Hopkins Airfield [AIB]


The County sits within a high desert climate, characterized as semi-arid. Historically, the region has recorded an average of 12.59 inches of annual precipitation. The average maximum temperature of the warmest month (July) is 86.9° F, with the average minimum temperature of the coldest month (January) being 25.6°F.

Airfield Facilities: Airfield Area

Airfield operations at AIB include runways, taxiways, and aeronautical aids. The following table provides a graphic representation of the facilities.

General Airport Information for Hopkin Airfield (AIB)
Name & Identifier Hopkins Field Airport (AIB)
Ownership Montrose County, CO
Airport Field Elevation 5,940 feet
Airport Reference Code B-II
Airport Reference Point Lat. 38° 14’ 19.5” N; Long. 108° 33’ 47.80” W
Runway Data 5/23 11/29
Width 75 feet 80 feet
Length 5,210 4,000
Pavement Strength 12 x Single N/A
Type (Condition) Asphalt (New, 2018) Dirt (Good)
Wind Coverage
    10.5 knots 93.4% 92.3%
    13.0 knots 96.3% 94.4%
Gradient 0.9% 0.7%
FAR Part 77 Approach Slope 20:1 20:1
Markings (Condition) Precision (Excellent) None
Navigational Aids
Airport Beacon, Segmented Circle, Wind Cone, AWOS III P/T, PAPIs, REILs

Runway System

As shown on the above graphic, AIB has a two-runway configuration that involves both a primary and crosswind runway.

Runway 5/23, AIB’s primary runway, measures 75 feet wide and 5,210 feet in length. The runway was extended, and the asphalt surface was replaced in September 2018. The runway has a weight bearing capacity of 12,500 lbs (maximum design takeoff weight), making it consistent with the Colorado Aviation System Plan of minimum operating needs of emergency aircraft, particularly the Beechcraft King Air 200 (B-200). Currently the visibility minimums on Runway 5/23 are 1 statute mile.

Runway 11/29, the crosswind runway, measures 80 feet wide and 4,000 feet in length. The runway was resurfaced to accommodate a weight bearing capacity of 12,500 lbs making it consistent with the Colorado Aviation System Plan of minimum operating needs of emergency aircraft, particularly the Beechcraft King Air 200 (B-200). Currently the visibility minimums on Runway 11/29 are 1 statute mile.

Taxiway System

The taxiway system provides access between the two runways and apron. Taxiway A is located approximately 275 feet south of the Runway 5/23 threshold and extends northwest toward the GA Terminal Area. Taxiway A is 375 feet in length and 50 feet wide. In 2018, Taxiway A was rehabilitated, and lighted taxiway signs were installed.

General Aviation Terminal and Pilot Lounge

The GA terminal was built in 2014 to provide the essential amenities for a general aviation pilot. The Terminal/Pilot Lounge is a place where a pilot can rest, build a flight plan, or stay indoors during adverse weather conditions. The building is approximately 2,900 square feet in size, is handicap accessible, and provides the following:

  • Lounge/waiting room
  • Flight planning with weather computer
  • Wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi)
  • Conference Room
  • Drinks and Snacks
  • Flat-screen television
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Restrooms with shower facilities
  • Flight Instruction classroom
  • Courtesy car (available upon request)

Fuel Availability

Hopkins Airfield currently stores fuel at the Airport in one aboveground 5,000-gallon Jet-A storage tank and one aboveground 5,000-gallon 100 Low Lead (LL) storage tank. Each tank has 4,750 gallons of usable storage capacity, which is adequate to accommodate on and off-peak periods. The 24/7, self-serve fuel tanks are located west of the GA Terminal area. Both tanks are 5 years old and in good condition.

Aircraft Hangars

The Airport currently has 12 hangars for based and transient aircraft that range in size from 800 to 4,500 square feet. Additional private hangars may be available for lease or purchase.

Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting

AIB has no aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) equipment on site. The emergency first response for an incident or accident is the responsibility of the local Nucla-Naturita Fire Department, with is approximately 1.5 miles north/northeast of the Airport. Currently, the fire department has a 10-minute response time, which adequately addresses AIB’s needs.


The Airport has a number of readily available utilities, including electricity through San Miguel Power, telephone and broadband service provided by Nucla-Naturita Telephone Company (NNTC), water from the Town of Nucla, and trash removal by Bruin Waste Management.

Communication Building and Tower

In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation installed a 50’ antenna tower and associated equipment building used to monitor seismic activity from remote stations within the Paradox Valley Seismic Network. This equipment building and associated tower is owned by Montrose County and has capacity for additional uses. This includes a Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) sensor installed by the FAA.

Existing Aircraft Operations and Based Aircraft

There are two types of aircraft operations: local and itinerant. A local operation is performed by aircraft that remain in the local traffic pattern, executing simulated instrument approaches or low passes at an airport. Local operations occur to or from the airport and a designated practice area within a 20-mile radius of the tower. An itinerant operation is performed by an aircraft adhering to instrument flight rules (IFR), special visual flight rules (SVFR), or visual flight rules (VFR) that lands at an airport, arrives from outside the airport area, or departs from an airport and leaves the airport area.

AIB currently averages 35 fixed and rotary operations per week, with the busiest season being summer. Of these 35 operations, 35 percent are local operations, and 65 percent are itinerant operations. Currently, AIB has 11 based, single-engine aircraft and one aircraft that are used for flight training.

The Airport is used for military, fish/game contractor, medevac, wildlife management, business, recreation, and training aircraft operations.

Airport Classification

Airport National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems Classification

An airport must be included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) to be eligible for federal funding under the AIP. The FAA prepares the NPIAS every two years to identify public-use airports considered necessary to provide a safe, efficient, and integrated system of airports that meet the needs of civil aviation, national defense, and the United States Postal Service. The FAA also considers the relationship of each airport within the larger transportation system for a particular area, the forecast developments in aeronautics, and the development forecast for other modes of transportation.

Designed to serve the public’s general aviation needs, AIB is listed in the NPIAS as a General Aviation Airport, which is the largest single group of airports in the FAA’s NPIAS.

Colorado Aviation System Plan Classification

CROT’s Aeronautics Division, updated its Colorado Aviation System Plan in 2011 to identify general airports in the Major, Intermediate, and Minor functional levels. The main objective of the plan was to assist airports in fulfilling their assigned system role to meet the following functional levels: facility, service, and equipment objectives. In the plan, CDOT classified AIB as an Intermediate Airport.

General Aviation Airports: A National Asset Classification

According to the General Aviation Airport: A National Asset, the FAA classifies AIB as a Basic Airport (FAA, 2012). By definition, Basic Airports “often serve critical aeronautical functions within local and regional markets.” These airports have moderate to low levels of activity, averaging approximately 10 propeller-driven aircraft with no jets. A Basic Airport fulfills the role of a community airport, supporting private general aviation flying and linking the community to the national integrated airport system. The FAA’s classification is consistent with the 11 aircraft currently based at AIB.

Airspace Environment

The FAA specifies airspace classifications for the majority of the nation’s navigable airspace. The classifications are broken into 6 categories, ranging from all aircraft being subject to Air Traffic Control to Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR rules.

AIB is a non-towered airport within Class G airspace. AIB’s Class G airspace extends from the ground up to, but not including, 700 feet above ground level. Class E airspace extends upward from 700 feet above ground level to 17,999 feet above mean sea level and includes an extension to the northwest in order to provide controlled airspace for the Airport’s Instrument approach procedure.

Navigational Aids

The Navigational Aid System (NAVAIDS) assists pilots with en-route navigation and approaches into and out of airports. The system can be ground-based electronic system or a space-based radio system.

Currently, AIB utilizes NAVAIDS, the Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS), which is an AWOS III P/T system located directly northwest of the intersection of Runway 5/23 and Runway 11/29. The system provides pilots with pertinent weather information. No significant maintenance issues have been reported or associated with the AWOS, which was installed in 2004 and is currently in good condition.

In 2018, with the redevelopment of the Airport, AIB added Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) and Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL) to Runway 5/23. These additions increase safety and extend the operational use of the runway throughout the day.

Wide Area Multilateration

The Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) is the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation (NexGen) surveillance capability, enabling air traffic controllers to track aircraft that fly in and out of airports in mountainous areas that have no radar coverage. This system provides aircraft surveillance through a network of small sensors in remote areas. Based on the concept of triangulation, the sensors send out signals that are received and sent back by aircraft transponders. This data is transmitted to air traffic controllers via the FAA Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in Longmont Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Division of Aeronautics along with the FAA installed a WAM sensor at Hopkins Field in 2014.

Instrument Approaches

Instrument approaches are classified as either non-precision or precision approaches. Both are controlled approaches monitored by the local air traffic jurisdiction. A Non-precision approach is standard instrument approach procedure (IAP) in which no electronic glide slope (GS) is provided. Until September 2018, AIB only had one IAP. But during the Airport improvements, Precision Approach Path Indicators were added to Runway 5/23.

PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicators) primarily assists by providing visual glide slope guidance in non-precision approaches environment. These systems have an effective visual range of at least 3 miles during the day and up to 20 miles at night. The row of light units is normally installed on the left side of the runway and the glide path indications are as two red and two white (2 red  ) when on proper glide path angle of approach. Light combinations indicate when slightly high (3 white  ), significantly high (4 white  ), slightly low (3 red  ) and significantly low (4 red  ).