FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Oceanside Airport
Q: What is the Oceanside Airport Association?
A: The Oceanside Airport Association (OAA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public-benefit California Corporation and a local chapter of the California Pilot’s Association (CPA). We support preservation of the Oceanside Airport (ICAO Airport identifier KOKB) through education and communication. We accept membership from pilots and non-pilots interested in supporting aviation in Oceanside. We are a resource for pilots, the public, the press and city government. We encourage calls from the community on subjects related to general aviation and the Oceanside Airport. Volunteering for the OAA is a community service and donations are tax deductible.
Q: Where is the Oceanside Airport located?
A: The Oceanside Airport is located 2 miles east of the Interstate 5 and Highway 76 intersection, on the north side of Highway 76 and Airport Road. Please see the Visitors page for more information.
Q: How can I get involved?
A:Become and member and fill one of the many volunteer positions. Become a member by filling out a membership application you can print from our Join page. Then volunteer for one of our committees you can read about by going to our Committees link.
Q: What benefits does Oceanside Airport bring to our community?
A(1): Local Education.
You can learn about aviation at the airport. The EAA’s Young Eagles program and the OAA host regular educational events open to the public at the airport. Even if you may not care to learn to fly, a son or daughter, relative or friend, may someday wish to learn. Many airline and military pilots got their start right here at the Oceanside Airport.
A(2): Oceanside Airport Saves Lives–A part of North County’s Emergency Medical System.
Since we have no Emergency Trauma Center in North County, the Oceanside Airport allows Mercy Air Critical Care helicopters to quickly evacuate critically injured patients to the nearest trauma center within the all-important Golden Hour. According to Mercy Air, their response time would be significantly increased without unhampered access to the Oceanside Airport. Unfortunately, helicopters cannot land just anywhere. They need to be sure that their landing spots are safe and secure, for the benefit of their patients and the public, as well as the crew and their aircraft. With the airport available to them they are not forced to use precious time searching for an appropriate landing spot then waiting for safety crews to clear and secure the area. On average, Emergency medical airlift operations occur at Oceanside Airport every day of the year.
A(3): Disaster preparedness.
In the event of a natural disaster (earthquakes, etc.), the Oceanside Airport would be critical to our City’s rescue and recovery efforts. According to the Oceanside Fire Department, the Oceanside Airport would be absolutely essential if all roads and bridges in our city were to be destroyed or made impassable.
A(4): A Community Center.
Oceanside Airport is a small, public, and community airport. The airport hosts community service aviation related events and there are public seating areas where you can go to enjoy the airport and aviation activities. Many people who enjoy the airport are not pilots and appreciate the relaxing views, open space and activity at the airport. Much like folks who like to go to the harbor and watch boats, there are folks who like to go to the airport and watch planes. However, the airport can be made friendlier by performing renovations that increase public seating and viewing areas and make the airport a more inviting public resource. The Airport Master Plan provides for this with a proper terminal building, public restaurant and public seating area. If you live in the area, you may want to become involved in this renovation.
A(5): Open Space.
The airport contributes to maintaining open spaces in our beautiful valley. Many folks have moved into the area because of it’s character, look and feel. Without the airport this area and it’s surrounds could certainly be subject to uncontrolled growth and turned into a very high density and possibly multi-story developments and issues that come from overdevelopment.
Q: Does the Oceanside Airport affect property values in the surrounding residential areas?
A: Because the Oceanside Airport is, and will remain, a very small airport, it has never affected property values in the past. The new homes, directly north of the airport, sold for approximately $240,000 in 1997. In 2001 they were selling for about $400,000. That is a 60% increase, which appears to be a typical increase for most properties in Oceanside. It is the economic forces of supply and demand, not the Oceanside airport that affects property values. Actually, some people choose to house-hunt and move to Oceanside because we do have an airport.
Q: Is it true that no money earned at the airport can go into the General Fund?
A: No. It is true that the proceeds from the hangar and tie-down rentals must remain in the Airport Fund, by law. However, the General Fund receives moneys from sales and personal property taxes (aircraft are taxed at 1% of their value as personal property) and revenues that the businesses and pilots on the airport create. That is why it is essential that we improve the airport to attract new businesses and new based aircraft.
Q: Wouldn’t it be better to have a Car Country or a shopping mall such as those in Carlsbad?
A: There will never be a Car Country like the one in Carlsbad because automobile manufacturers and distributors do not allow competing dealerships within a 10-mile radius of existing dealerships. The same might be said for a shopping mall. The massive increase in traffic would be reason enough to not have either, not to mention 24 hour lighting necessary for both car and shopping malls.
Q: How much money can the airport generate?
A: According to the City of Oceanside, the airport has the potential of generating 1.5 million dollars (annually) from hangar and tie-down rentals alone. That does not include sales tax and personal property tax revenues that go directly into the General Fund. The restaurant, a possible museum and additional businesses will dramatically increase revenue to the General Fund.
Q: Is it true that no schools can be built near the airport?
A: No. There are no State laws that prevent schools from being built near an airport. There are already several schools in close proximity to the airport. The California Division of Aeronautics (CDA) can and does allow new schools to be built close to airports, after site approval by the CDA.
Q: Is the Oceanside Airport safe?
A: Yes. According to aviation statistics, Oceanside Airport has, throughout it’s over 40-year history, enjoyed an excellent safety record. Statistically, air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation.
Q: Is it true that with the new airport improvements, the runway will be made longer to accommodate larger private airplanes and jet aircraft?
A: No. Benet Road to the West, and Foussat Road to the East can never lengthen the runway because it is landlocked. The airport was designed to accommodate only light single and twin-engine aircraft.
Q: What is the 1997 Master Plan?
A: The Airport Master Plan was approved by the City Council in 1997, and calls for the upgrade and improvement of the Oceanside Municipal Airport. The 1997 master plan has three phases.
Q: How will the Master Plan be implemented?
A: Phase I – replaces the 21 hangars that were demolished to make way for Highway 76 construction.
Phase II – replaces the 30 existing hangars that are badly in need of repair. In addition, the existing airport offices will be replaced and a small caf� will be added. Also, two large maintenance hangars (also demolished to make way for Highway 76) will be replaced.
NOTE: Phases I and II will simply bring the airport back to it’s capacity prior to the construction of Highway 76.
Phase III – On May 26, 2003, the property (14.7 acres) on the north side of the airport was purchased with a Federal Grant of 2.5 million dollars. Per Federal law, the property can only be used for aviation related purposes. This new area is mostly for parking locations that will be moved from the south side of the airport to make a larger taxiway requested by the FAA for safer ground movement. The FAA wants a larger taxiway on the South side and this is a large reason for the FAA grant.
Q: How will the three phases of the Master Plan be funded and will Oceanside General Fund money be used?
A: All construction will be funded through low interest loans from the California Division of Aeronautics’ “Aviation Trust Fund.” The State Aviation Fuel Tax paid by pilots when fueling their airplanes generates the Trust Fund money. These loans will be repaid with proceeds from hangar and tie-down rentals. Federal Grant money comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Aviation Trust Fund, generated by a Federal Aviation Fuel Tax, also paid by pilots when buying aviation fuel. Federal Grant money is essentially FREE MONEY and need not be repaid provided the airport remains open and viable. NO OCEANSIDE GENERAL FUND TAXPAYER MONEY is required to implement the Airport Master Plan.
Q: Has the General Fund ever loaned money to the Airport Enterprise Fund?
A: Yes. Those loans funded the Environmental Impact Report and the engineering required for the 1997 Airport Master Plan. The Airport Enterprise Fund is in the process of repaying those loans. The loans would have been fully repaid, long ago, if the Master Plan had been implemented when it was approved in 1997.
Q: How long has there been an airport in the San Luis Rey Valley?
A: This airport has been in the San Luis Rey Valley since the 1930’s. The airport was established as a U. S. Navy alternate landing field. In 1962 the runway was shifted a few hundred yards to the north to it’s present position.
Q: Why do some people want the airport closed?
A: It appears because they are sensitive to noise aircraft create. Per studies by California Department of Transportation, a small amount of the population is abnormally sensitive, or “annoyed” by noise. Some just don’t like airplanes. Professional noise studies have determined that the aircraft and Oceanside Airport operations are all within acceptable limits. However, there will always be some people who live directly under a departure path that do not like airplanes. Folks sensitive to aircraft noise that do not live adjacent to the departure path should know that much of the air traffic near Oceanside is not generated by Oceanside Airport traffic. The entire San Diego area and especially the coast have some of the busiest airways in the world.
Q: Can the airport ever be closed?
A: The practical answer is no. The theoretical answer is a discussion of what is remotely possible. Could the city break federal laws and get away with it? Could the US Government ever be overthrown? Possible? Yes. Practical? Not. Closing Oceanside’s airport is impractical because it is a Federally Obligated Airport. The City accepted Federal Grant Money from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to purchase real estate for the Oceanside Airport and signed a binding contract called the Federal Grant Assurances. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Grant Assurance Manual, the City of Oceanside is required to keep the airport open indefinitely. The process of trying to close the airport would cost the General Fund millions of dollars to repay the FAA grants, legal fees, and actual demolition costs, if it were even allowed by the FAA. But even after a long and exhaustive battle, closure would probably be refused. In fact, there is no precedent for the FAA allowing a federal land grant or AIP-funded airport to be closed. So where does this leave the city? In a conservative view, it would be much easier and profitable for the City to implement the Master Plan, attract new businesses and services, and make the airport and surrounds attractive to both residents and visitors. Why try to argue against, close or cripple the airport? The highest and best use of any Federally Obligated Airport land is to meet the demands of aviation.