course, the St. Paul rodeo – even Newberg’s world-famous skate park. Other services include Vista Balloon operations, Western Helicopter maintenance operations, pilot training, hangar and plane rentals, and other aircraft services. With aviation technology advancements that are coming, our airport business can only grow. With Newberg as the Gateway to Oregon Wine Country, regional visitations by aircraft will only increase as tourism increases. Trends like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) will increase the need for pilot training services (UAV pilots have to have the same license as an aircraft pilot), and low-cost, fast, efficient turbo-prop airplanes from companies like Cessna are replacing expensive, hard-to-maintain “Lear-jets” – and turbo-props can fly in and out of airports smaller than Sportsman.
Recognizing the need to preserve at-risk airports, the FAA Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program provides funds to improve taxiways, runways, lighting, and other infrastructure. The Dale family is currently pursuing these funds and will use them to extend the runway length to more than 3,000 feet, as well as add additional taxiways, lighting – essentially extending and perfecting the airport’s features and its ability to generate revenue for our local economy, making it perfect for the growing market of the next generation of aircraft and regional travelers. The last time the runway was resurfaced was 40 years ago – would that our city streets and county roads last that long! So prospects are good that Sportsman Airpark could soon have an improved longer runway lasting well into the future.
Many of you have enjoyed the plane rentals, airplane rides, balloon rides and aircraft training at this facility, so if you are intrigued with the future of planes, drones and aviation careers, or simply want to support one of our great community assets, then stop by for a visit at Sportsman Airpark. The Dale family will be happy to give you a tour of this great facility.
For more information:
Sportsman Airpark Inc.
504 NE Airpark Way.
P.O. Box 248
Newberg, OR 97132