High Country Association of REALTORS News

Ashe County airport getting longer, better

Ashe County has an airport small enough to be convenient for occasional flyers with their own planes, and large enough for some corporate aircraft to regularly hit its asphalt. To better serve both, the country recently decided to invest some money in improvements to the mountain runway, including adding some length.

Ashe County airportThe airstrip, which runs east-to-west, currently spans more than 4,200 feet in length. When completed, the runway will stretch more than 5,000 feet, and enhance safety for pilots landing and taking off.

“We’ll be able to accommodate a wider variety and larger aircraft,” said Ashe County Airport Manager Eric Payne. ...

The extra length will also improve the safety of pilots and their aircraft during takeoff and landing. Payne said the airport’s altitude, in conjunction with heat during the summer months, effectively makes the air thinner and reduces lift. Conditions resulting from high-density altitude make a longer runway welcome.

“Right now, we can get around that by taking off and landing in the mornings, or just after sunset, when temps have started to cool down,” said Payne. “But when it’s hot, it’s comparable to taking off from Denver, Colo.”

The airports of the High Country are well used (both Watauga and Avery counties also have one). They're another amenity of High Country living, having a safe runway to touchdown when returning from a business trip or a brief flyaround to clear the mind.

The Ashe County airport is located about three miles east of Jefferson, where there are more than 90 opportunities to take off and Live the Dream in the High Country of North Carolina.