What is happening at the Airport?

Work is mostly done, but there will be some closures either June 21st of June 26th to complete painting.  Check your NOTAMS.

The airport was slated for a major runway reconstruction in 2013-2014.  As part of that planned project, the FAA expressed the desire to move the parallel taxiway farther away from the runway to get closer to achieving the required safety standard separation required for Cessna Caravan-sized aircraft.  Additional analysis revealed that many other geometric aspects of the current airport layout and geometry do not meet the safety standards for Cessna Caravan-sized aircraft.  However, the airport is not officially designated and documented as a “Caravan-sized” airport with the FAA.  Therefore, the FAA decided that no major reconstruction should take place until an update is made to the official Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan.  Furthermore, the updates should focus on determining the critical aircraft, which is likely to be the Cessna Caravan used by Kenmore and FedEx (based on the criteria by which the FAA designates “Critical Aircraft”).  That process will take 1-2 years and follow-on projects are likely, at least, 3-7 years out.  As an interim measure, the airport is undertaking the execution of several small projects to shore-up existing infrastructure and extend its serviceable life.

As part of this project, which is expected to take 40 working days, all but a very small portion of newer pavement will be fog-sealed with an overlay after crack sealing is completed.  As such, all the airport markings will be repainted.  Several long-standing drainage issues are being reconciled as well.  Terminal downspout drains which were paved over will be connected to existing drain pipes.  Due to drainage issues and the proximity of the parallel taxiway, a taxiway and gate are being rebuilt to move that portion of fence line farther from the runway.  A problematic electric gate is being replaced with a cattle guard on Cessna Road.  A large drain metal drain pipe running under the ramp has deteriorated and the pavement is subsiding.  The pipe will be replaced with a larger pipe and the pavement repaired to prevent further settling.  Small portions with alligator cracking are also being replaced.  The parking lot and driveway near the UPS / Aeronautical Services area will be paved with asphalt.  Electrical service to three facilities is being consolidated to reduce ongoing meter charges and bring fiber to the terminal, which should also reduce ongoing telephone expenses.  In conjunction with that effort, automatic backup generator power for the terminal is being provided.   Portions of the Automated Weather Observation System that are no longer supported by the manufacture will be replaced.  Trees in the vicinity of the AWOS wind sensor were removed to ensure the wind sensor accuracy.  The fence in the vicinity of the AWOS is being moved to the property line.  Finally, the access road to the EMS helipad will be rebuilt wider, with gentler curves and a larger pad for turning and backing up to the helipad.

The construction contract is for $1,772,663.79.  The associated bidding and construction management consultant fee is $234,240.00.  The grand total maximum of the project is then $2,006,903.79.  Under an Airport Improvement Project grant, the FAA will reimburse 90% of the cost, up to $2,004,465.  A Washington State Department of Transportation grant was also awarded for $100,000.  Small portions of the project are not eligible for Federal or State funding, so actual reimbursement will be slightly less than 95% of the overall project cost.  The remainder is funded from the cash reserves of the Port, expected to be approximately $150,000.  The prime contractor is RAZZ construction who recently completed the work on the Deer Harbor Bridge and is also doing the work at the Orcas Landing.

Obstruction Removal Final Environmental Assessment

On February 22, 2017, the US DOT, FAA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for proposed Obstruction Removal at the Orcas Island Airport.  The proposed Obstruction Removal will remove vegetation within the visual approach surface to Runway 34 at the airport in Eastsound, WA.  The FONSI is posted at the airport terminal at 147 Schoen Ln and on the Port of Orcas website here: FONSI – Obstruction Removal EA – signed.  The report will be available for review for a minimum of 10 days.

Island Air Ambulance

Island Air Ambulance is a service of Island Air, a local company which has been providing aviation services to San Juan County for over 25 years.  Island Air recently created the Air Ambulance Membership Program as an affordable way for island residents and visitors to be sheltered from out-of-pocket costs that could be incurred from the flight portion of an emergency medical transport on one of their fixed-wing, air ambulance aircraft.  If you would like more information, please see their website at www.islandairambulance.com, call 360-378-2376 or email membership@islandairambulance.com


If you need a quart of oil (or 12) at Orcas, you can now buy it from your friendly airport manager.

  • $10/quart for Aeroshell 80W or 100W
  • $8/quart for Phillips X/C 20W50

Tax included.

Biplane, the Sequel!


Bikes for free use (donations encouraged)

  • We have bikes for use free of charge near the fuel pumps.  The last 4 of our CTAF will open the lock.  Please take the lock with you and use it…and bring the bike and the lock back.  If you like these bikes, donations are accepted in the fee boxes or the Port office.  We don’t have helmets but encourage you to use one.

Annotated Nautical Chart of Island Flying References

San Juans (Annotated) Nautical Chart pdf

Phone-Sized Ferry Schedule

I put this here because I think some visitors to this website might appreciate a “cut-down” version of the ferry schedule that can be read easily on a phone.  This is why I started making it in the first place.



The next regular meeting of the Port of Orcas Commission is Thursday, July 11th, 2017 at 4:30 PM in the terminal conference room.

Need Power!!

— We now have a small 12/24V GPU (with both alligator clamps and a NATO plug) for “jump-starting” an airplane.  Stop by or call the office when needed.  After hours, call the Airport Manager’s Cell phone (the number is on my business card which is in a dispenser by the conference room door).  Based on the limitations of our insurance, use is at your own risk.

New and Noteworthy:

If you have airport pictures you would be willing to share, please email them to me at orcasairport@rockisland.com.