How fracking helps General Aviation

Airportpros just published an article describing boom times at airports near shale oil fields such as the Bakken play in North Dakota.  From the article:

“Today as rig workers, roughnecks and roustabouts flock to North Dakota to work on its nearly 200 drilling rigs, the explosion of activity has tapped more than the oil fields themselves. And, as communities in the heart of the oil patch find themselves in a frenzy to match infrastructure to the demands of a burgeoning population, the region’s airports struggle with the same…..Business is also booming at Sloulin Field International Airport, where in September the Williston-based airport saw a 247 percent jump in enplanements over September 2012; traffic this airport, located in the epicenter of the oil boom, was never meant to see, emphasizes Airport Manager Steven Kjergaard. “Our terminal was built to handle approximately 8,000 people a year,” he stresses, “and we’re doing that in a month!””

Most rural General Aviation airports can only dream of such activity, yet there still remain restrictions on exploration in many states.  Most notable is in western New York, where just across the state line in Pennsylvania business is brisk as a result of the Marcellus play.  Fracking is still not allowed in New York.  Perhaps it is time for the managers and commissioners of G.A. airports struggling to survive to pay more attention to what is happening in parts of the country where fewer regulations are bringing prosperity and lower energy costs to all.


  1. says

    Hi Kent; Nice write-up! Just more “PROOF” that when GA is promoted for its UTILITY value, BUSIN$$, as Aleks states (2nd paragraph) – a “win-win” re$ult$!
    This is the “oil” (pun intended) that GA needs!

  2. Steve Berg says

    Using modern techniques such as fracking allow us to use our own, locally available, oil and keeps the price of all down line products less expensive, including JP and 100LL. I often say the anytime government gets involved, the price goes up. Good bless the people that man the rigs and support the energy businesses an home in the USA

  3. Kent Misegades says

    I would suggest that more crimes are committed by the unemployed in areas where they could be working if our government got out of the way. In PA fields, if people can pass a drug test and show up on time, they are paid $20 an hour to hold a road sign. This restores their dignity, allows them to provide for their families, and gets them off the taxpayer dole for good.

  4. says

    Kent –

    My mom’s side of the family hails from Rhame – in the southwest corner of the state. While flying up at the University of North Dakota, I’d occasionally take an airplane down to Bowman Field, and often did flights with students throughout the state. Back in 2000, if you were out west, you often felt like you were the only airplane out there. At night, you sometimes were.

    Now my friends are returning back to take corporate flight jobs out of Bismarck – fueled by the oil boom. Another classmate, and now a professor at UND, started a successful medical flight company, Valley Med Flight, operating Pilatus PC-12s throughout the state. The local FBOs have been busy pumping fuel, the ramps are full, and their charter schedules are booked.

    While the expansion has had it’s downsides – in crime, traffic and cost of living, it’s benefits have been extensive. And the benefits aren’t limited to the Bakken; they reach to Grand Forks on the eastern side of the state, and throughout the region.

    Fracking may have it’s downsides; but the benefits are real, tangible and shouldn’t be ignored.

    Thanks for the article!


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