Paso Robles Municipal Airport

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Paso Robles Municipal Airport
Estrella Army Airfield
Aerial photo of KPRB, July 2007
Airport type Public
Owner City of Paso Robles
Operator City of Paso Robles & FAA
Serves Paso Robles Regional Area
Location Paso Robles, California
Elevation AMSL 839 ft / 256 m
Coordinates 35°40′22″N 120°37′37″W / 35.67278°N 120.62694°W / 35.67278; -120.62694Coordinates: 35°40′22″N 120°37′37″W / 35.67278°N 120.62694°W / 35.67278; -120.62694
KPRB is located in California
Location of Paso Robles Municipal Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
01/19 6,008 1,831 Asphalt
13/31 4,701 1,433 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 100 30 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Aircraft Operations 34,250
Based Aircraft 305

Paso Robles Municipal Airport (IATA: PRB, ICAO: KPRB, FAA LID: PRB) is a public airport four miles (6 km) northeast of downtown Paso Robles, in San Luis Obispo County, California. This general aviation airport is owned by City of Paso Robles.[1]


Paso Robles Municipal Airport covers 1,300 acres (5.3 km²) and has two runways and one helipad:

  • Runway 1/19: 6,008 x 150 ft (1,831 x 46 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Runway 13/31: 4,701 x 100 ft (1,433 x 30 m), Surface: Asphalt
  • Helipad H1: 100 x 100 ft (30 x 30 m), Surface: Asphalt


The Paso Robles Municipal Airport is a 1,300-acre (530 ha) site about 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of downtown Paso Robles. Built in 1943 as the Estrella Army Air Field, it saw little military activity during the War, but its advent paved the way for the future of aviation in the area. Sherwood Field, a few miles to the south, played a more colorful role in the beginnings of aviation in northern San Luis Obispo County. Pacific Seaboard Air Lines was the first airline to serve Paso Robles. In 1933, Pacific Seaboard was operating two daily round trip flights with single engine Bellanca CH-300 aircraft on an intrastate routing of Los Angeles - Santa Barbara - Santa Maria - San Luis Obispo - Paso Robles - Monterey - Salinas - San Jose - San Francisco.[2] Pacific Seaboard would subsequently move its entire operation to the eastern U.S., be renamed Chicago and Southern Air Lines, become a large domestic and international air carrier and then in 1953 be acquired by and merged into Delta Air Lines thus providing Delta with its first international routes.[3]

On September 3, 1942 construction began on the Airfield, to be used as a Marine Corps Bomber Base. On April 8, 1943, the field was dedicated as Estrella Army Airfield to be used by the Army Air Corps. Estrella Army Airfield had 1259 acres of land, two 4,700-foot-long (1,400 m) runways, an operations building and a three-bay fire station. The Marine Corps Units occupied buildings to the west, across Airport Road in what is now the California Youth Authority. On August 29, 1947 the Federal Government transferred 1,057 acres (4.28 km2) to the County of San Luis Obispo to be used as a commercial airport, and 202 acres (0.82 km2) and buildings to the State of California to be used as a correctional facility.

After the county's acquisition of the airfield, the County of San Luis Obispo extended runway 01/19 from 4,700 feet (1,400 m) to 6,009 feet (1,832 m); installed high intensity lights; and built a large hangar, ten T-Hangars and a terminal building between 1949 and 1952. In 1956 airline flights operated by Southwest Airways commenced with Martin 4-0-4 propliners. Southwest Airways then changed its name to Pacific Air Lines which later served Paso Robles with Fairchild F-27 turboprops to Los Angeles, San Francisco and other California cities. In 1968 Pacific Air Lines merged with Bonanza Air Lines and West Coast Airlines to form Air West which continued to serve the airport with F-27 propjets. In 1970 Air West was renamed Hughes Airwest which continued to serve Paso Robles with F-27s until 1974. Pacific, Air West and Hughes Airwest all listed the city of San Luis Obispo in their respective timetables as being served via the Paso Robles Airport.[4][5]

Passenger flights returned to Paso Robles when SkyWest Airlines flying as the Delta Connection established an operations base at the airfield flying Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia and Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner propjets with service to several California cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Fresno. However, this business plan proved not to be viable and SkyWest then withdrew from Paso Robles. Several commuter airlines such as Golden Carriage Air and Eagle Airlines served Paso Robles with small aircraft during the late 1970s but none proved to be successful operating scheduled passenger service.[6]

After the termination of airline flights by Hughes Airwest at the airport in 1974, the county, in an effort to rid its rolls of excess property, sold the former air base to the City of Paso Robles for $1.00. At that time the County was unable to derive enough income to support the cost of running the airport, and the former Estrella Army Air Force Base then became the town's municipal airport. After Estrella Field was transferred to the City of Paso Robles in 1974, industrial and General aviation development has seen astonishing growth. After the airfield was turned over for civilian use it was named Archie Dean Field, but soon acquired its current name of Paso Robles Municipal. The City of Paso Robles subdivided unused land into 81 parcels for commercial development. The City formed an all-volunteer Fire, Crash and Rescue Department to serve the airport and the surrounding area. The City took over the water wells and the sewer treatment plant from the State to serve both the Airport and the Youth Authority.

Current operations[edit]

Currently there are no commercial passenger airline flights at the airport, however there are private charter flights. As mentioned above, Hughes Airwest dropped Paso Robles in the early 1974 and a later attempt by SkyWest to serve Paso Robles was unsuccessful. Although Paso Robles Airport does not have scheduled passenger flights they have many business aviation operations, in addition to serving as a general aviation base. The California Department of Forestry (CalFire) has an Air Attack Base at the airport for major fire protection for three counties (San Luis Obispo, Kern and Monterey) and the 5,800,000 acres (23,000 km2) of wildland area in this part of Central California. At the base, aircraft are loaded with fire retardant chemicals, such as Phos chek, which are dropped on brush and forest fires. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Air Operations Division house a fixed wing aircraft, used for speed enforcement, as well as a helicopter, used for search and rescue missions in the area. This local Air Operations Division also provides a variety of search, patrol and enforcement services for the local communities. The airport also serves as a support facility for three local military installations; Camp Roberts, Fort Hunter-Liggett, and Camp San Luis Obispo. In addition to these fixed operators, many military, air charter, corporate, air ambulance, and other flying services operate from the airport.

On June 8, 2014, the US Air Force successfully landed a C-17 Globemaster III heavy cargo transport aircraft at the field, proving that it can support military transport to and from Camp Roberts, some 15 miles (24 km) away.[7][8]

The area surrounding the Paso Robles Airport, known as Airport Road Industrial Park, is home to many aviation maintenance providers and facilities, as well as many aviation parts manufacturers and other related businesses. Under the City’s direction, sections of the industrial park have been developed with utilities and infrastructure improvements. Aircraft hangar and aviation service facilities have been constructed. In 1973, there were just four businesses employing 22 people on the airport. Today, there is just over 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of industrial building space in operation on the airport, now housing nearly 50 individual businesses, and providing over 700 jobs in the community. The number of aircraft based at the airport has grown from 55 at the time of City acquisition in 1973 to around 220, today. Being halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco the airport has a service area of over 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2) in northern San Luis Obispo and southern Monterey counties.

Future expansion[edit]

Phase 2 (2008-2012)[edit]

  • Install Instrument Landing System (ILS) for Runway 19.
  • Install Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System with Runway Alignment Indicator Lights (MALSR) for Runway 19.
  • Rebuild the defunct Taxiway 'G' East of Runway 13-31.
  • Extend Runway 01-19 1,200 feet to the northeast and 1,000 feet (300 m) to the southwest.
  • Extend Taxiway 'A' 1,200 feet (370 m) to the northeast and2,800 feet (850 m) to the southwest to parallel and the extensions of Runway 01.
  • High Intensity Runway Lights (HIRL) for Runway 01/19.
  • Construct blast pad on Runway 19.

Phase 3 (2013-2020)[edit]

  • Extend Runway 13-31 1,700 feet to the Northwest, providing a total Runway length of 6,400 x 100 ft (30 m). (retain width).
  • Construct/provide Runway 13-31 a parallel taxiway and entry/exit taxiway.
  • Construct blast pads on Runway(s) 01, 13, and 31.
  • Extend Taxiway 'D' to the East to parallel taxiway for Runway 13-31.

Fixed-base operators[edit]

Other airport businesses[edit]

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for PRB (Form 5010 PDF)
  2. ^, Summer 1933 Pacific Seaboard Air Lines system timetable
  3. ^, Chicago and Southern (C&S) Air Lines
  4. ^, April 28, 1968 Pacific Air Lines system timetable & July 1, 1968 Air West system timetable
  5. ^, July 1, 1972 Hughes Airwest system timetable
  6. ^, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Paso Robles flight scheduled
  7. ^ Cossel, Benjamin (13 June 2014). "Big plane lands on small runway". Air Mobility Command. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]