Virginia Announces Initiative to Explore Adding New Licensed Public Use Turf Runways

The Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) in conjunction with the Virginia Aviation Board (VAB) are exploring opportunities to develop new licensed turf runways at existing public-use airports to accommodate the needs of student pilots, and operations by gliders, antique/warbird aircraft and tail-wheel aircraft. The Virginia Aviation and Space Workforce Analysis and Strategy Development revealed a need for over 12,595 new pilots over the next 15-20 years to meet the commonwealth future demands. Additional licensed public use turf runways will provide a safe environment to train the future aviators in numerous piloting maneuvers. 

DOAV Director Randall Burdette introduced the initiative to the VAB at its May 16, 2013 meeting. VAB members are appointed by the governor to promulgate appropriate aviation rules and regulations and approve funding for airport capital projects and other statewide infrastructure needs, such as public use turf runways. This potential need will be evaluated by the DOAV’s Airport Services Division (ASD) as an extension of the ongoing Virginia Air Transportation System Plan Update. Currently there are only two licensed turf runways in the commonwealth, located at the William Tuck Airport in South Boston and the Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg.