The San Fernando Valley was once the home of the aviation industry. In fact, Van Nuys Airport was the nation’s busiest general aviation airport until 2006, housing more than 1,300 propeller plans, and as the Daily News reports, the airport is developing again, breaking ground Monday on a $21 million propeller park.
San Fernando-based Pacific Aviation Development is reportedly developing the The Park at Van Nuys, as the complex will be called, on 30 acres that was previously home to an Air National Guard wing. Once completed, the company will own and operate the facility.
The 350,500-square-foot complex will include a terminal, maintenance services, restaurant, self-service fuel station and aircraft wash rack, with future plans to add office space, retail store for pilots and a car rental. Construction is currently underway on the west side of the airport that will house propeller airplanes that fly in and out, according to the Mirror.
About 400 prop planes are currently at the facility, but according to Pacific Aviation’s website, the company will build 115 new hangers to hold up to 270 more planes.
“We do have a pilot shortage, and by building this here in the middle of a large population concentration, it will help protect the future of general aviation and commercial aviation by providing a location for pilots to train, pilot Elliot Sanders told the newspaper. Sanders is the former president and current board member of the Van Nuys Propeller Pilots Association.
Van Nuys Airport general manager Jess Romo said the propeller park will be a welcome update to the airport.
“It’s going to create a campus for the propeller operators to have a home of their own that’s very distinct from other parts of the airport,” Romo said. “That will be nice. It’s going to give them a sense of place and separation from the larger aircraft.”