Frequently Asked Questions

The Flightpath project team continually answers questions from the community and posts them here. Check back often for new questions and answers.

Geographic

Why do we need to be concerned about what other airports are doing in the surrounding area?

FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-6B, Change 2, Airport Master Plans, requires that the airport service area and the presence and role of airports that might compete with the study airport be described (Section 604. b., page 30). This question is answered in part in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background (Section 2.1 Area and Airport Overview, Area Airports, page 5).

I heard that the airport is only used by people who live in Park City. What value does the airport provide the Heber community?
The Heber Valley Airport serves many vital needs of the Heber community, including

  • Emergency medical flights
  • Aerial firefighting flights
  • Law enforcement flights
  • Flight training
  • Time-sensitive cargo services
  • Business travel
  • Personal travel
  • Agricultural functions
  • Livable wage aeronautical jobs
  • Public events and museums

Understanding the scope of services available at Heber Valley Airport helps to explain its critical role in travel, transportation, and infrastructure. The Heber Valley Airport also offers facilities for pilots, refueling and refreshing. Other services include offering conference rooms, flight crew quarters, and aircraft mechanical services.

In terms of aircraft and hangar owners, the demographics are as follows:

  • 45% – Park City Area
  • 45% – Heber Valley
  • 8% – Other Utah residence
  • 2% – Other places outside Utah
Is there any way to keep HCR small without shutting it down?
This question is answered on the Flightpath project website here. Please refer to the two questions below. Additionally, the blog post dated April 1, 2020 on the Flightpath project website here explains that HCR must be made available to the public without unjust discrimination because it is a condition of FAA Grant Assurance 22.a.
What can we do to move the airport? What would it take?

These questions will be answered as part of the Development Alternatives chapter.

How will the airport affect the surrounding cities?
These questions will be answered as part of the Development Alternatives chapter.
Is the proximity of schools to the flight path of jet traffic being considered in the Master Plan?
This question will be answered as part of the Compliance (Land Use) chapter.
Is the Transfer Station location in the RPZ being considered in the Master Plan?
This question will be answered as part of the Compliance (Land Use) chapter.
If my house needs to move, will I get compensation?
This question will be answered as part of the Development Alternatives chapter.
What does expansion mean in terms of this project? Does it mean increasing traffic? Acquiring more land?

This question will be answered as part of the Forecast, Facility Requirements, and Development Alternatives chapters.

Safety and Environmental

How safe is the airport? Have there been many accidents?

This question is answered in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background (Section 2.3 Aircraft Accidents, page 11).

What safety considerations will be made for surrounding area?

This question will be answered as part of the Facility Requirements, Development Alternatives, and Compliance (Land Use) chapters.

What kind of noise considerations will be made?
This question will be answered as part of the Environmental Overview chapter.
Will the louder traffic increase after the Master Plan is complete?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
What is the environmental impact of increased air traffic?
This question will be answered in part as part of the Environmental Overview chapter.
Can we instate a noise curfew or other limits?
Airport noise and access restrictions under the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA).  Airport sponsors may implement a noise and access control restriction only after completing a rigorous and expensive procedure prescribed by the FAA under Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 161, and only if the FAA approves of the restriction.  To date, the FAA has not permitted any airport sponsor to impose a noise restriction, such as a mandatory curfew, through this process. (Source:  https://www.aviationpros.com/airports/article/21126774/30-years-after-anca-can-airports-live-with-new-communityimposed-noise-restrictions.)
How much fuel is burned from large craft?
Both the amount of fuel and the rate at which fuel is burned vary from aircraft to aircraft. This chart is a comprehensive look at the different burn rates of different general aviation aircraft. https://www.sherpareport.com/aircraft/fuel-burn-private-aircraft.html
If larger planes use the airfield for emergency situations at the same time as smaller craft, who dictates the air traffic considering the difference in approach speeds?
Heber Valley Airport, like all airports, has a specific flight pattern that aircraft use. Although there is no air traffic control tower, every pilot in range uses a common radio frequency to communicate and will determine each other’s position for landing sequences. Generally, the plane closest to the landing position will land first, regardless of size. In the case of an emergency, pilots will usually adjust in order to allow the emergency services to get where they need to go.  If the emergency is in a specific location, like the recent Midway Fire, the airspace around the emergency will be closed to all aircraft not assigned to the emergency.

Operations 

Is commercial service coming to the airport?
This question has been answered in the Flightpath blog post here.
If the City makes design criteria improvements at the airport, what prevents even larger aircraft, like passenger jets (commercial air service) from using the airport?
The City does not have, and is not required to seek, a permit to operate a commercial airport. No one is even contemplating creating a commercial airport. Without such a permit, regular commercial airline service cannot be introduced at the airport. In addition, there are terrain and other issues that would make it very difficult for the City to make the improvements that would be required to accommodate airlines. To be clear, the FAA cannot, and an airline cannot, force the City to accept airline service. More detail can be found in the Flightpath blog post here.
Can the City limit the number and type of aircraft using Heber Valley Airport?
No. Any aircraft that can safely use the airport must be allowed to operate. Federal law prohibits the City from imposing limits beyond safety limits that are dictated by the FAA. In the same way the City cannot restrict the general public from driving on public roads, the City cannot restrict the number or type of aircraft using the airport. This question is answered in more detail here.
Can we prevent larger planes from utilizing the Heber Valley Airport?
No. Every airport is designed for maximum size and speed of aircraft. If an aircraft can safely use the airport, federal law prohibits the City from preventing that aircraft from using the airport. If an aircraft is too large to safely operate, that is the FAA’s and the pilot’s responsibility, not the City’s obligation, to know that it would be unsafe to operate at the airport. Of course, if a large aircraft were to land anyway, and were to damage our facility because of weight or speed, the owners of that aircraft would be held responsible. One of the reasons that the FAA has asked the City to undertake the Master Plan is that the FAA data shows that somewhat larger aircraft would use this airport if it were safe to do so. The Master Plan process is designed to help the City make a decision about whether to update the safety standards for those larger planes. This question is answered in more detail here.
Can we just close the Heber Valley Airport?
No. Because Heber City has accepted federal grants, Heber City is obligated to maintain the airport in a safe condition in perpetuity. Of course, even if the City could close the airport, it would mean loss of numerous livable wage jobs and prevent critical access for our region’s emergency services.
Are you putting in a control tower?
This question has been answered in the Flightpath blog post here.
Who sets regulations for the size, speed, and noise of air traffic operations in and out of HCR?
This question is answered in Chapter 1. Airports and Master Plans Introduction (Section 1.2 The Federal Aviation Administration, page 2, and Section 1.11 FAA Codes, Categories, and Groups, page 10).
What do B-II and C-II mean? What is HCR rated as now?
This question is answered in part in Chapter 1. Airports and Master Plans Introduction (Section 1.11 FAA Codes, Categories, and Groups, page 10) and will be answered in more detail in Chapter 3. Airside and Landside Inventory.
Are private jets considered commercial?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
How common are NetJets at the Heber Airport?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
Cargo aircraft: what does that look like at HCR? Will it benefit the community more than trucking?
This question will be answered in part as part of the Forecast chapter.
What does expansion mean in terms of this project? Does it mean increasing traffic? Acquiring more land?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast, Facility Requirements, and Development Alternatives chapters.
Is the data for operations made available?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
What are the current dimensions of HCR’s runway?
This question will be answered as part of the Inventory chapter.
Are aircraft at or above C-II landing at HCR currently?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
Which classification of aircraft is the loudest?
This question will be answered in part as part of the Environmental Overview chapter.

Project Planning and Timeline

What is an Airport Master Plan and why do we need one?
Heber Valley Airport’s master plan is designed to be a transparent and thoughtful effort to engage all stakeholders in planning for the future of the airport. This means looking at whether any changes are needed to update the existing airport’s security, safety, and efficiency. It is not a mandate to grow the airport; rather, it provides the City with accurate and current data that will help the community make informed decisions about the future of this airport. Once the data is collected, the City can then make decisions on whether it needs to modernize the airport or if there are safety concerns that should be addressed. To be clear, there is no requirement as the result of the Master Plan that the City expand the airport. According to the FAA, “Airport Master plans are prepared to support the modernization or expansion of existing airports or the creation of a new airport. The master plan is the sponsor’s (Heber City) strategy for the development of the airport.” However, “in some cases, the airport sponsor may decide that it is in the community’s best interest for the airport not to continue to grow to accommodate forecast activity.” (FAA Advisory Circular 150-5070-6B)

In the last few years, Heber City Airport has seen an increase in small business jet traffic. The runway at Heber City Airport was designed for aircraft with much slower approach speeds than the aircraft that now use our airport. Because we have more than 500 operations (takeoffs or landings) by these business jets each year, the FAA has strongly encouraged Heber City to prepare an update of the airport master plan so the City can make a well-informed decision about the future airport development of the airport in light of its existing and predicted future traffic.

Is a Master Plan required?
This question is answered in part in Chapter 1. Airports and Master Plans Introduction (Section 1.7 Airport Master Plans, page 7). See the question above for additional details.
What is the process for the Airport Master Plan update?
The Airport Master Plan update is expected to take between 18 months and 2 years to complete. There are three main phases to the plan: inventory and forecasting, developing and selecting the preferred plan, and finalizing the preferred alternative. There will be opportunities for public involvement throughout the process.
Do you have copies of other Master Plans that you could provide?
The documents are provided on the Flightpath website here.
What are Grant Assurances, and why do we have to abide by them?
When airport owners or sponsors like the City accept grant funds from the FAA, they must sign a contract that includes a list of obligations that the City must satisfy.  These obligations, called Grant Assurances, require that the City maintain and operate their airport safely and efficiently and in accordance with specified conditions. These Grant Assurances cover a range of safety, operations, and financial matters that are designed to make sure that the airport is operated in a manner consistent with federal policies and regulations.
When is the final decision going to be made?
Details about the schedule can be found in the project timeline posted on the Flightpath website here. A specific date has not been set.
How do we find out who is on the committees (CAC and TAC)?
Details about the committees can be found on the Flightpath website here.
How were the committees selected?
This question is answered on the Flightpath website here.
When is the next public meeting? Will we be notified? How?

This question is answered in part by the project timeline posted on the Flightpath website here. In addition to posting upcoming public meetings on the Flightpath event calendar, the team will also share the announcement via blog post and alert, social media, and local advertising options such as the Wasatch Wave.

Will the Master Plan facilitate growth? Is expansion part of the plan?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast, Facility Requirements, and Development Alternatives chapters.
Does the Airport Master Plan look at future business development?
This question will be answered as part of the Facilities Implementation and Financial Feasibility chapter.
What comes after the Master Plan?
This question will be answered as part of the Facilities Implementation and Financial Feasibility chapter.
What are the issues with the current airport?
This question will be answered as part of the Facility Requirements chapter.
Who is currently using the airport?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
What does the forecast process look like?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
Can the numbers be manipulated to show growth that might not take place? Could that manipulation facilitate more traffic from larger craft that would not otherwise be able to land at HCR?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
How much can the forecast change?
This question will be answered as part of the Forecast chapter.
If “larger jets” are already coming in, where does the expansion to accommodate them end?
This question will be answered as part of the Facility Requirements and Development Alternatives chapters.
Is one of the alternatives to “just say no” to expansion after the study is complete?
This question will be answered as part of the Development Alternatives chapter.
If the airport goes to a C-II, at what point does the airport shut down and the runway is torn up?
This question will be answered as part of the Facilities Implementation and Financial Feasibility chapter.
Who is on the project team? What are their roles
Details about the project team can be found on the Flightpath website here.
Will evaluating minimums be part of the Airport Master Plan update?
As part of the Master Plan, potential impacts of the proposed development alternatives on the airport’s instrument approaches will be evaluated as required by the approved Scope of Work, but the visibility minimums themselves will not be evaluated as part of the Master Plan.  
I want to be involved. How can I provide feedback on the plan? How can I participate?
Heber City and the Heber Valley Airport are actively seeking community input during the master plan upgrade process. Please leave a comment here or plan to attend one of our public meetings.

Civic

A lot of the aviation demand is outside the sponsor. Should we consider input from more than Heber City?
FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-6B, Change 2, Airport Master Plans, requires that planners focus on those socioeconomic factors that affect the community’s need for air transportation (Section 606. b., page 32). This question is answered in part in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background (Section 2.6 Socioeconomic and Demographic Review, page 18).
Is HCR catering to outside traffic over local users?
This question is answered in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background (Section 2.6 Socioeconomic and Demographic Review, page 18). This question is also addressed in the Operations section above. Additionally, the blog post dated April 1, 2020, on the Flightpath project website here explains that HCR must be made available to the public without unjust discrimination because it is a condition of FAA Grant Assurance 22.a.
Is the City going to lobby UDOT to move 189?
This question has been answered in the blog post dated February 29, 2020 on the Flightpath project website here.
Does anyone else contribute to operating the airport?
This question is answered on the Funding Display Board presented during Public Meeting 1 and posted on the Flightpath project website here. The FAA and Utah Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics contribute to improvement projects at the airport. Additionally, Heber City’s contributions for improvement projects and operating expenses are entirely funded by airport revenue derived from landing fees, leases, and fuel charges. This question will be answered in more detail as part of the facilities implementation and financial feasibility chapter.
Does HCR or the FAA get the final say on if the airfield needs to be expanded?
This question is answered in part in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background (Section 2.1 Area and Airport Overview, Governance, page 5). Because the airport is owned and governed by Heber City, the Heber City Council has the final say on whether or not to acquire real property in order to expand the airfield.  The FAA may require the City to complete certain safety-related modifications to the airfield within its existing boundaries.  The City’s determinations may also affect the level of federal funding available through the Airport Improvement Program to comply with the City’s obligation to maintain the airport.  As previously stated in the blog post dated January 30, 2020, on the Flightpath project website found here “the Heber City Council is committed to finding an Airport Master Plan solution that best captures the will of the community while also adhering to federal safety requirements.”
When can Heber City take complete control of the airport back from the Government?
The City is obligated to maintain the airport in accordance with its federal grant assurance obligations for at least twenty (20) years from the date of its most recent grant (e.g., the grant awarded to undertake this Master Plan is from 2019). Some obligations (e.g., the requirement that all revenue generated by the airport be spent on the capital or operating costs of the airport) continue in perpetuity. Table 2.3 in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background, page 13, lists the funds that Heber City has accepted from the FAA since 1986. In very limited circumstances (e.g., the complete closure of an airport), the FAA will permit an airport sponsor to repay its federal grants to obtain a release from its grant assurance obligations.
Are we considered the “most complained about airport” and will the Master Plan address this?
In the summary of 2017, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association cited the airport as the “top complained about airport in the country” (source: https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2017/july/13/aopa-helps-battle-egregious-pricing-at-heber-city-fbo). The Master Plan will address the needs of based and transient users of the airport. The Master Plan is not the forum to address or lodge specific complaints against the airport or any of the commercial aeronautical businesses that operate at the airport.

Financial

Why do we even need an airport? Explain its value.
This question is answered in Chapter 1. Airports and Master Plans Introduction (Section 1.5 Why Are Airports So Important, page 4), and in the Flightpath PowerPoint presentation from Public Meeting 1 (slide 15) here.
How many jobs does the airport provide?
This question is answered in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background (Section 2.5 Economic Impact, page 15 – specifically, Table 2.6 on page 17).
What is the economic impact of the airport on the region—direct and indirect?
This question is answered in part in Chapter 2. Socioeconomic Overview and Background (Section 2.5 Economic Impact). Economic impacts to Heber City and the State of Utah are provided, but not economic impacts to the region. Data regarding economic impacts to the region is not available at this time.
Can we self-fund the Heber Valley Airport?
Yes, but it would be very costly to Heber City taxpayers. And, even if the City were to fund the airport, it would still be bound by the federal Grant Assurances because it has taken grant money in the past. In the future, if the City took no more federal grant money, it would have to fund maintenance and improvements necessary to satisfy its legal obligation to keep the airport operating in a safe manner.
Can other counties help pay for the Heber Valley Airport?
Today, Heber City is the official airport sponsor and is therefore responsible for all related costs. There is, however, no reason that Heber City could not entertain an agreement between either other counties to help defray costs. This decision to participate in an agreement would entail financial and legal risk. The economic benefits would have to outweigh that risk.
What kinds of strings are attached with FAA money?
What strings have already been attached? Please see the questions above regarding self-funding and grant assurances.
What is the process for the City to get reimbursed? How do they get paid from the FAA and State?
This question is answered in part in Chapter 1. Airports and Master Plans Introduction (Section 1.3 Funding Airport Projects, page 2). The logistics of Heber City’s reimbursement process is not outlined in the Master Plan report; such details would need to be provided by a Heber City representative.
Where does the FAA get the money from for their match?
This question is answered in part in Chapter 1. Airports and Master Plans Introduction (Section 1.3 Funding Airport Projects, page 2).
What does it mean if we don’t expand (re: costs)?
This question will be answered as part of the Development Alternatives and Compliance chapters.
Is the government going to pay for the cost of hangars that could be displaced?
This question will be answered as part of the Facilities Implementation and Financial Feasibility chapter.
How does the FBO fit in to the airport’s revenue?
This question will be answered as part of the Facilities Implementation and Financial Feasibility chapter.
Where does Heber get the money for their 5% match?
This question will be answered as part of the Facilities Implementation and Financial Feasibility chapter.
How much does it cost taxpayers to operate the airport?
This question will be answered as part of the Facilities Implementation and Financial Feasibility chapter.
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