Reno-Stead Airport invests in new GA building

Reno-Stead Airport (RTS) in northern Nevada, recently broke ground on a $6 million, 12,000-square-foot replacement for its former general aviation building. The new facility is slated for completion by the end of the year.

“Economic development is our buzzword,” said Tom Hall, president of the Reno-Stead Airport Association. “But we needed to replace the old manager’s office, and there was no emergency operations center on the field. So [construction of the new GA facility] really was driven by safety, and then as it’s grown it’s been economic development to the benefit of our tenants and the community.”

The investment also comes at a time when the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority has been encouraging general aviation aircraft operators to make use of the Reno-Stead Airport, though both local airports welcome GA traffic.

“In recent years, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority has made efforts to relocate as much general aviation traffic as it can to Reno-Stead Airport,” said Stacy Howard, NBAA’s Western regional representative. “Part of the reason general aviation tenants were unwilling to relocate to that airport was because of the lack of facilities and space there. If Reno-Tahoe hopes to encourage general aviation to operate out of Reno-Stead, it needs to make these kinds of improvements.”

Reno-Stead Airport’s role as a reliever airport was another impetus for the face lift, given that it previously had a double-wide trailer for a pilots’ lounge and former Stead Air Force Base buildings for office space.

“It’s a great reliever airport, and there’s a lot of industry around the airport, so [the new GA terminal] was something that was needed,” said Bob Meurer, president of the Reno-Tahoe Aviation Association.

The upgrade’s timing also overlaps with pending state legislation that would provide tax-abatement incentives for general aviation; SB 385 would reduce the taxes of a variety of aviation companies by limiting the partial personal tax abatement to 50% of the full tax, according to the Nevada Business Aviation Association (NVBAA), which is pushing state lawmakers to approve it. The bill was introduced on March 18 and approved in early April by the Nevada Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development.

NVBAA said in an April 25 statement that it is conducting a financial impact study with the aim of countering lost tax revenue projections by the Nevada Department of Taxation.

The two-story building, being built by Q&D Construction of Reno and paid for by Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority bond funds, will include a pilots’ lounge with restrooms, meeting space, offices for the airport manager and his staff, an emergency operations center, and, potentially, a restaurant.

Construction won’t impact air traffic, as it’s all taking place landside, and temporary facilities will be available until the new building is complete, airport officials note.

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  1. says

    In 2007, I was pleased to find that RTC had extended bus service to Stead Airport, so for $4 you could get to downtown Reno. It’s time to upgrade the management building, at this base where Dad had his USAF survival training in 1953, and I had private pilot training in 2004 and 2007. I had the (dubious honor?) task of taking aerial photos of the Runway 14/32 construction for manager Skip Polak in January/February 2004. Of course, as a new student, the “rarely used” crosswind runway 14/32 would have been useful that winter… but so was the crosswind training that I received as a result.
    Thanks from “that badger-haired guy”!

  2. says

    Reno Aviation Museum

    Reno and the State of Nevada have a rich military and civilian aviation and aircraft history. Its military history has involved virtually every branch — the Army Air Force, Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Air National Guard, and their respective Reserve components.

    Nearby, there is the Navy Top Gun Fighter School in Fallon, Area 51 unofficially located around Las Vegas and other places of historic significance. Nevada civilian aviation history typically brings to mind the National Championship Air Races. Regionally, historic aviation and aircraft have been prominent in transportation, surveying, fire-fighting, forestry and agricultural service, law enforcement, national defense and rescue. Research and development in aerospace and aviation technology are also ongoing with various local area companies, whether as private manufacturing concerns or as government contractors. Finally, there are many local aviation enthusiasts who design, build or restore aircraft or related components, or champion aviation in their own way.

    Reno and Nevada have deservedly gained a reputation as a gathering place for pilots and aircraft activities. Many military veterans and airline retirees settle in Reno just for this reason. Therefore, it is time for Nevada to develop a Museum dedicated to showcasing aviation, aircraft and the people that have made an impact here.

    The Reno Aviation Museum would provide such a venue for both local patrons and visitors from outside the area.

    The Reno Aviation Museum has several key objectives:
    • Preservation — protect artifacts as found
    • Restoration — return artifacts to original form
    • Replication — reproduce artifacts
    • Archiving — store and make available historic media
    • Education — archive, develop and teach about regional aviation history and aviation related science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

    The positive benefits from the socio-economic impact from such a museum can be substantial. The bar can be raised with respect to regional tourism, culture, skilled labor, education and our economy. There is enough of a void, with respect to the area’s rich aviation history and culture, that the lack of a museum is glaring.

    To properly/sustain the collection of an aviation museum, approximately 50,000 square of hanger space and 10 acres of land will be needed. Based on discussions with other museum executives, $ 1 to 2 million will be needed to cover annual operating costs, staffing, permits, insurance and other expenses.

    Raising $ 7 million will be the goal, which realistically will take several years. The initial step will be to acquire sufficient start-up funding and facilities where it will interact with the public, raise awareness, further financial support and inspire the need for the Reno Aviation Museum. Only with the community’s collective effort can we make the Museum a reality. We are a 501(c)(3) Nevada Non-Profit Corporation.

    Reno Aviation Museum
    5519 Alpha Avenue
    Reno, NV 89506
    Phone: 775-815-0819

  3. Thomas J. Hall says

    Actually Reno-Stead (KRTS) is only 13 miles north of the Reno Spaghetti Bowl, about the same distance from there to Mount Rose Highway. A short 15 minute drive.

    The real problem is infrastructure and facilities.The new EOC/Terminal Building will allow and encourage others to make investments at Stead to provide the facilities lacking there, such as repair shops, avionics, a restaurant, and ground transportation.

    This new building is just the first step, with others surely to follow.

    There really has not been any large investment in Stead since the Air Force pulled out in 1965.

    It is about time to move forward and utilize our resources and grow our economy.

  4. says

    I agree with both of these comments, stating concerns about both what ‘appears’ to be a pandering of corporate aviation, and also the improper dislocation of GA from airports like KRNO. My nearest commercial airport is KPDX, and they tore down hangars and forced out nearly all GA. Now, we have FAA and Oregon lottery money going to expand Aurora (KUAO), intensifying the airport’s conflict with airport neighbors. Aurora is effectively becoming the main ‘off-site parking’ for corporate aircraft displaced from PDX. Of course, Aurora does not have a tower (yet), and does not have the Cat III ILS they have at PDX, so for many of these dislocated jets and Kingairs, their missions require short hops back-and-forth between PDX and UAO.

    Think about that: some of the most dangerous flying happens at low altitudes, when we mix high and low performance. And, noise and other impacts are maximized at these same low altitudes, even more when they happen over residential neighborhoods. Yet, both FAA and the Port of Portland (or the Authority at Reno, as it relates to the KRNO/KSTD situation) have been knowingly working to dislocate all GA from PDX to UAO … and thus create these bizarre and dangerous situations. AND … at the same time, the decline in commercial ops (at PDX and most commercial airports) has PDX traffic back to levels from years before they began dislocating GA to the so-called ‘reliever airports’.

    IMHO, this is a lousy and ineffective way to manage a national aviation system. The only thing it effectively does is it gives airport authorities reliable grant infusions for their over-development addictions, and it coddles a few airline executives with virtual monopoly use at most of the largest U.S. airports. (and, not to be cynical, but it looks like it also aids the incumbency of the very congressmen who passed the laws that guide this whole mess)

  5. drew says

    wow over $500/sq.ft you can build hospitals labs etc for that. lot of gold plate/

    bet joplin mo didnt spend that much on their new 5000 sq.ft exec terminal. govt $ must be involved.

  6. Depilot says

    GA is effectively being pushed out of airports that have commercial service, and that is just wrong. The reason that GA pilots do not want to go out to Stead-Reno has little to do with lack of services and everything to do with the fact that it is in the middle of nowhere. It is far from Reno.
    From my recollections, an at least 20-30 minute drive (assuming you have access to a car after you land) to the city of Reno.
    GA pilots currentlyhave the right to fly into Reno-Tahoe and I think it is criminal that we will soon lose that access and convenience.
    The Airport Authority is a non-trustworthy entity for precipitating this change.
    *Please note that I think Stead is a great airport, and I am happy to see them upgrading…i just hate to see it thanks to the loss of freedoms we now have at Tahoe.

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