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Rooks County Regional Airport (RCP) – Stockton, KS

Northern Kansas Dedicates New General Aviation Airport

General aviation (GA) operators gained a new access point in north-central Kansas: Rooks County Regional Airport (RCP), which was dedicated Sept. 29. The $6 million infrastructure project, funded in part by a Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program grant, involved constructing a 5,000-foot paved runway on a site that lies between the cities of Plainville and Stockton. Two turf runways previously served the two cities.

The investment marks the first new airport built in Kansas since 1989, said Roger Hrabe, director of the Rooks County Economic Development Commission, adding that it opens up the area to new services and business.

“This is the kind of development that brings value to the local community,” added Steve Hadley, NBAA director of regional programs. “For communities in areas like those in Rooks County, which don’t have direct access to commercial aviation, it’s important to provide access to a business aviation industry and its global market, which is essential to their economies, as well as to the execution of time-critical medical and emergency services.”

The new runway was commissioned precisely to bring those benefits to Rooks County, said Hrabe. The previously existing turf runways had been used mainly by recreational fliers and agricultural spray operations; the aircraft a local bank kept there was “kind of the exception,” he said.

The new runway’s 30,000-pound limit and approximately 230-by-480-foot parking apron will allow larger business aircraft, including the fixed-wing aircraft that the Rooks County Health Center will use to fly in health-care specialists. In addition, the new facility will make it easier for local companies, such as a high-end furniture design firm, to travel to and receive visits from business partners in other parts of the country and around the world.

The runway, active since April, already has attracted more GA traffic: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback flew down for the dedication in a Learjet 45, said Hrabe.

In addition to connections by air, the county airport also links up to highway infrastructure. The runway is situated just off Highway 183, the major north-south connector between Interstate 70 to the south, which connects Kansas City and Topeka to Denver, and Interstate 80 to the north, which runs across Nebraska.

The county also has constructed a fuel facility and a hangar on the airport. Future plans include adding a terminal building, for which Hrabe said a design is being considered and they’ve applied for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant, and a parallel taxiway.