Each month we will be highlighting an airstrip that the RAF has had an impact on. We hope that you will get out and enjoy these airstrips. This month’s Featured Airstrip is Alton Bay in NH.

When winter comes to New England, the seaplane base at Alton Bay, (B18) on Lake Winnepausakee starts to freeze. Local volunteers watch it closely for an ice thickness of 12 inches – the magic number that triggers contact with the NHDOT Aeronautical Division. This is normally late January or early February. Once NHDOT gives the green light, volunteers plow a  2600′ x 100′ ice runway and adjoining taxiway and parking area. Using their own trucks, they are funded only for breakdowns and fuel. Items such as runway markers and signs are hand-me-downs from other airports. 

This is where the RAF and other organizations such as the New Hampshire Pilots Association stepped in. Amidst cuts in state funding, RAF NH State Liaison John Meade applied for, and received, a RAF grant to partially fund the ice base. 

Alton Bay is the only public approved ice runway in the lower 48 states. Hotels, restaurants and stores are located on an adjoining shore.

This airstrip is open for public use, but pilots must confirm that ice conditions are suitable before planning a visit. A recorded message regarding ice conditions is available on the phone line of Airport Manager Paul LaRochelle: 603-875-3498.

Submitted on January 4, 2018

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