Colorado Air and Space Port

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Front Range Airport
Front Range Airport logo.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerFront Range Airport Authority
ServesDenver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area
Elevation AMSL5,512 ft / 1,680 m
Coordinates39°47′07″N 104°32′35″W / 39.78528°N 104.54306°W / 39.78528; -104.54306Coordinates: 39°47′07″N 104°32′35″W / 39.78528°N 104.54306°W / 39.78528; -104.54306
FTG is located in Colorado
Location of airport in Colorado / United States
FTG is located in the United States
FTG (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
8/26 8,000 2,438 Asphalt
17/35 8,000 2,438 Asphalt
Statistics (2005)
Aircraft operations94,625
Based aircraft396
Source: FAA[1] and airport's web site[2]
Main offices and terminal at Colorado Air and Space Port
Interior view of the main offices and terminal facilities at Colorado Air and Space Port
Interior view of the main offices and terminal facilities at Colorado Air and Space Port
A view of the entrance to Colorado Air and Space Port

Colorado Air and Space Port (ICAO: KFTG, FAA LID: FTG), formerly known as Front Range Airport, is a public airport located in unincorporated Adams County, Colorado, in the United States, three miles (4.8 km) southeast of Denver International Airport. It was owned by the Front Range Airport Authority, until January 2014 when the airport and all its employees merged with Adams County and became its own department. Colorado Air and Space Port serves the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area.[1] The postal designation of Watkins, a nearby unincorporated community, is used in the airport's mailing address.[2]

Although many U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, Colorado Air and Space Port is assigned FTG by the FAA but has no designation from the IATA.[3]

Colorado Air and Space Port 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.[4] Currently, the airport serves as the base of a few flying schools, flight clubs, maintenance services, and air rescue training facilities. 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. It is also popular among owners and pilots of kit-built aircraft, and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has a very strong presence at Colorado Air and Space Port, which frequently hosts the EAA Young Eagles Rallies.

In 2011, the State of Colorado applied to the FAA to certify Colorado Air and Space Port as a spaceport.[5] The application was approved on August 17, 2018, and announced on August 20, 2018.[6]


After 19 years as airport director, Dennis Heap and the airport board parted ways in August 2013. Heap was replaced in the late spring of 2014 by Dave Ruppel. Shortly afterwards, the Front Range Airport Authority was dissolved and the airport and all employees were folded into[clarification needed] Adams County on January 1, 2014. Since then, the airport has seen marked improvement in general aviation, air-taxi, military traffic as well as other air based businesses, Such as the helicopter-based businesses of Air Methods. As well as [7][needs update]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Colorado Air and Space Port covers an area of 3,980 acres (1,610 ha) which contains two asphalt paved runways, 8/26 and 17/35, each measuring 8,000 by 100 ft (2,438 by 30 m).[1]

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.[1]

The airport also hosts an armory belonging to the Colorado Army National Guard. HHC, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group is based there.

Spaceport proposal[edit]

In October 2011, the Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, formally requested that the federal government designate Colorado a "spaceport state" and that the airport be designated a spaceport for suborbital horizontal takeoff flights (HTVL and HTHL).[8] Spaceport designation would allow a facility offering suborbital tourism, travel, and cargo transport from one point to another on Earth. The Denver Post reported that, "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."[8]

Media sources have suggested that the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser spaceplane may be used for suborbital spaceflights and that Colorado Air and Space Port may prove to be the preferred location, over Spaceport America in New Mexico.[9]

As of May 2012, news reports indicate that the Colorado Air and Space Port proposal is gaining traction with political interests at the state and federal level as well as with industry participants.[10] One of those commercial interests was XCOR Aerospace, which was considering Spaceport Colorado as a candidate for HTHL operations with their Lynx rocketplane.[10] However, XCOR announced in July 2012 that they would be moving their company headquarters and research and development activities to Texas, in part due to a significant set of financial incentives (US$10,000,000[11]) offered to XCOR by the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) and the Midland City Council.[12]

As of April 2012, Colorado state law "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."[10]

Spanish architect Luis Vidal produced an architectural concept for the new airport in 2013.[13]

In December 2017, British aerospace company Reaction Engines began construction of a test facility at Colorado Air and Space Port for the development of its SABRE air-breathing rocket engine.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for FTG (Form 5010 PDF), effective July 5, 2007
  2. ^ a b Colorado Air and Space Port (official site)
  3. ^ Great Circle Mapper: KFTG – Denver, Colorado (Front Range Airport)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Avery, Greg (December 7, 2011). "Colorado officials eye spaceport at Front Range Airport".
  6. ^ "Colorado just got approval for a spaceport. Here's what that actually means". Congressman Ed Perlmutter. August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  7. ^ "Front Range Airport Executive Director Departs". Parabolic Arc. August 25, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Schrader, Ann (December 18, 2011). "Economic potential of proposed Colorado spaceport "another star in our sky"". Denver Post. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  9. ^ "Plan B for Dream Chaser?". RLV and Space Transport News. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on July 26, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c David, Leonard (May 23, 2012). "Potential Colorado Spaceport Plan Gaining Steam". Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  11. ^ a $10 million economic development deal
  12. ^ Carreau, Mark (July 10, 2012). "XCOR Selects West Texas For Suborbital, Orbital R&D Hub". Aviation Week. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  13. ^ Hill, David (June 21, 2013). "AIA 2013: America's Next Aviation Frontier". Architectural Record. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  14. ^ "Reaction Engines Begins Construction of High-Temperature Airflow Test Facility in Colorado" (Press release). Watkins, Colorado: Reaction Engines Limited. December 18, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2018.

External links[edit]