As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reach across the world, it is important to remember that Heber Valley Airport remains open and operational, and will continue to support the community during the crisis.
Like all airports in the nation, the Heber Valley Airport is an essential service provider. Every day of the year, our region relies on the airport to connect us to the rest of the country, whether through business travel, emergency service support, or helping us visit our friends and families. While the airport is seeing a drop in nonessential traffic, it remains active in supporting health and safety efforts throughout the valley.
During a public health emergency like the COVID-19 outbreak, the airport’s essential operations are more visible—and more important—than ever. For example, Heber Valley Airport provides the region access to emergency flight services like Life Flight and AirMed. Life Flight is a nonprofit organization that performs nearly 400 medical flight operations a year in Heber, almost half of which are to deliver life-saving organs to patients. Life Flight has several helicopters, 2 jets and 2 King Airs that all use Heber Valley Airport for ongoing training, refueling aircraft and for delivery of patients, medical supplies, and organs. AirMed is a similar air ambulance service that operates in the region using helicopters and planes as well. Our most vulnerable patients are able to get the help they need by flying out of the Heber Valley Airport.
The airport also supports critical missions such as fire-fighting efforts, law enforcement activities, the Utah Division of Wildlife Services, and search and rescue operations. Heber Valley Airport often becomes a fire-fighting base to help battle wildfires—the Dollar Ridge Fire and the Strawberry Reservoir Fire are only two recent examples. The Wasatch Back Search and Rescue team utilizes a Heber-based helicopter and airplane on its more urgent calls. A lost child, impending storms, or dropping temperatures are very time-sensitive situations, and the use of local aircraft is critical. With a plane, the team can cover an area in one hour that would otherwise take days for volunteers to search on snowmobiles or horses. The State of Utah has a single helicopter that the Wasatch Back Search and Rescue team can use, but it is based far away and is often unavailable. The aircraft at Heber Valley Airport have been used to save dozens of lives.
Even the airport property itself is vital during a large-scale emergency. The airport has facilities that can be used by the City and public health officials for hospital overflow or staging supplies. Its location near the highway enables the rapid transfer of goods and personnel throughout the region. The airport stands ready to provide resources and support whenever they are needed.
Heber Valley Airport’s top priority is the health and safety of its employees, customers, and community. It has served the Heber Valley since 1947 and will continue to do so for years to come.