Caldwell Industrial has second-most takeoffs, landings in Idaho
While a student learns how to keep a helicopter in the air, a thrill seeker has just learned how to take off in an airplane and land safely on the ground without one — via parachute.
This is a typical day at the Caldwell Industrial Airport — the second-busiest in the state based on the number of takeoffs and landings, airport manager Rob Oates said. That number is estimated to be more than 10,000 per month.
“We are a very big little airport,” he said.
Various types of aircraft ranging from single-engine planes to training helicopters to experimental or owner-built planes can be seen coming and going from the airport.
“People think we are a sleepy little airport, but it’s a hotbed of activity,” Oates said.
Smaller planes can also use the Caldwell Airport if pilots don’t want to fly into the busier Boise Airport, Oates said.
BRINGING IN BUSINESS
The Caldwell Airport is home to 40 businesses including flight schools, a skydiving service, aerial photography and an air ambulance company. That’s in addition to several hundred other private leases, Oates said.
A 2007 economic impact report by the Idaho Department of Transportation shows the airport supported more than 200 jobs with a total payroll of $5.1 million. The airport’s total economic impact was close to $20 million in 2007.
The airport is continually working to bring more business to the airport while determining needs for maintenance and expansion, Oates said. An Airport Master Plan finalized in September 2010 identified areas for expansion on the east side of the airport near the new terminal.
The 9,000-square-foot Hubler Terminal was built on the east side of the airport in 2010 that replaced the previous terminal, a 2,000-square-foot converted farmhouse. The new terminal houses staff offices, a pilot’s lounge, showers and a conference space.
Eventually the plan is to expand the airport onto parts of where Linden Street and Smeed Parkway are now. That expansion is a ways off and will most likely be done in phases with a lot of public input, Oates said.
There are also plans to extend the runway from 5,500 to 6,800 feet when demand warrants. The extra length will accommodate bigger planes, and Oates said he hopes that will attract more business to the airport.