The Heber Valley Flightpath team has completed its assessment of the Heber Valley Airport’s (HCR) socioeconomic impact and the inventory of the airport, and has now published Chapter 4 of the draft Airport Master Plan update: the Forecast. This data-driven Forecast uses current and historical data to establish demand for air traffic at HCR over the next two decades, and what that mix of traffic will look like.

The Forecast utilizes FAA master record data, Utah Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics, records from the airport’s fixed base operator, FAA filed flight plans, and photo evidence to establish its traffic counts. This data is used to develop presumptive air traffic levels for the airport in future years. The methodology for collecting the airport data and determining future demand have been submitted in draft form for an initial review by the Denver Airports District Office.

The data show that the Heber Valley has grown steadily in the number of aircraft operations at HCR. While currently designated an ARC B-II airport (see Chapter 3 for more details), in 2019 the Heber Valley Airport experienced a total of 972 operations from aircraft in Category C or higher. These numbers far surpass the threshold of 500 annual operations for C aircraft and place the Heber Valley Airport in the ARC C-II category. Exceeding the 500 operation level means the airport does not meet minimum safety standards for the ARC classification of traffic it is receiving or is forecasted to receive.

The Forecast also identifies the most demanding aircraft within the C-II ARC that routinely uses HCR. In 2020, the Bombardier Challenger 300/350 performed at least 530 operations. This airplane is being considered as the critical aircraft for Heber Valley Airport. The critical aircraft sets dimensional requirements on an airport, such as the separation distance between taxiways and runways, and the size of certain areas protecting the safety of aircraft operations and passengers.

Upon FAA approval of the forecast, the Airport Sponsor will decide what steps HCR will take to meet minimum safety area requirements and fulfill FAA Grant Assurances. While many of the safety standards are prescribed by FAA design standards, the Sponsor has a lot of latitude in determining how the Airport Layout Plan will look, including hangar development, fueling facility locations, ramp space, taxiing configurations, etc. The Flightpath team will first utilize the approved Forecast to determine the facility requirements needed to accommodate the C-II design standards, and then will use those requirements—and community input—to develop alternative designs for the airport over the next twenty years. These designs will allow the community to see several potential futures for the Heber Valley Airport and establish the plan that best fits the region’s priorities.To read the entirety of the Draft Forecast, or any other previously published chapter, please visit our website.