Mineral Wells Regional Airport – Mineral Wells, Texas

June 27, 2024
Mineral Wells Regional Airport - Mineral Wells, Texas

Mineral Wells Regional Airport

A Strategic Aviation Hub Poised for Growth


Propelling economic development and preparing for a future of expanded aviation services and infrastructure

Though primarily a general aviation facility, Mineral Wells Regional Airport serves as a crucial hub for the local Mineral Wells, Texas, community, and beyond. Its designation as a “regional” airport in 2018 is part of an ambitious growth vision. Currently, it boasts two runways: one nearly 6,000 feet and another just just under 4,200 feet, catering to a mix of jet traffic and general aviation.

“Last fiscal year, we wrapped up with 24,800 operations,” says Haley Cuevas, the Airport Manager. “That’s a significant jump from last year’s 19,000 operations, marking a 20% increase. We’re thrilled about the growth, especially in jet traffic.” This growth is reflected in their fuel sales, with 230,000 gallons of Jet A and 75,000 gallons of Avgas sold last year.

Cuevas elaborates on the operations, highlighting the airport’s role as the Fixed Base Operator (FBO). ” We provide fuel for all airport operations and all airfield maintenance. Right now, we have six employees managing everything from airfield upkeep to mowing and minor repairs.” The hands-on approach extends to most maintenance tasks, with city electricians stepping in for more complex repairs.

The airport operates from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., with staff available seven days a week. “We’re always ready to assist, even outside regular hours,” Cuevas adds. The ease of access and full-service amenities position Mineral Wells Regional Airport as a critical player in the region’s aviation landscape.

Master Plan and Upcoming Upgrades

Mineral Wells Regional Airport is focusing on current operations and making strides in long-term development. Cuevas describes an ongoing project that will significantly enhance services.

She highlights the airport’s nearly completed master plan. “We’re about 80 to 85% done with our master plan. Garver is handling it, and they’ve finished all the draft portions. The next steps involve creating the draft Airport Layout Plan (ALP) and an open house to present to our Airport Advisory Board, project steering committee, and the public.”

Cuevas’s excitement is evident as she talks about the potential this master plan holds. “The land use plan Garver came up with is incredible. Despite the property’s unusual geometry, it doubles our current hangar space and efficiently uses all our available land. I’ve worked with Garver at different airports, and their quality and service have always impressed me.”

The planned open house, scheduled within the next four to six weeks, will give the public a glimpse of the future. Cuevas can’t wait to showcase the expanded possibilities. “We have 70 hangars—60 T-hangars and ten small box hangars. But the new drawings show various sizes and configurations to meet different needs, from corporate manufacturers to individual T-hangars.”

Cuevas notes that this expansion is vital, especially considering the last airport layout plan implemented in 2004. “It’s thrilling to see the master plan align with the growth happening in Parker and Palo Pinto counties. The foresight and adaptability of the new plan are fascinating.”


Economic Impact through Strategic Leasing

Alongside this master plan, Mineral Wells Regional Airport is positioning itself as a catalyst for local economic development by targeting strategic leasing opportunities.

“We’re particularly eager to bring in a maintenance shop,” says Cuevas, emphasizing the gap left by the retirement of Mr. Weir, who had been a fixture on the airfield for 40 years. “Without an on-site mechanic, attracting more aircraft is challenging, as we can’t offer a full-service experience right now.”

The airport’s rich history includes being a hub for airplane autopilot manufacturing. Cuevas explains, “Around 10 to 20 years ago, 80% of all airplane autopilots were made here at Mineral Wells Airport by companies like S-TEC, Century Flight Systems, and Cool City Electronics.” Genesys AeroSystems, formerly S-TEC and now part of Moog Inc., remains a significant tenant. “Genesys AeroSystems is one of our largest tenants, focusing on business-to-business sales and flight-testing experimental autopilots,” she adds.

The airport also hosts two flight schools, each catering to different types of learners. “One school is more for hobbyists, offering flexible, at-your-own-pace classes, while the other is more intensive timeline, currently with 40 active students,” Cuevas says. Blue Skies Aero and Brazos River Aviation Group (BRAG) Flight, schools contribute to the airport’s bustling activity. Horizon Aircraft Services, owned by the same group as BRAG Flight, manages aircraft, mainly jets, based at the airport.

In addition to these educational ventures, the airport is home to a machine shop, an antenna manufacturer, and an air clutch repair business just off the property. Cuevas highlights the diversity of these tenants, which collectively enhance the region’s economic fabric.

Reflecting on Genesys AeroSystems, Cuevas notes, “The company has gone through several iterations, from S-TEC to Genesys S-TEC, and now officially Genesys AeroSystems, a Moog Inc. company. We still refer to them as Genesys AeroSystems, and they continue to grow and innovate in the aerospace sector.”

Synergy with City Development and Tourism

The symbiotic relationship between Mineral Wells Regional Airport and the city’s development plans is driving a new wave of growth. Cuevas passionately advocates reserving airport land for aviation-related businesses.

“We are a very team-aviation industry here. Utilizing our space for businesses that need access to runways and taxiways is essential. The city supports this vision, which is crucial for our long-term growth,” she explains.

The city’s recent comprehensive plan dovetails with the airport’s master plan, creating a unified growth strategy. ” The City, Parks and Rec, and the Airport are all aligning our goals,” Cuevas shares. Mineral Wells is embracing its identity as a health and wellness retreat destination, capitalizing on the healing waters and the reopening of the Crazy Water Hotel, and the Baker Hotel opening soon, we expect an influx of recreational and corporate travelers who fly privately.”

Cuevas also highlights the airport’s role in accommodating these visitors. “People attending retreats or corporate events can fly directly here, eliminating the need to commute from other towns. The revitalized Downtown Mineral Wells, designated on the Texas Historical Commission’s “Texas Main Street” map, also benefits from this increased accessibility.”

The alignment of the City and Airport goals is bolstered by strong support from local leadership. “We’re fortunate that the City Council, The Mayor, and The City Manager recognize the airport’s value. Not every city has this level of support,” Cuevas notes. This unified approach sets the stage for significant growth once the master plan is completed.

Cuevas also points out the airport’s unique geographical positioning, which spans Parker and Palo Pinto counties. “Half of our airport is in Parker County and the other in Palo Pinto County, yet it’s all city-owned. Parker County has realized there isn’t likely to be a new public airport in Weatherford, so they’re investing in our airport instead,” she says. This has led to active collaboration with Parker County’s economic development team.


Infrastructure and Immediate Upgrades

While the master plan outlines long-term aspirations, Mineral Wells Regional Airport is also focusing on more immediate enhancements. Cuevas highlights the most immediate project:

“We’re currently working on installing a self-serve Avgas system. This project is part of our capital improvement plan, aligning our financial resources with our master plan goals to efficiently use the funds we receive from the state and the city.”

One of the airport’s historical assets includes a large helipad area. Cuevas explains, “Every Huey pilot trained for Vietnam here. We still have the schoolhouse, maintenance hangar, and parking pad, which originally accommodated 150 small helicopters. This 40-acre concrete area is a significant draw for potential tenants because the groundwork is already in place. It’s located on the east side of the airport, away from main tenant traffic, making it ideal for large manufacturers.”

Reflecting on a recent opportunity, Cuevas shares, “We were in the running for a company looking to build a 700,000-square-foot facility. Though we finished second, being considered against a major city in the DFW area was a significant achievement.”

The helipad area includes an 40,000 -square-foot maintenance hangar and an additional 24,000-square-feet schoolhouse, both available for lease. “These structures are very robust, with good bones, and need some improvements,” Cuevas notes. “Anything from the old military base is exceptionally strong and structurally sound, much like our runways, which are massive due to their military origins.”

Discussing recent improvements, Cuevas says, “In 2019, we undertook a major rehabilitation project. This included resurfacing, painting our runways, and relocating and extending taxiways A, D, and B. The extension project has significantly enhanced our runway capacity.”

Addressing the ongoing pilot shortage, Cuevas adds, “Many pilots come here for cross-country tests due to our sturdy, long runways, which provide a safe environment for young pilots. The alternate runway also offers an additional layer of safety. We have no plans to shut down the second runway, ensuring continued support for flight training and other operations.”

Future Priorities and Expansion

As Mineral Wells Regional Airport gears up for the future, several key priorities and projects are on the horizon. Cuevas envisions significant changes in the next year.

“In the next 8 to 12 months, the land options out here will change drastically. We are welcoming and encouraging growth, and the city is very willing to work with companies that want to move here,” she says. This proactive stance highlights the city’s recognition of aviation as a critical driver of economic growth.

Mineral Wells is also integrating the airport into its broader economic strategy. “The city’s comprehensive plan identifies four main pillars for economic growth, and the airport is one of them. Incredibly, they understand and appreciate aviation’s role. I don’t have to convince the council every week about the importance of these investments,” Cuevas explains.

Among the immediate priorities is updating the airport’s vehicle fleet. Cuevas states, “We’re trying to get a new Avgas truck and possibly a new jet truck. Updating our vehicles will help improve our service speed.” Enhancing the airport’s operational efficiency is crucial in accommodating increasing traffic and ensuring a seamless experience for users.

Cuevas concludes by emphasizing the importance of the upcoming land plan. “Once the land plan is available, the new land options will be significant,” she notes. These developments are set to transform the airport’s capabilities, providing ample space for new businesses and expanding existing ones.

With the master plan nearing completion and an open house scheduled to showcase plans, Mineral Wells Regional Airport is poised for substantial growth. The strategic alignment between the airport and the city’s economic goals creates a robust foundation for these initiatives, promising a thriving future for the airport and the community it serves.


Mineral Wells Regional Airport

What: General aviation airport focusing on strategic growth and economic development

Where: Mineral Wells, Texas

Website: www.mineralwellsairport.com


Genesys Aerosystems – Genesys-Aerosystems.com

Genesys Aerosystems is a leading provider of integrated avionics systems for military and civil customers including EFIS glass cockpits, airborne radio solutions, and autopilots for fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft. Genesys’ avionics are offered individually and integrated to provide an entire cockpit solution.

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