Town of Mammoth issues release on Airport Layout Plan

mammothairportnight.jpgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Mammoth Lakes, CA – Representatives from the Town of Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and Mammoth Lakes Tourism recently met with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials at the FAA Offices in Brisbane, California to collectively discuss the Town’s recent submittal of its Airport Layout Plan (ALP).

The Town has reached an important milestone in the process of updating its ALP and believed that a meeting with the FAA in person would be beneficial to the overall process. The “meet and greet” was also important because there are new faces from both the FAA and Town that are now involved in the ALP update and approval process.

The Town is seeking approval from the FAA on its plan for the airport, which includes a new terminal building to replace the building in use today; a former maintenance building that was converted to a commercial aviation terminal in 2008.

“Approval of our ALP is key to the success of our airport, which is broadly seen as a cornerstone to economic development in Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra,” said Public Works and Transportation Director Ray Jarvis. “We are operating at capacity with the terminal building we have today and need to be able to address this constraint in order to be successful in the future.”

An important component of the ALP is the Aviation Forecast, which estimates future demand for commercial air service and is significant when considering the design of a new terminal building. “The FAA is very interested in our aviation forecast and sees it as a critical piece of the airport plan,” said Jarvis. “We now have five years of historical data that we can use in our forecast to help us better understand our future terminal and capacity demands.”

As a result of the meeting, the Town expects to make some adjustments to its forecast along with minor plan revisions to facilitate the process going forward. The FAA should take about a month to complete its planning level review then forward the ALP to other FAA service lines, including Flight Standards.

It is expected that the Town will have a conditionally approved ALP this summer. Both the Town and FAA agreed that the airport’s future success lives in resolving the airport’s key constraints and in measured steps. “We now have a road map that will help us advance our airport and achieve the positive results we have been looking for,” stated Public Works and Transportation Director Ray Jarvis.

For additional information regarding the Town of Mammoth Lakes Airport Layout Plan (ALP), please see the Town’s website at



45 Responses to Town of Mammoth issues release on Airport Layout Plan

  1. Russ Reese April 17, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Mind boggling! The town is proceeding ahead as though the airport is an all season, all weather destination. To be one requires a crosswind runway and an instrument approach facility. Doesn’t anyone recall that the skiing is good and people come here when the weather is horrendous?

    • That Pilot Guy April 17, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Well said Russ. As a local pilot, I believe that if at all possible, mammoth lakes should consider building a crosswind runway (a north-south runway). I have seen many charter flights diverted to the Bishop airport due to the fact that the southerly crosswind is too strong for even a mid-sized jet to land.

      • Mark April 17, 2013 at 11:11 am #

        In a good winter it’s tough to fly into mammoth and keep a schedule due to those nasty crosswinds.

        We were just talking about a North-South runway the other day. Then we considered the cost and who would pay for it and concluded it’s not happening any time soon.

        clear prop!

      • cost of doing business April 17, 2013 at 11:24 am #

        A crosswind runway is most certainly the next logical step.
        And don’t think for a secong that Mammoth can’t afford it.

    • Desert Tortoise April 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      Hmmm, LAX has no crosswind runways and it is considered an all weather airport. Same for Oceanside Airport. When you say “all weather” you tell me you do not fly. Weather minimums depend on the accuracy of the instrument approaches available and surrounding terrain/buildings. Some ILSs will let an airplane land with 1/4 mile visibility and you don’t have to wave the approach off unless you get down to 50ft agl and the runway environment is still not in sight. Approach lights are considered the “runway environment”. You can land is some crappy weather with ILS.
      Other airports like Oceanside have much higher approach mins because of surrounding terrain and the necessity to circle the airport to land. Likewise Fox Field in Lancaster has a single runway and several instrument approaches (GPS, VOR and NDB ) available for each end of the single runway, each with different approach minimums that depend on the accuracy of the radio equipment providing approach direction.
      Now if you are flying some military aircraft many airports won’t have instrument approaches compatible with your equipment and you have to treat them as VFR airports. For your purposes they are. Our helos only had TACAN and an NDB, which greatly limited our options for divert airports if the primary was below mins or you had an emergency en route in the goo. Been there done that, not much fun.

      • Ken Warner April 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

        You are much more knowledgeable about flight rules than I am so I have to yield to your arguments. I’d just like to point out a couple of things.

        LAX and Oside and San Diego are pretty much at sea level. MMH is at 7000 feet.

        The prevailng wind at LAX, Oside and San Diego is nearly straight down the runway except when the wind hauls to the SouthWest during a storm which are rare and don’t really blow as hard as the winds here in Mammoth when we often get 100 MPH winds over the crest. Or when the Santa Ana winds blow out of the East. During which, plane land and take off to the East.

        100 MPH winds in San Diego would be devastating and would surely make the national news.

        So I’m not sure what your comparisons really show except that Bishop has runways better aligned to the prevailing winds and an easier approach.

        But like I said, you know more about it than I do.

        Also, except for San Diego, the approches are fairly unobstructed. San Diego is a whole ‘nuther deal and the approach to San Diego is like a Disneyland E ticket and makes me scared.

        • Desert Tortoise April 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

          My comment was aimed at the claim that you must have a crosswind runway to have an “all weather airport”. You do not, and the fact that the weather you can operate in is dictated by the kinds of instrument approaches available on the runway you are using. If a runway has an ILS in one direction you can come down to 1/4 mile vis and 50 ft, ( even lower I think if the autopilot is coulped to the ILS, nothing I flew had that luxury) but that same ILS only gives you what is called a “back course localizer” if you are landing in the opposite direction and the minimums for this approach are much higher.
          And, if your aircraft doesn’t have an ILS in it (none of the Navy helos I flew did) then you are stuck with a non-precision approach and even higher weather mins. If the weather, visibility and ceiling, are below these minimums, you do not land and you fly to your planned divert.

          Nice thing about helos is that crosswinds were never a problem 🙂 You only need a spot to land on. I can’t imagine anyone paying for a new runway unless the crosswind component exceeded the crosswind limits for the commercial aircraft using an airfield and the number of flights cancelled due to winds was high.

          AirNav shows KMMH RWY 27 has a GPS approach that brings the aircraft in over Lake Crowley with a turn to short final. There is your all weather instrument airport. The mins are high, 1300 ft and 1 1/4 mile vis because it’s a non-precision approach with two turns and terrain. Sporty but doable.

  2. Airports are good business April 17, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    You must not be a big on flying, Russ.

    The importance of air service is an important factor to any resort town. You may be surprised how many international visitors desire Mammoth/Yosemite as their destination of choice.
    Not to mention those of us who tire of trekking to L.A. or Reno to catch a flight.
    As the community grows, and more and more see the value of Mammoth Lakes, its a wise business decision to keep improving the airport.

    • Ken Warner April 17, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      That’s a strawman argument. International flyers can’t chose MMH as a destination. Flights to MMH orignate mostly from L.A. and there are no flights to Reno which is an awesome 3 1/2 hour drive though some of the prettiest country in California. And who’s “us”. Very few locals use MMH.

      Plusthe idea that MMH services Yosemite is ludicrous.

      Futher, MMH has been in operation for about 4-5 years during which the number o visitors has decreased while the cost of the airport and associated marketing has increased.

      And think about it a little. Rusty has made the point several times in public that he wants the focus demographic to be families. Can you imagine schlepping ski gear for your whole family through LAX and then off load it in MMH into a rental car in the Winter when it’s 25 degrees at the airport while keeping track of you two or three kids. It still is easier and nearly as fast to just load up the car or SUV and drive the 4 or 5 hours to Mammoth directly to your condo.

      Your argument is fantasy. And that’s putting it nicely.

      • Business Trends April 17, 2013 at 11:40 am #

        What is happening throughout the entire United States is a disappearing middle class. And its been the middleclass that has historically kept Mammoth Lakes alive and kicking. There will always be that group (but its shrinking rapidly) that will continue to “load up the car and drive to Mammoth.” Times have changed and changed rapidly. The smartest businessmen today focus on the group that has the money today. Ma and Pa destinations are going the route of campers and McDonald’s. It’s the boutique communities and well-heeled tourist destinations that are thriving in America today. And those who can afford it, want a Deer Valley, Utah experience. Those with the dough today prefer a ski area where snowboarding is prohibited (Deer Valley) and will pay top dollar to fly, rent an expensive condo and to the ski-in-ski-out thing.

        • J-Frog April 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

          Glad you brought that up, I have this to add to that; ITS THE CORRUPTIVE INFLUENCE OF MONEY! When you have individuals or organizations allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns and elections of course it is gonna move legislation in their best interest, Its been happening (legally) since the late 70’s early 80’s.
          The average median net worth of the middle class was 152K when GWBush took office, now its back to the 90K range right about where we were before Clinton took office.
          In 1971 the lower class was 25 % the middle class was 61% and the upper class was 14%
          In 2011 the lower class is 29% the middle class is 51% and the upper class is 20% = more and more polarized.
          (PEW research)
          I hope you didn’t believe the “trickle down”
          In 1971 the lower class had 10% of the nations wealth the middle class had 62% and the upper class had 29%
          In 2011 the lower class has 9% of the nations wealth while the middle class has 45% and the upper has 46% of the nations wealth
          (PEW research)
          What happen folks? Congress is the reason, banks and large companies who bought our congressman are the reality of our plutocracy we call a republic/democracy.
          If we want it any differently we must make it happen by way of speaking out against this legal bribery that runs rampant.
          Check out how and where the true patriots are leading the way

          • Blood from a turnip? April 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

            @ J-Frog –

            And don’t forget we have a nation divided with one political side adamantly believing that the wealthiest should pay no taxes whatsoever.

            Just who is going to pick up the bill(s)?

          • "The Plan" April 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

            With all due respect J-Frog,
            When I went to the website above the section called “The Plan”
            depicted a picture of a soldier reading something (“The Plan” I suppose.)
            I am dreadfully sorry, but I for one have grown tired and weary of warring ideas and notions to accomplish objectives.
            The only people that benefit from this sort of thing (war) are defense contractors.
            And I believe this (peace) is an example of being a “true patriot.”

          • J-Frog April 18, 2013 at 8:29 am #

            Get over yourself Blood From a Turnip?! The answer is to one of the biggest problems we face is on the website.
            @”The Plan” so all you did was look at the picture and you didn’t even read the captions below? well i guess its a start just to click on the link.
            If was brought to your attention for the first time on this website, I am willing to bet the ranch that this isn’t the only place you will see it! It just started like a year and a half ago and the WolfPACs in the generally red states are gaining good ground (Texas, Minnesota,) this is a true Bi-Partisan fight and the more you talk with these state groups or attend a conference call you honestly can’t imagine the united feeling you get. Its obvious you don’t have a idea of what Wolf-PAC is about, they have nothing to do with defense contractors. So with that being said I hope you give it a lil extra thought or just get out of the way because the Wolfs are coming!

          • Get over YOUR self April 18, 2013 at 10:08 am #

            J-Frog sounds remotely like one of the extremist groups that the GOP is desperately trying to distance itself from (if it ever wants to win another election). Their uber-nationalistic, pseudo-patriotic stance, complete with a photo of a military man as part of their “Plan” in their website, is telling and reminiscent of what happened in a bad economy during the Third Reich era. The country is very weary of the many government-haters in our midst and have shown clearly how it feels by rejecting the likes of Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, etc. in the last General Election.

          • Anti-government groups April 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

            Forgive the stereotyping, but I sense like most anti-government groups today (and these haters have reached an all-time high in numbers) the wolf pack consists of old, grizzly, and grossly paranoid baby-boomers still angry at the hippies of the Vietnam era, who totally support the bankrupting of our country via the War on Iraq looking for WMDs that never existed in the first place. All they while waving the flag unti its a blur.

            At its most extreme these paramilitary types attract people like Timothy McVeigh (our most recent government-hater).

            Between 2000 and 2012, the number of hate groups, defined the by SPLC as those that verbally attack minority groups, rose from 602 to more than 1,000. The number declined slightly last year—from 1,018 to 1,007—but the number of so-called “patriot groups,” groups that generally believe the government is conspiring to take Americans’ guns and freedoms and impose one-world rule, hit a record high of 1,360 in 2012, up from 149 in 2008.

            In my humble opinion, we need to stand up a domestic terrorism and start analyzing this threat.

          • The rise of Neo-Nazism April 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

            Hate groups in America are on the rise, fueled by the election of President Obama, the poor economy and more recently, the gun control debate in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre, according to the annual report of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks American hate.

            The rise in hate groups prompted the SPLC to write a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, warning of the potential for domestic terrorism and urging the creation of a task force to assess whether there are enough federal resources devoted to the threat.

            They believe the Constitution is being raped. With hate groups, things are going to get worse because they feel like they’re in battle. (see wolf pac website w/soldier) It’s not surprising with their hatred of President Obama that there are even more hate groups out there.

            These groups tend to hate the government more than specific races.
            They are in a battle in their minds,Their backs are against the wall.
            California has the most neo-Nazi groups with nine, while Texas has the most Ku Klux Klan groups with 26.

          • Benett Kessler April 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

            Actually, hate groups and individuals who hate have failed to examine themselves, failed to consider why they are alive and what they are doing here.
            And, then, having made the discovery, acted on it.

    • Curious April 17, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Why do the taxpayers have to pay for these so called wise ” business decisions? ”

      Only two weeks ago were we going to have pass the hat to change a few street signs and now we have a new Main street and Air Layout Plan with no monies to do anything with them.

      Mammoth is what it is, the “wealthy” pretty people are never coming in the numbers that are required to support a year around luxury resort community. The reason is very simple, there are many other places the pretty people already go where they get more bang for their buck.

      This pig in a poke development has always and will always be a Ponzi scheme in Mammoth, the local taxpayers are eventually left holding the empty money bags and responsible for the debt after each boom to bust cycle.

      • Desert Tortoise April 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

        I laugh at anyone who builds pricy condos or locates a business in that area when it is a giant volcanic caldera. It is ridiculous for anyone to live there. But when the vocano next erupts, as it surely will, there will be a hue and cry for help from the taxpayers of the state and the US to save them and help rebuild. There should be nothing tvaluable hat cannot be lost built on an active volcano. You expect it to be destroyed.

        • All depends on your point of view April 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

          Desert Tortoise –
          Some people also laugh at those who live where water is rare and disappearing.

        • Ken Warner April 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

          It’s a caldera not a volcano. And by the next time it erupts, nobody will be speaking English — or Spanish — or living in condos. But we will have some nice earthquakes. That will be fun.

          By the way, the Mammoth Scenic Loop was constructed as an excape route in case of major earthquake. About the same time, 203 was widened to facilitate town evacuations. Which, of course, is one of the things that the big developers want you to forget so they can have a few more square feet to develop and flee with their carpet bags full of money.

          • Desert Tortoise April 18, 2013 at 10:07 am #

            With a resurgent dome in that caldera I would not get too comfortable. That puppy could blow in our lifetime. Likewise Mammoth Mountain itself is an active volcano. The way it is off gassing, don’t think it won’t erupt again too. It will.
            I have a good friend who lives in Bend OR and I tell him he is absolutely nuts to live somewhere like that surrounded on all sides by active volcanos, not to mention that a fourth sister is trying to be born.

        • Wayne Deja April 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

          Desert Tortoise…There is a really good chance,if the caldera blows,not too many people will be left around to be asking for any kind of help…The experts say when it blows,it’s good-bye Mammoth Lakes….

      • Wayne Deja April 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

        Responding to “rise of neo-nazism”….The good thing about the so-called “hate groups ” of today,in most cases,just harmless, angry ,old bitter men…. mad,angry, and upset,like you say, because of Barack Obama being elected….and then RE-ELECTED the past year….not really too much we all should worry about….lotta talk,but that’s about it.

        • More than just talk from the haters April 19, 2013 at 5:49 am #

          With the intensity of these government-hating groups on the rise, I think it wise that we should all worry about the possibility of another Oklahoma bombing in the works. There are some amongst us today who become so enraged that who knows what they might do next. I do know that assault rifles and ammo is being stockpiled daily by these groups, and some have camouflaged soldiers as part of their symbols for their movements.

          • Benett Kessler April 19, 2013 at 6:47 am #

            What good will it do to worry about it?

          • Dealing with Destructive Emotions April 19, 2013 at 7:56 am #

            Bennet asks “What good does it to do to worry about it (domestic terrorism)?
            As difficult as it is to swallow this reality, perhaps she will breathe easier when her bags are thoroughly examined the next time she takes a flight somewhere.
            But better than be concerned (worried) about where will the angry government-hater strike next, positive steps can be taken right now in our schools, churches, etc. to teach our children how to understand, deal with, and transform our destructive emotions when they arise within.

            “We have met the enemy and he is us.” – Pogo Possum

  3. Ken Warner April 17, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    The over optimistic tone of the town’s press release is so typical. They present the submission of the ALP and a meeting with the FAA about it as if that was full approval of the ALP. How long have they been working on the ALP? 8-10 years? They’ve already had other ALP’s not approved — as I remember. And yet, this one is a done deal. You are right. It is mind boggling.

    Also, I’ve heard but can’t prove, that when the Army built the Bishop and Mammoth airports during WWII, the Mammoth airport was used to train pilots to land in a crosswind. You couldn’t design a better airport for crosswind landings.

    I’ve said this before — the Bishop airport is the best solution for regional air service. Just look at it with Google maps and compare it to Mammoth Airport.

    And saying the existing terminal is operating at capacity doesn’t mean much when the airport can only service one 60-90 seat plane at a time.

    Oh well, it gives those people something to keep them off the streets…..

    • Money talks April 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      It’s understandable that there are those who want to lobby for the Bishop airport to be the regional hub for the area.
      Doubtful, however, that Inyo County has the money required (TOT or tax increase) to make that a reality to keep “them” (Bishop residents?) off the streets trying to make it happen.

      • Ken Warner April 18, 2013 at 1:12 am #

        Mammoth doesn’t have the money for MMH. They rely on grants from the FAA. I heard once that Bishop had applied to the FAA for a grant. I don’t know if that’s true or current. Benett?

        • Benett Kessler April 18, 2013 at 7:53 am #

          Yes, Inyo County has applied for and received grants, now that they have a long-term lease from DWP.

          • SierraFan April 18, 2013 at 11:38 am #

            And that’s another reason not to expand the Bishop airport! DWP might come in and shut them down if they’re upset about something. LOL..

        • a misconception April 18, 2013 at 9:52 am #

          Contrary to the usual opinion, the town of Mammoth Lakes has more money than you might care to speculate on.

          We are talking mega-wealth surpassing amounts beyond your wildest dreams.

  4. Observer April 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    The press release is smoke and mirrors. Mammoth needs a longer runway for year-round air service, and a larger airport layout for commercial aircraft (move the Hot Creek hangars out of the way). They have no intention of ever proposing a cross-wind runway, and because of Doe Ridge they can never have an instrument approach. This is the fifth ALP plan set the Town has prepared in the last two years, and yet according to the press release even this latest resubmission requires revisions before it can be considered for FAA review and circulation. Don’t be looking for a new terminal at Mammoth airport anytime soon.

    • Desert Tortoise April 18, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      First, KMMH has a published instrument approach. There is a GPS RWY 27 approach that brings you in over Lake Crowley with two turns over GPS waypoints to angle you in to RWY 27.

      Second, where exactly do you propose to locate this “crosswind runway” and maintain satisfactory terrain avoidance? Certainly you won’t have aircraft circiling over Convict Lake to land on a runway oriented with Hot Springs Hacienda Road, and departures towards Convict Lake. Likewise departing north towards Hot Springs Hacienda Road on a hot summer day is begging for one of those mishaps where required performance to clear terrain is eaten away by density altitude. Flying at 8000 ft MSL in the summer is pretty sporty unless you have an abundance of power. Even commercial aircraft have to back off loads and extend takeoff runs when densitity altitudes are high.

  5. Russ April 18, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Beautiful comments and great observed actions from everyone! Whow! I had no idea my thoughts would ignite such a response. On being a pilot: I flew the A-6 Intruder and have runway & catapult take-offs in woxof wx and blind instrument landings. It takes a fully functional team to do things like that, and I just don’ t see that teamwork in action at the Mammoth airport. And as you all have observed, money and terrain combine to make it difficult to build a safe all weather facility. It’s just a blunt fact folks: the Mammoth airport is, and will always be, a fair weather, blue sky destination and departure facility

    • Desert Tortoise April 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Since we flew in the Navy airports no longer need to have a navaid on the airfield to have a non-precision instrument approach. With GPS you can have GPS waypoints defining intersections, holding patterns and decision points along the approach. KMMH has such an approach to RWY 27 so the airport is indeed an all weather airport.

      By the way, why do I keep wanting to hold my right fist to my hose with my forefinger extended in a hook in front of me, lol? Uglies and Extra-Uglies.

      • Tourbillon April 18, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

        Russ & Tortoise, appreciate your service, more than most would know. I think I saw both you guys flying and you looked great. Through the crosshairs of a periscope.

  6. ferdinand lopez April 18, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    what does a new terminal have to do with estimating future air sevice needs,i guarantee,theres big money fat cats behind the green curtain

    • Benett Kessler April 18, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      Depending on future air service – how many passengers, how many planes – the terminal will have two, three or more gates, etc.

      • San Franciscans love Mammoth April 18, 2013 at 11:36 am #

        On a recent flight from Mammoth to San Francisco, I was surprised how many passengers were flying (both ways) in a period that was not exactly what you might call prime skiing season (a week ago). A waiter in an SF restaurant told us he’s been visiting Mammoth in the summertime for years.

        As far as a bigger, better airport in Mammoth, I say build it and they will come.

        • More flights to San Francisco Please April 19, 2013 at 10:24 am #

          San Francisco is one of the world’s greatest cities in the world (and oh, so diverse and compact).
          I’d take a million flights to the City by the Bay before I’d fly to anyplace south of Mammoth.
          And it looks like San Franciscans feel the same way about Mammoth.
          Year-round flights to SF please!

  7. ferdinand lopez April 18, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….isnt that the cart before the horse?

  8. Mark April 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    The government was to suppose to protect our boarders. They failed and I think a lot of people hate them for it.

    Everyone has to dislike the debt but those loaning the money


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