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The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

Santa Barbara Airport publishes new master plan

The Santa Barbara Airport terminal entrance

The Santa Barbara Airport terminal entrance. (Dreamyshade via Wikimedia Commons)
On March 7, 2024, the Santa Barbara Airport published their new master plan. The master plan, which is a 20-year plan, calls for major changes, such as the removal of a runway, the expansion of the terminal, a vertiport, and additional hangars and fuel tanks. On April 3, 2024, California Representative Salud Carbajal announced that $3.9 million dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act would be allocated to the airport.

One of the changes suggested by the master plan is the closing and removal of runway 15L/33R. The designation 15L/33R means that the runway can be approached from a 150 or 330 degree heading, and the L/R (left/right) designation refers to the fact that there are two runways. The designation 15L means that it is the leftmost runway on the 150 degree heading, and the designation 33R means that it is the rightmost runway on the 330 degree heading. Most of the runway will be removed to make space for the terminal expansion, and the small amount remaining is planned to be converted into a taxiway.

This isn’t the first time a runway has been removed at Santa Barbara Airport. When the airport was used by the Marines during World War II, there were two additional runways, 21/3 L and R. These runways were closed in the 1960’s due to a higher local population and the construction of the Aero Spacelines hangars.

Runway 21R/3L was closed first, around 1965, and both runways were closed by 1967. The concrete from both runways was fully removed by 1983. Runway 15L/33R was temporarily closed around this time, but was later reopened before 1983. The airport terminal will be expanded to allow for eight more gates for small passenger aircraft.

Another change is the addition of general aviation hangars. A hangar is a building where aircrafts are stored. A general aviation hangar is a hangar used for private aircraft storage. Some of the hangars will be located near the end of the soon-to-be closed runway, 15L. The plan calls for a variety of sizes, allowing for small aircraft as well as large aircraft to be accommodated. The Santa Barbara Airport is planning for the construction of 15 hangars.

A change that is expected to improve airport operations is the expansion of the fuel tank area, known as the fuel farm. According to the airport, the fuel farm is well located and has great potential for expansion. Airport capacity for jet fuel has the possibility to be doubled by this expansion. In addition, there is the potential for the use of cleaner fuel sources.

The future location of the vertiport pictured in May 2023 (Leo Quinkert)

Another change coming to the airport is a landing site for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) craft. A VTOL craft can take off vertically like a helicopter, instead of using a runway. The landing site, known as a vertiport, would be located between the site of the former General Western Aero Company hangars and the former Aero Spacelines hangars. The vertiport would accommodate electrically powered VTOL craft, along with routes between Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in the future.

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Leo Quinkert
Leo Quinkert, Reporter
Leo Quinkert (10) acquiring more knowledge about trains from the novel Burlington Northern Diesel Locomotives, written by Paul D. Scheider. Leo has taken a life-long interest in trains, and it is a hobby of his to explore the different models of them that have existed throughout history and their main purposes. “They are an undervalued and cleaner form of transportation, and are truly fascinating machines,” Leo said.
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