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[TowerTalk] FAA & Private Airstrips

Subject: [TowerTalk] FAA & Private Airstrips
From: William Hein <>
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 17:56:36 -0700
List-post: <">>
My family and I recently moved to a wonderful house in beautiful Glade Park CO 
(on the other side of Colorado National Monument from Grand Junction.  The 
house itself is an ultra-energy efficient Earthship (Google "Glade Park 
Earthship" for more info).  We have 35 rural acres of land around our house in 
a low population density rural area.  All in all it's going to be a great place 
for ham radio.

I've had stations in Malibu CA (as KC6EDP and AA6TT), Tiffany CO (as AA6TT/0) 
and Topsham VT (AA6TT/1 and NT1Y) so I have some idea of what works and what 
doesn't with regard to terrain, RF and the ionosphere.  In this regard my new 
location is superb with great 'shots' to EU and JA and elsewhere and is 
confirmed by the success the other ham who lives up here - Jerry K0DU - has in 
contests and pileups.  I'm counting the days until the ground thaws and tower 
construction can start in earnest - I've been off the air due to a heavy 
workload for several years and I'm dying to be back on the air.

Since moving in I've noticed a small private plane passing overhead fairly low 
(I'd say 100 feet or less) on a regular basis and landing nearby.  Checking 
Google Maps aerial photos I discovered a small grass airstrip with a windsock - 
"Pinyon Airport" - on what I believe is private land a little over 5 km SE of 
me (5.586 km per Google).  The runway is not pointed towards my house 
nevertheless seeing the plane flyover directly overhead so low motivate me to 
Google FAA, airports and towers.  Here is a picture from Google Maps of my 
house with a line drawn to the closest point on the airstrip: 

if you want to take a gander at my place on Google Maps yourself:

          39.013949 N
        -108.744371 W

        479 South 16 1/2 Road
        Glade Park CO 81523

The FAA Website TOWAIR indicated that "Structure does not require 
registration"after I plugged in my coordinates along with elevation (6840-ft 
ASL approx.). There are no airports within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of the 
coordinates you provided."  TOWAIR went on to caution "TOWAIR's findings are 
not definitive or binding".  Since "Pinyon Airport" (a rather pretentious 
designation for a grass airstrip with a windsock) is 5.5 km away I am guess it 
is either not registered with the FAA or somehow doesn't count as a real 

I have a 142-foot Big Bertha tower which I previously had installed in Vermont 
which I intend to reinstall here along with at least one other 100-ft + tower 
and a few smaller structures.  For many reasons I'd hate to see a airplane run 
into Bertha.

So what should I do now?  Contact the FAA for an opinion?  Find out who owns 
the airstrip and give them a verbal or written heads up on my tower plans and 
also request they avoid flying low over my house?  Something else?


William Hein, AA7XT

AMSAT Life Member
ARRL Life Member
UKSMG Member

1st W to OH0 QSO on 6m
1st North America to Asia QSO on 60m

Tel   +1 (970) 628-5120
Loc:  DM59pa
AIM / iChat / iMessage
Skype   williamhein
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