Aerial view of the Reno-Stead Airport taken from an aircraft flying overhead.

Information for pilots and users of Reno-Stead Airport.

Winter 2015 Reno-Stead Airport Association Newsletter


Survey of GA Tenants Identifies Service Needs

The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority commissioned InterVISTAS, to survey the general aviation community at the two Reno airports (RNO and RTS) for various issues affecting general aviation. Their report, dated August 12, 2014, in its Executive Summary, includes the following comments:

Issues and Opportunities. The project team developed a survey that was sent by email from RTAA staff to approximately 200 GA-related tenants at both RNO and RTS. The survey instrument was pre-tested prior to sending it to potential respondents. A total of 68 surveys were completed (a 34% response rate). The survey revealed that the GA communities at RNO and RTS, and the business and recreational components of each, have distinct profiles and needs.

  • Most of those respondents {n=45, or 79%) came from individuals who identified RTS as their base location. Of the RTS respondents, 85% indicated that they flew principally for recreational rather than business reasons. RTS-based respondents reported flying on average 8.4 hours per month.
  • Of the RNO respondents, 68% indicated that they flew principally for business purposes. RNO-based respondents reported flying on average 15.3 hours per month.

Hangars. The survey of GA tenants at both airports revealed an interest in additional hangars. Of those responding who identified RTS as their base, 100% indicated an interest in additional hangars. However, when asked if they would be willing to pay more for new or improved hangars, 18 out of 33 RTS respondents (54%) said that they would not. RNO-based respondents were slightly less likely to be willing to pay more for new hangars; 10 out of 17 RNO respondents (almost 60%) said that they would not be willing to pay more.

Communications from the RTAA. The project team asked about the extent to which they believed that the RTAA communicated clearly and effectively with the GA community. Slightly less than a majority of respondents (26 out of 55, or 47%) reported that the RTAA communicated openly and effectively with the local GA community. However, 18 out of 55 (or 33 %) felt that the communication was ineffective.

Leasing Process. Respondents generally regarded the leasing process with RTAA as somewhat difficult and lengthy as opposed to being quick and easy. Of the 42 total responses, 18 (43%) regarded with process as difficult versus 12 (29 %) who found it relatively easy. More than 50% of respondents who identify themselves as recreational flyers and more than 50% of flyers based at RTS felt that the leasing process was long and difficult. Business flyers and those based at RNO were less likely to be as critical of the process.


Hangar Lease Renewals

At the November RSAA Pilof s meeting, Stacie Huggins, Airport Economic Development Manager, reported on possible hangar lease extensions.

Most questions were about how to extend hangar leases, and what contributions, investments or improvements would be required. Of most concern is the total length of time the airport hangar lease could extend. Stacie clarified that the initial term is generally granted for a 25- year to 30-year term for general aviation use. An additional ten-year extension can be obtained base on contributions to improvements to, or investments in, the hangar. For example, $1,500 was contributed by each tenant at Block N, for a ten-year extension.

A further ten-year extension is possible through the FAA guidelines, for a total not to exceed 50 years. Most extensions require a 3-month advance notice. The tenant would be required to apply for an extension to include the current age of the hangar, the age of the lease, and a list of contributions, investments or improvements that should be made.

It is best to negotiate early rather than to find yourself short. And, no one likes to be short.

Reno-Tahoe community supporting airport efforts

Reno Gazette-Journal
November 12, 2015

Reno-Tahoe International Airport has not really been an international airport since 1999.

That will change when direct flights from Reno to London and Reno to Guadalajara, Mexico start.

Airport President and CEO Marily Mora and her team deserve much praise for making it happen — and they are not the only ones.

This was a coming together of community where rivalries were set aside to focus on how to reverse years of decreasing flights, which hurt tourism, business, government and the public.

The effort got off the ground after Mora and her team put together a presentation called “The New Approach to Air Service.” They have been sharing it with anyone who will listen.

Jetblue to link Reno, New York City

Reno Gazette-Journal
Sunday Briefing
January 18, 2015

After an intro of dancers stepping to Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” JetBlue Airways and local officials recently announced daily flights linking Reno to John F. Kennedy International Airport beginning May 28, 2015.

It will be the first-ever, daily nonstop service linking Reno with the nation’s most populous region and the financial world’s epicenter via a low-cost airline that is a perennial winner in customer satisfaction surveys.

“This will be a game changer for us,” said Marily Mora, President and CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority. “This has been our No. 1 un-served market. This will be the one that really puts us over the top.”

Andy Wirth, a member of the airport authority board, said, “Reno-Tahoe International can now be a key cylinder in the economic engine of this area.”

John Checketts, JetBlue director of route planning who attended the announcement at RNO, said, “Reno has always been a market that’s intriguing to us with gaming, skiing, summer destinations. This will be a game-changer for income from New York as the population living here.”

DRI Scientist honored by national aircraft society

Reno Gazette-Journal
July 4, 2014

John Hallett, an atmospheric physicist at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, has been awarded the Losey Atmospheric Sciences Award.

He received the award in June during the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics forum in Atlanta. The AIAA is world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

An emeritus member of DRI, Hallett has done extensive research on aircraft safety and how ice-crystal formations in clouds affect aircraft.

He was honored by the AIAA for “outstanding scholarship that has led to a better understanding of the fundamental processes of cloud microphysics and for exceptional leadership as a mentor and a teacher of atmospheric physics.”

Hallett has been with DRI since 1966 after earning his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Bristol. “I’m honored to receive this award,” said Hallett, who’s most recent research has been focused on the complex inner workings of thunderstorms and their implications to changing climate scenarios. “The AIAA serves a critical role in connecting atmospheric scientists around the world.”

19-year-old pilot Matt Guthmiller sets new world record for solo flight around the world
Jennifer Jensen
July 15, 2014

EL CAJON, California – Matt Guthmiller has become the youngest person to fly solo around the world after touching down at Gillespie Field in El Cajon late on July 14, 2014.

The final leg of his flight was more than 15 hours solo across the Pacific Ocean from Kona, Hawaii to San Diego, California.

The new record-setting, 19-year-old solo pilot was all smiles as he was greeted by hugs from his mother after he taxied the plane. Exhausted and a bit overwhelmed, by the media attention, he had few words.

“I guess it’s … good to be back,” he said.

The second-year MIT student flew solo for more than 29,000 miles in a plane specially-outfitted by El Cajon’s High Performance Aircraft.

“We are extremely proud of Matt Guthmiller,” said Mike Borden, the president of High Performance Aircraft and one of the co-sponsors of Guthmiller’s flight.

“This is just one thing he’s going to do in his lifetime.”

As 10News first reported, Guthmiller left Gillespie Field on May 31 behind the controls of his 1981 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. His goal was to return to Gillespie Field before July 26 to set the record.

Guthmiller flew from El Cajon to his hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota, before seeing the world and taking lots of photos along the way.

Based on photographs on his social media pages, he made stops in the United Kingdom, Rome, Athens, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, India, the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa and then to Hawaii, where he left early July 14 morning headed back to San Diego.

His mother Shirley, who flew commercially into town from South Dakota to watch her son’s arrival, was no doubt beaming with joy.

“I am very proud of him and very happy to have him back,” she told 10News.


Rural airports share $4.3M in U.S. grants

Carson City Airport on the list to receive a $1.4 million grant

Reno Gazette-Journal
May 22, 2014
Associated Press

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has, announced a package of federal grants for 10 rural airports in Nevada totaling $4.3 million.

The biggest of the grants from the Federal Aviation Administration goes to Carson City Airport: — nearly $1.4 million to rehabilitate the runway and aircraft parking apron. Next is the Beatty Airport with $1.1 million to remove runway obstructions.

Yerington Municipal Airport was awarded $450,000, the Silver Springs Airport in Lyon County about $384,000 and the Gabbs Airport in Nye County $262,000.

Airports in Fallon, Winnemucca, Tonopah, Jackpot and Lincoln County each will receive between $100,000 and $200,000.

“A state like ours – with vast amounts of rural area – depends heavily on our rural airports as an economic driver for the region,” Reid said in a statement. “Aviation safety must always be ensured, and airport infrastructure is vital to the safe operations of any air carrier. As always, I remain committed to Nevada’s general aviation.”

I have known today a magnificent intoxication. I have learnt how it feels to be a bird. I have flown. Yes I have flown. I am still astonished at it, still deeply moved.
Le Figaro, with regards to a balloon ride, 1908


Company earns air carrier certificate

Reno Gazette Journal
December 9, 2014
Today’s Briefing

Reno Tahoe Helicopters/ HeliMinden LLC recently received its air carrier certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. This certification allows the company to offer charter services for air taxi in the United States and serve the Northern California/ Reno area, including tours to Napa, Calistoga and Sonoma.

“We are the only operators in the area to have the air carrier certification. We are proud to be able to offer our clients the expanded services of air taxi,” Claudio Bellotto, chief pilot and owner of Reno Tahoe Helicopters/HeliMinden, said in a statement.

Reno Tahoe Helicopters operates year-round offering scenic tours from South Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Minden airports. Its fleet of helicopters includes Robinson R44s that can seat up to three people plus the pilot and a Bell 206L-4 capable of accommodating larger groups of up to six passengers plus the pilot. Services include aerial filming, aerial photography, heli-weddings, scenic tours and flight training.





The Brigadier General Fred L. Michel Aviation Scholarship

The support of budding aviation enthusiasts is important to people who have themselves developed and expressed a love of aviation through participation and appreciation. One way we can support young people who share our passion for flight is through the support of scholarship opportunities.

The “Brigadier General Fred L. Michel Aviation Scholarship” was established in the Fall of 2007 by the Stead Airport Users’ Association and the Reno Air Race Foundation’s Pathways to Aviation Program, to honor Brigadier General Fred L. Michel and to assist Nevada youth in the pursuit of aviation careers.

During his 27 years of military service, Fred L. Michel was a Captain in the United States Air Force, flying the T-34 and the T-38, before moving himself and his family to Reno, where he flew the RF-101 and RF-4C in the Nevada Air National Guard until his retirement as Brigadier General. He was, as well, a retired Captain from United and Pan American Airlines, completing a career which saw him through the early, unfettered “good old days” of airline travel. His passion for aviation extended well beyond his careers in the military and the airline industry. A 38-year resident of Reno, he served 28 of those years as a Director of the Reno Air Races. Fred served as the second President of the Stead Airport Users’ Association for many years.

The Brigadier General Fred L. Michel Aviation Scholarship Committee will make annual scholarships available to deserving students. The principal purposes of the Foundation will be to support and make grants to and for youths who desire to seek careers in aviation. The purposes of the scholarships and grants include:

  1. To promote the training, equipping and vocational support of private, commercial and military pilots and flight instructors.
  2. To promote the development and encouragement on the Aeronautics and Astronautics industry in the State of Nevada including training, research, invention, development, testing, manufacturing and marketing.
  3. To establish a library for aeronautics and astronautics, including history, achievements and literature.
  4. To engage in research, consulting services and related activities that address the need of aviation, astronautics and related industries.
  5. To cooperate with State and Federal Government agencies including military, either for or on all of the above purposes, including those being conducted through or in connection with, the University of Nevada, Reno.

Scholarships to be awarded are valued at $1,000 to $1,500 per year for four years. Recipients are chosen by the Fund’s Selection Committee consisting of representatives from the education and business communities in Washoe County, Carson City and Douglas County areas. At the end of each academic year, the students must provide a satisfactory UNR transcript before receiving an award for the subsequent year.

The scholarship fund has achieved much interest from its inception. Funds will be used to assist accomplished young students, male and female, annually to fulfill their dreams of higher academic and athletic achievement with a focus on aviation.

The money to initiate the Scholarship Program was contributed by the three founding entities, together with private support from many others, combined with institutional and private contributions. A large donation was made by the family of Fred L. Michel in honor of their departed husband and father.

The Reno-Stead Airport Association (“RSAA”) would like to encourage individuals or organizations to consider donating a minimum of $1,000 for an aviation scholarship in 2015. Donations can be made in memory of a loved one, or in the name of the donating organization. RSAA will work with the Community Foundation of Western Nevada as the fund holder and administrator.

If you or your organization would like to discuss donating an aviation scholarship through the RSAA, please e-mail President Thomas J. Hall at t or Treasurer Dave Miller, at All gifts are fully tax deductible as a charitable donation.



Sierra Skyport teaches students to fly

The Record-Courier
Caryn Haller
December 24, 2014

Two months after getting his pilot’s license, Rodney Aiglstorfer opened his own flight school.

Sierra Skyport offers Cirrus-certified instruction, rentals and charters.

“We’re the only people I’m aware of in an 800-mile range that do this with Cirrus,” Aiglstorfer said. “This is not your grandfather’s airplane. It’s a luxury sports car inside. If you have any choice in the matter, this is how you want to fly.”

After selling his mobile banking software company in the Bay Area, Aiglstorfer and his wife, Emma, moved to Carson Valley. and transformed two hangars at the Minden-Tahoe Airport into Sierra Skyport.

“We have a lot of people who moved here from California and still want to be able to get back and forth,” Aiglstorfer said. “Being able to break out of your small ecosystem gives you a bigger life. The things you can experience and see, there’s nothing else like it.”

Aiglstorfer hired pilot Patrick Padilla from Bridgeport to teach the classes and give the students flight time.

“Being able to fly somewhere is indescribable. There’s no roads, you get from point to point. It’s a pretty fun way to travel.”

Five students have enrolled in Sierra Skyport since its opening in October.




Anchorage International Airport Serves as Pit Stop for Global Cargo Carriers
January/February 2015
By Ken Wysocky

As in real estate, “location, location, location” can be crucial for airports. It’s especially true for Ted Stevens Anchorage International (ANC) in Alaska. The state-owned airport has parlayed its geographic quirk into a competitive advantage. With three runways (all longer than 10,600 feet), special ramp facilities and procedures, and a little help from the federal government, ANC has molded itself into a critical refueling stop for cargo carriers flying the skies between Asia and North America.

“We are the busiest airport in the world that nothing comes from or goes to,” quips John Parrott, ANC’s manager. “We handle 500 wide-body cargo plane landings per week, mostly 747s. We’re the sixth-largest airport in the world in terms of cargo throughput and the second-largest in North America in terms of landed cargo weight.”

The bulk of ANC’s traffic is generated by pure geography. Nestled on the south-central coast of Alaska, Anchorage is roughly equidistant from Tokyo and New York City alike. That puts ANC within a 9 1/2-hour flight from 90% of the industrialized world. As such, roughly 80% of all air cargo traffic between Asia and North America passes through ANC, Parrott reports.

The basic financial calculus of air cargo also plays to ANC’s advantage. Most international cargo carriers have two choices: carry more fuel and less cargo, which increases range but reduces per flight revenue; or carry more cargo and less fuel, which reduces flying range but boosts revenue. A stop at ANC allows many carriers to have it both ways, Parrot notes.

“Fortunately for us, (carriers) can carry an extra 100,000 pounds of cargo just by making a fuel stop in Anchorage, which in many cases is only 100 miles off the direct route,” he explains. “At a conservative estimate of $1 in revenue per pound, five flights a day, six days a week and 52 weeks a year, that’s more than $150 million in added revenue.”

Parrott estimates that expenses incurred during stops amount to less than 10% of the additional revenue carriers can earn. “That’s a pretty good business model – and the reason why almost every carrier that serves trade routes between Asia and North America stops in Anchorage,” he notes.

ANC’s market is so unique, airport officials don’t consider it to be in competition with other major cargo hubs in Memphis, Chicago and Louisville. ANC actually helps facilitate their business, notes Parrott: “We enable economic activity to occur at a higher level at those origin and destination airports because of the efficiency we bring to the air cargo supply chain. Our existence makes the whole system work more efficiently.”

From Passengers to Payloads

Decades ago, ANC was much more of an international passenger airport than a cargo hub. “There was a time when our airport was known as the crossroads of the world,” Parrott recalls.

Two primary factors contributed to that. Back then, commercial airlines didn’t have the range to fly non-stop from Asia to North America. Moreover, the Soviet Union’s airspace restrictions translated into longer routes. The airspace opened up, however, after the fall of the Berlin Waif in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Aircraft flight ranges also increased, and it no longer made sense for passenger airliners to stop at ANC, Parrott explains.

“International passenger traffic disappeared almost overnight after the Berlin Wall came down,” he recalls. At its peak, the airport handled 104,000 international passengers in 1990; by 1994, that number dipped by more than half, to around 50,000 passengers. Today, passenger volume has declined to the point that ANC no longer offers year-round international passenger service, Parrott reports.

The airport’s economic salvation arrived with the emergence of Asia (especially China) as an economic powerhouse, supplying goods to North America, the world’s largest consumer market. The rise of FedEx and UPS air cargo services also strongly contributed to ANC’s resurrection, Parrott relates.

To accommodate the increase in cargo traffic, the airport added more pull-through cargo parking spots, expanded and upgraded its runways, and improved its underground refueling system. Airport tenants also built additional cargo parking spots.

ANC still handles passenger flights. Alaska’s largest business airport logged about 2.3 million enplanements in 2013 and handled more than 50,000 passenger aircraft landings. “The only reason we have even that level of passenger traffic is there’s no other way to get out of the state in a reasonable amount of time,” Parrott explains, pointing out that Alaska is larger, than California, Montana and Texas combined. “It can take anywhere from three to five days of driving to leave the state … and more than 80% of communities in Alaska aren’t accessible by road.”

“Alaskans fly eight times more than the average American,” he continues. “Even high school basketball teams fly to their games in other towns. Aviation here is sacred – it’s how we get around.”

As such, ANC maintains a traditional passenger terminal (built in phases in 2004 and 2009) with two modern concourses and about 23 gates for commercial passenger jets.

Unconventional Ops

All similarities to traditional airports end at the terminal. Unlike other cargo hubs that handle similar annual tonnage, ANC has no vast complexes of cargo
warehouses and support facilities, railroad lines or even special roads for transport trucks. It simply doesn’t need them. “By and large, most of our business is done on the ramps,” Parrott explains.

Most cargo planes spend about two hours on an ANC ramp. Some, however, pay more for what Parrott calls the “Indy 500 pit stop treatment.” In those cases, independent ground handlers (including Swissport International, Pegasus Aviation Services and FEAM Ground Services) allocate more resources to get an aircraft rolling in a little less than an hour. Just like an Indy pit crew, multiple ramp workers simultaneously perform numerous services, including refueling, lavatory cleaning, catering and general maintenance.

“We don’t provide any of those services,” Parrott clarifies. “We just own the infrastructure. A good analogy is that we own the shopping mall, but none of the shops. We just keep the lights on and make sure the sidewalks are shoveled.”

Much of the action occurs on a large cargo ramp near the center of the airport, at 11 parking spots for wide-body aircraft. The ramp’s central location makes it easy for cargo planes to clear a landing runway, taxi to the parking spots, receive service from ground handlers, and then depart.

“It takes a cargo plane as little as two minutes to get from those central parking spots to a departure runway,” Parrott specifies.

Delivery giants FedEx and UPS lease and run their own cargo facilities on the north side of the airport.

Faster Fueling

ANC pumps nearly 2 million gallons of jet fuel per day via an underground hydrant system. Fuel is stored above ground, in nine 4 million-gallon tanks, for a total storage capacity of 36 million gallons. A consortium of 19 airlines owns and operates the fueling system.

According to Parrott, the vast majority of the airport’s fuel comes from Alaska or is shipped via barges from the West Coast to Anchorage’s port facilities; about 20% is transported from Asia via tanker ships.

Unlike many airports, where trucks carry fuel to airplanes on the ramps, ANC relies on an underground pipe system. One hose runs from an in-ground connection to a “connecting truck,” and another hose connects the truck to the aircraft’s gas tank. The connecting truck then uses a pump to move the fuel from the pipeline system into the aircraft.

“This system enables much faster refueling,” Parrott relates. “A typical fuel truck can’t fill up a 747 in one trip. (Workers) have to drive a truck up, connect it, empty it, disconnect it, go back and refill it. All that time really adds up. With our system, we can pump fuel from both sides of an aircraft at the same time for maximum efficiency.”

Federal Exemption

Under most circumstances, American cargo carriers are not allowed to offload cargo onto foreign carriers’ planes for delivery to cities in the United States, The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (which also applies to aviation) prohibits foreign airlines from flying cargo from one United States city to another. The rule, also known as the Jones Act, was passed to protect American interests — both economic and those related to national security. Violations of the act are known as “cabotage.”

The law’s restrictions, however, don’t apply to ANC. In an effort to stimulate economic growth and make national cargo shipping more efficient and economical, the U.S. Department of Transportation granted the airport an exemption from the Jones Act in the late 1990s.

Parrott uses a hypothetical example of a Chinese airline and an American airline carrying goods from Asia to cities like Chicago and Atlanta to illustrate how the exemption increases efficiency: Individually, the two airlines may not service those two cities often enough to satisfy customers. But between the two, they might be able to offer comprehensive service — if they could transfer their cargo to each other’s planes at ANC.

“The piece that’s unique to Anchorage is. that an American carrier can take cargo off and put it on a foreign carrier for transport to another city,” Parrott explains. “Say an American carrier leaves Shanghai and a Chinese carrier leaves Taipei, and they both meet in Anchorage. Each can take its cargo and transfer it to the other carrier, then one maybe goes to Chicago and the other to Atlanta. Then it works in reverse, too.”

ANC’s transfer capability is so unique, some carriers question whether it is legal, Parrot reports.

Looking ahead, the airport is working with the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation to explore what kind of value-added services it could offer to attract more customers. Like most airports, ANC is an economic driver of the area’s economy; so its continued growth and viability are important.

Currently, the airport employs 380 people; and one out of every 10 jobs in Anchorage is dependent on ANC.

“We’re a significant economic engine that enables a lot of other engines to run smoothly,” Parrott says. “So we’re trying to determine who we should be talking to in order to do more business at the airport — to be more than just a technical stop for getting gas and moving cargo between aircraft. Are there industries for which we could provide storage or value-added services? That’s our next avenue to explore.”



Morgan Dale King (1920 – 2015)

Morgan Dale “Bud” King, age 94, passed away peacefully in Reno, Nevada. Born on February 4, 1920 in Dickens, Bud was the eldest of three children.

After two years at Iowa State Teachers College, Bud joined the Army Air Corps and was commissioned from flight school in August, 1942. During WWII, he flew troop supply along the South Pacific Corridor and was one of the first “yanks” to enter Tokyo with MacArthur after the bombing of Hiroshima. After the war, he was active in the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel. Following his military service, Bud joined Pan American World Airways and enjoyed a 33-year long career, retiring as a Check Captain in 1980.

He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Mary Ann King, four children, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Bud was a kind, gentle man who was a loving husband, a devoted father, and grandfather and a loyal friend. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.