Front Range Airport
|Front Range Airport|
|IATA: none – ICAO: KFTG – FAA LID: FTG|
|Owner||Front Range Airport Authority|
|Serves||Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area|
|Elevation AMSL||5,512 ft / 1,680 m|
|Source: FAA and airport's web site|
Front Range Airport (ICAO: KFTG, FAA LID: FTG) is a public airport located on the northeastern edge of Aurora, Colorado, three miles (5 km) southeast of Denver International Airport. It is owned by the Front Range Airport Authority, and serves the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. The postal designation of Watkins, a nearby unincorporated community, is used in the airport's mailing address.
Front Range is a small general aviation airport, although increased demand has warranted a number of expansion programs in recent years. Until 2005 it was a non-towered airport without air traffic control (ATC) services, when the tallest general aviation control tower in the United States (191 ft) was opened along with full ATC services. Currently, Front Range airport serves as the base of a few flying schools, flight clubs and maintenance services. Due to its location on the flat plains of eastern Colorado, as well as generally cheaper aircraft rental rates, it is a very popular airport for both flight training and recreational flights. The cargo airline Sundance Air is based at the airport. It is also popular among owners and pilots of kit-built aircraft, and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has a very strong presence at Front Range, which occasionally hosts the EAA Rocky Mountain Fly-In. Aviation Technology Group (ATG) had planned to build the ATG Javelin at the airport in 2009, but the company has since gone out of business. The State of Colorado has applied to the FAA to certify Front Range as a spaceport. 
After 19 years as airport director, Dennis Heap and the airport board parted ways in August 2013.
Facilities and aircraft
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2005, the airport had 94,625 aircraft operations, an average of 259 per day: 99% general aviation, 1% air taxi and <1% military. There are 396 aircraft based at this airport: 84% single engine, 11% multi-engine, 4% ultralight, 1% helicopters and <1% jet aircraft.
The airport also hosts an armory belonging to the Colorado Army National Guard, recognizable by the UH-1 Iroquois parked in front of the building. HHC, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group is based there.
In October 2011, the Colorado governor formally requested that the Federal government designate Colorado a "spaceport state" and that Front Range Airport be designated a spaceport for suborbital horizontal takeoff (HTVL and HTHL) flights. Spaceport designation would allow a facility offering suborbital tourism, travel and cargo transport from one point to another on Earth. "No vertical launches are planned at Front Range, unlike most of the other eight certified U.S. spaceports. Instead, space planes — an emerging technology — will use regular runways and jet engines to take off and land, switching to rocket power above 50,000 feet."
Media sources have suggested that the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser spaceplane may be used for suborbital spaceflights and that the Colorado Spaceport may prove to be the preferred location, over Spaceport America in New Mexico.
As of May 2012[update], news reports indicate that the Spaceport Colorado proposal is gaining traction with political interests at the State and Federal level as well as with industry participants. One of those commercial interests was XCOR Aerospace, who was considering Spaceport Colorado as a candidate for HTHL operations with their Lynx rocketplane. However, XCOR announced in July 2012 that they would be moving their company headquarters and R&D activities to Texas, in part due to a significant set of financial incentives (US$10,000,000) offered to XCOR by the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) and the Midland City Council.
As of April 2012[update], Colorado state law now "grants limited liability to spaceflight companies, allowing spaceflight participants who sign waiver forms to sue only if they are injured or killed as a result of a firm’s 'willful or wanton disregard' for safety."
- FAA Airport Master Record for FTG ( PDF), effective July 5, 2007
- Front Range Airport (official site)
- Great Circle Mapper: KFTG – Denver, Colorado (Front Range Airport)
- Avery, Greg (December 7, 2011). "Colorado officials eye spaceport at Front Range Airport".
- "Front Range Airport Executive Director Departs". Parabolic Arc. August 25, 2013.
- Schrader, Ann (December 18, 2011). "Economic potential of proposed Colorado spaceport "another star in our sky"". Denver Post. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- "Plan B for Dream Chaser?". RLV and Space Transport News. May 10, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- David, Leonard (May 23, 2012). "Potential Colorado Spaceport Plan Gaining Steam". Space.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- a $10 million economic development deal
- Carreau, Mark (July 10, 2012). "XCOR Selects West Texas For Suborbital, Orbital R&D Hub". Aviation Week. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- Hill, David (June 21, 2013). "AIA 2013: America's Next Aviation Frontier". Architectural Record. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Official website
- Front Range Airport (FTG) at Colorado DOT airport directory
- (PDF), effective April 3, 2014
- FAA Terminal Procedures for FTG, effective April 3, 2014
- Resources for this airport: