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Colorado Air and Space Port

Coordinates: 39°47′07″N 104°32′35″W / 39.78528°N 104.54306°W / 39.78528; -104.54306
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(Redirected from Front Range Airport)

Colorado Air and Space Port
Central blue circle with two white lines and the airport name in an outer ring
Airport typePublic
OwnerAdams County
OperatorColorado Air and Space Port
ServesDenver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area
LocationAdams County, Colorado
Elevation AMSL5,515 ft / 1,681 m
Coordinates39°47′07″N 104°32′35″W / 39.78528°N 104.54306°W / 39.78528; -104.54306
CFO is located in Colorado
Location of airport in Colorado / United States
CFO is located in the United States
CFO (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
8/26 8,002 2,439 Asphalt
17/35 8,000 2,438 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Aircraft operations75,647
Based aircraft292
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[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
An aircraft getting stripped of paint in preparation for maintenance at Colorado Air and Space Port
A view of the entrance to Colorado Air and Space Port

Colorado Air and Space Port (ICAO: KCFO, FAA LID: CFO), formerly known as Front Range Airport, is a public airport located in unincorporated Adams County, Colorado, in the United States, adjacent to Aurora and six miles (9.7 km) southeast of Denver International Airport (ICAO: KDEN, FAA LID: DEN). 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]

Colorado Air and Space Port ICAO/FAA identifiers are KCFO/CFO. The airport has no IATA designation.[3]

Colorado Air and Space Port is a small general aviation airport, although increased demand has warranted several expansion programs in recent years. 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.[4] The application was approved on August 17, 2018, and announced on August 20, 2018.[5]



Front Range Airport (ICAO: KFTG, FAA LID: FTG) opened in 1984 when the now demolished Stapleton International Airport (ICAO: KDEN, FAA LID: DEN) was the major air hub for the Denver metropolitan area. 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.[6] After 19 years as airport director, Dennis Heap and the airport board parted ways in August 2013.[7] Heap was replaced in the late spring of 2014 by Dave Ruppel.[8] The airport was originally owned by the Front Range Airport Authority (FRAA), continuing until January 1, 2014, when the FRAA was dissolved and the airport and all employees were folded into Adams County government as a department. Since then, the airport has seen a 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.

Facilities and aircraft


Colorado Air and Space Port covers an area of 3,349 acres (1,355 ha) which contains two asphalt paved runways, 8/26 is 8,002 ft x 100 ft (2,439 x 30 m) and 17/35, measuring 8,000 by 100 ft (2,438 by 30 m).[1]

For the 12-month ending December 31, 2019, the airport had 75,647 aircraft operations, an average of 207 per day: 98.5% general aviation, <1% air taxi and 1.4% military. There was at the time 292 aircraft based at this airport: 247 single-engine, 38 multi-engine, 4 helicopters, 1 ultralight, and 2 jet aircraft.[9]

The airport also hosts an armory belonging to the Colorado Army National Guard. HHC, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group is based there. There are no military aircraft based at the airport.

Spaceport proposal


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).[10] 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 the 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."[10]

Media sources in 2012 suggested that the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser spaceplane might be used for suborbital spaceflights and that Colorado Air and Space Port might prove to be the preferred location, over Spaceport America in New Mexico.[11] News reports indicated that the Colorado Air and Space Port proposal was gaining traction with political interests at the state and federal levels as well as with industry participants.[12] One of those commercial interests was XCOR Aerospace, which was considering Spaceport Colorado as a candidate for HTHL operations with their Lynx rocketplane.[12] 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[13]) offered to XCOR by the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) and the Midland City Council.[14]

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."[12]

Spanish architect Luis Vidal produced an architectural concept for the new airport in 2013.[15]

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.[16]

The spaceport designation was approved in 2018.[5]

In December 2020, Japanese aerospace company PD AeroSpace signed an agreement with the Air and Space Port that paves the way toward test flights of high-altitude planes above the plains east of Aurora.[17]

In October 2022 plans for Port Colorado, an industrial mixed-use development spanning 6,500 acres adjacent to Colorado Air and Space Port, were reported.[18]

See also



  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Form 5010 for FTG PDF, effective September 7, 2023
  2. ^ a b Colorado Air and Space Port (official site)
  3. ^ "KCFO - Denver [Colorado Air and Space Port Airport], CO, US - Airport - Great Circle Mapper". gc.kls2.com.
  4. ^ Avery, Greg (December 7, 2011). "Colorado officials eye spaceport at Front Range Airport".
  5. ^ a b "Colorado just got approval for a spaceport. Here's what that actually means". Congressman Ed Perlmutter. August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Front Range Airport Air Traffic Control Tower, Aurora - SkyscraperPage.com".
  7. ^ "Front Range Airport Executive Director Departs". Parabolic Arc. August 25, 2013.
  8. ^ "Front Range Airport Executive Director Departs". Parabolic Arc. August 25, 2013.
  9. ^ "Airport Data and Information Portal".
  10. ^ a b Schrader, Ann (December 18, 2011). "Economic potential of proposed Colorado spaceport "another star in our sky"". Denver Post. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ a b c David, Leonard (May 23, 2012). "Potential Colorado Spaceport Plan Gaining Steam". Space.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  13. ^ Petty, Kathleen (July 9, 2012). "Midland, Texas ideal destinations for aviation industry, officials say". Midland Reporter-Telegram.
  14. ^ Carreau, Mark (July 10, 2012). "XCOR Selects West Texas For Suborbital, Orbital R&D Hub". Aviation Week. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  15. ^ Hill, David (June 21, 2013). "AIA 2013: America's Next Aviation Frontier". Architectural Record. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  16. ^ "Reaction Engines Begins Construction of High-Temperature Airflow Test Facility in Colorado" (Press release). Watkins, Colorado: Reaction Engines Limited. December 18, 2017. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Stringer, Grant; Writer, Staff (December 2, 2020). "Japanese aerospace company makes partnership commitment to Colorado Air and Space Port". Sentinel Colorado. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  18. ^ "Port Colorado aims to bring 6,500 acres of industrial, mixed-use development to Aurora". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved October 24, 2022.