Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (January 2013)|
|Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport|
|Located in Bullhead City, Laughlin Bullhead International Airport is the largest airport in Mohave County.|
|IATA: IFP – ICAO: KIFP – FAA LID: IFP|
|Operator||Mohave County Airport Authority|
|Serves||Laughlin, Nevada, Bullhead City, Arizona|
|Location||Bullhead City, Arizona|
|Elevation AMSL||695 ft / 212 m|
Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IATA: IFP, ICAO: KIFP, FAA LID: IFP), also known as Bullhead City International Airport, is a public airport located one mile (2 km) north of the central business district of Bullhead City, in Mohave County, Arizona, USA. The airport is across the Colorado River and one block away from the community of Laughlin, Nevada. Many of the rooms at Laughlin's casino-hotels offer a view of the chartered and private flights that utilize the airport. No larger commercial airlines currently serve the airport. It was named 2011 Airport of the Year by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
History and expansion
In 1941, land was purchased from the State of Arizona for construction of Davis Dam power plant that was initiated by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1942. In 1943 the Airport is established on Bureau of Land Management property approximately two miles south of the Davis Dam power plant construction site. The employees of the Davis Dam project graded and used the airport. In 1953 the Dam was completed and residential development commenced in Bullhead City, Lake Mohave and Mohave Valley areas. Mohave County leases the Bullhead City Airport from BLM in 1968 and in 1971 the County subleases a portion of the Bullhead Airport to Bullhead Airport Inc which was a private enterprise which provided Fixed Vased Operation Services. In 1972 ADOT provided a $15,000 grant to aid in an airport improvement project for runway relocation, drainage, marking, lighting and fencing and in 1979 a new 25 year lease for the entire 135 acre airport is negotiated by the county with the newly formed Mohave County Airport Authority. In 1980 Bullhead Airport Inc. sublease is renegotiated and ADOT provides $91,000 to overlay the old aircraft parking apron and extend it to the north. The FBO provioded with $10,000 to make other facility improvements. In 1983 BLM transfers airport property to the State of Arizona and in 1986 the Arizona State Land Department sold propertyu that included the airport parcel to Bullhead Airport Inc through public auction with two stipulations. The first being that the buyer would have to dedicate 433 acres to Mohave County for airport use and the buyer would need to complete a flood control project within two years of land purchase. In 1987 FAA and ADOT grants and entitlements are used to commence construction and Mohave County Airport Authority forms two executive committees, one for Kingman and one for Bullhead /Laughlin.
Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport used to be known simply as the "Bullhead City Airport" until the 1990s, when such airlines as Air Laughlin, Vanguard Airlines, Viscount Air Services and others offered Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9 flights from Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Reno Air offered McDonnell Douglas MD-80 service there briefly in 1995 and 1996 serving San Jose International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. Most of this air service would be accompanied by hotel packages. For a short period, USAir Express operated DH-8 service to Los Angeles International Airport. FedEx Express became the airport's main cargo airline also during that decade.
In 2002, Sun Country decided to start service to Bullhead City from Minneapolis. The airline ultimately decided to make Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport a hub for the American Southwestern region. In 2004, Ryan International Airlines returned the jet services from the Phoenix area, beginning to fly to Bullhead City from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, using MD-82 airplanes. There was service on Western Express Air to Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (Arizona) and Riverside Municipal Airport (California) but that was discontinued when that airline ceased operations at the end of May 2007.
In 2008, the airport underwent a multi-million-dollar expansion, which increased passenger capacity, and a heightened security system. In the same year, the largest aircraft to visit the airport, a Boeing 747-SP, landed on the recently expanded runway. 
In March 2010 the airport hosted "Legends Over the Colorado", an air show with additional displays of an original B-17 from World War II. The plane is part of the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, a Texas-based nonprofit organization that has fully restored the B-17, Sentimental Journey. Also on display was a T-6 Texan and 4 other warbirds.
More than 115,000 people flew in to Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport on casino-sponsored chartered flights in 2010, however, no larger established commercial airlines are currently utilizing the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport.
On April 9–10, 2011, Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport held the second annual "Legends Over The Colorado". The main attraction was "FIFI", the only flying B-29 in the world along with two P-51 Mustangs, a Japanese Zero, and several other World War II era warbirds.
On July 20, 2011 marked the grand opening of the new baggage claim building connected to the main terminal.
Rental car companies
The airport is home to three car rental companies: Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz.
Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport has one runway, measuring 7,500' X 150', and a taxiway measuring 7,500' X 75'.
In 2012, the process will begin for the runway to be extended another 1,000 feet to the south, for a total of 8,500 feet. Paid for by grants, actual site preparation will begin in 2013, and the date of completiion is set for some time in 2013.
IFP is a single runway airport. The FAA airport diagram can be seen in Appendix A at the end of the report. Runway 16/34 is 7,500 feet long and 150 feet wide and made of the asphalt that was recently reconstructed  (SkyVector, 2012). The FAA requires there to be 1000 feet reserved for the Runway Safety Area (RSA) at each end of a runway. Because of a road just north of the Runway, IFP had to move the end of the Runway 16 500 feet to the south resulting in the end of Runway 32 shifting 500 feet south (IFP Airport master plan, 2009). The 500 feet to begin Runway 32 is a displaced threshold making it only used for takeoffs.
There is a single taxiway that extends the entire length of the Runway. It is connected in six different places with six taxiways for departing or entering the Runway. A high speed taxiway is often used when landing to the north on Runway 34 as it leads directly to the Terminal Apron (IFP Airport master plan, 2009).
A rotating beacon is located on the north end of the Airport. The Runway and Taxiways are furnished with medium intensity lighting systems (MILS). Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL) are at the end of each runway, as well as lights showing the end of the threshold with green showing to approaching aircraft and red to aircraft on the Runway. Also for approaching aircraft, a Precision Approach Path Indicator system is used for both Runway 16 and 34. “Lighted airfield signs at [IFP] are located at aircraft hold positions, taxiway intersections, and at the intersection of the connecting taxiways and runways,” (IFP Airport master plan, 2009). There are also mandatory hold signs that tell the pilot to hold at each taxiway that connects to the runway. The medium intensity runway lighting can be turned on by a pilot clicking the radio transmission button in the cockpit. Airfield markings are also used to control the traffic efficiently on the ground. Runway 16/34 has centerline, threshold markings, aiming points, and runway designation markings. Taxiways have hold short markings before runway intersections and centerlines. The Airport’s aprons have centerlines to control traffic and designated tie down areas. A segmented circle is located close to the airport for visual reference on how a pilot should perform the traffic pattern for the Runway (IFP Airport master plan, 2009)
IFP has a couple features that allow pilots in the area be better informed of weather at the airport. Both of them provide accurate and up-to-date weather information. There are three lighted wind socks that show wind directions and approximate speed. Also, a new Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) was installed in 2007 and records weather data such as “wind speed, wind gusts, wind direction, variable wind direction, temperature, dew point, altimeter setting, density altitude, visibility, variable visibility, precipitation, sky condition, and cloud height,” (IFP Airport master plan, 2009). The AWOS data can be heard in an aircraft if the pilot tunes into 119.825 on the radio controls  (SkyVector, 2012).
There are three main navigational aids that assist pilots with navigation in the area. They include very high frequency omnidirectional range facilities (VOR), a Loran-C, and a global positioning system (GPS). These can only be used with properly equipped aircraft. Although IFP does not have a VOR on the field, there are three at airports nearby: Kingman VOR/DME (distance measuring equipment) is to the east, Needles VORTAC (military tactical air navigational aids) is to the south, and Goffs VORTAC is to the west. GPS does not need facilities on the ground for navigational guidance because it uses satellites orbiting the earth to triangulate the aircraft’s position. Loran-C basically works the same way as a GPS, but with ground-based facilities around the country. Therefore, IFP does not have any navigational aids on the Airport property (IFP Airport master plan, 2009).
IFP provides three instrument approaches. Runway 16 has a GPS approach. Runway 34 has a GPS approach and a VOR approach that uses the Needles VORTAC. The GPS approach provides vertical guidance as well as course (horizontal) guidance. The Needles VORTAC approach only gives pilots course guidance. Runway 34’s GPS approach provides the lowest minimums for the Airport. The FAA approach plate for this instrument approach is shown in Appendix B. The GPS LPV approach allows aircraft to come down to about 640 feet above ground level (AGL) (SkyVector, 2012). All landing traffic in VFR weather is kept to the west of the airfield. So, right turning traffic for Runway 16 and left turning traffic for Runway 34 (IFP Airport master plan, 2009). An airport traffic control tower is used to control traffic on the ground at IFP and in the vicinity. It is only operational from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Mountain Time, which is their local time zone. The control tower is stationed at about midfield on the east side. When the control tower is closed, area traffic uses the common traffic advisory frequency. If the airport is closed during instrument conditions, landing traffic are controlled by the Los Angeles air route traffic control facility (IFP Airport master plan, 2009).
There are numerous landside facilities at IFP. Each one of them aids the aircraft operations in some way. A terminal that has ticket sales, security screening, rental car services, and airport administration is located on the north side of the apron. It is connected to the departure holdroom by a covered walkway. Travelers can wait here for their departing flight can rest and wait for their flight comfortably. There are no actual gates. Passengers walk out to their planes for boarding from the holdroom. Both of those use a pair of parking lots that encompass about 400 parking spaces. An airport rescue and firefighting building holds a rescue/firefighting vehicle as well as other airport maintenance vehicles. There are also a charter bus loading area, a fuel far offering Jet A and 100LL, and 34 hangars ranging widely in sizes (IFP Airport master plan, 2009).
Airport fire department
In October 1991, Station 4 at the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport was opened and was manned full time by Bullhead City Fire Department. In 1997, the airport authority established its own fire department. There are six firefighters employed by the airport, and the station is manned twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. As of July 2011, a design is being completed for a newly constructed airport fire station. In September 2011, the Mohave County Airport Authority was awarded two airport improvement grants totaling $7.6 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. One of the grants is for construction of a new facility for aircraft rescue and fire fighting operations and purchase of a new fire truck.
Airlines and destinations
|Republic Airlines||Charter Flights: U.S. and Canada|
|Canadian North||Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto-Pearson|
|Sun Country Airlines||Charter Flights: U.S.|
|1||Minneapolis, MN||13,000||Sun Country|
|6||La Crosse, WI||1,000||-|
|7||Green Bay, WI||1,000||-|
|8||Eau Claire, WI||1,000||-|
- Tri State Care Flight
Fixed base operator
In popular culture
The airport is seen as the departing airport for a "Sierra Airlines" flight to Fresno in the opening scenes of the 2003 comedy film, View from the Top.
- FAA Airport Master Record for IFP ( PDF)
- "Laughlin-Bullhead International Airport". Laughlinbullheadintlairport.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Western Air Express (official site)
- "Photos: Boeing 747SP-31 Aircraft Pictures". Airliners.net. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "IFP - Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport". SkyVector. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "News & Press Releases". Laughlinbullheadintlairport.com. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Transtats.bts.gov. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
-  (Airport web site)
- Laughlin ~ Bullhead City International Airport (IFP) at Arizona DOT airport directory
- (PDF), effective December 12, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for IFP, effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: