Deer Valley Airport: A Closer Look

Jun 10, 2008

In recent years, North Scottsdale has built itself an image of success and wealth that is unmatched anywhere else in the Valley. It has retail shops, fine dining, jewelry stores, banks, and thousands of office buildings, all centered around the Scottsdale Airpark. Indeed, the Airpark is the landmark that defines the region and the source of much revenue for the neighboring businesses. Since the 1960s, Phoenix has quietly been building up its own version of the Scottsdale Airpark.

Phoenix Deer Valley AirportI'm talking about the Deer Valley Airport, of course. Better known to pilots by its call sign, KDVT is the busiest general aviation airport in the country. With over 1,200 aircraft calling it home and over 378,000 takeoffs and landings in 2007, Deer Valley Airport is much larger than the Scottsdale Airport in terms of size and traffic. Since it was acquired by the City of Phoenix in 1971, the Airport has experienced a period of growth and expansion that continues to this very day.

The airport features two paved runways: 7R/25L, which is 8200 feet long and 100 ft wide, and 7L/25R, which is 4500 feet long and 75 feet wide. These runways handle an average 1,000 takeoffs and landings per day from all types of aviation traffic. Everyone is welcome at Deer Valley Airport, where it is common to see private Cessnas mingling with larger bizjets and the occasional military jets visiting from Luke AFB in the West Valley.

On the ground, there is a modest terminal that is very clean both inside and out. It was completely remodeled in 1998 and manages to look more modern inside than Sky Harbor's Terminal 2. Inside there is a gift shop, restrooms, and a restaurant that's actually not half-bad. The walls are adorned with the history of the airport, including photos of its early days when it was little more than a private airstrip. Last year, a 160-foot tall state-of-the-art control tower was built by the FAA, at a cost of $17 million dollars. There is no doubt the airport has a positive impact on the area, and its economic impact on the area is estimated to be $26 million per year, as reported in the Phoenix Business Journal.

Today, the Deer Valley Airport is the base of operations for several aviation heavyweights, including Cutter Aviation, Westwind Aviation, and a massive 300,000 square-foot repair facility operated by Honeywell. For pilots, the Pan Am Flight School has an acclaimed program for both aspiring beginners and career pilots. Its fleet of Piper Archer III's and Piper Seminoles can be seen in the skies above Deer Valley, sporting the school's signature blue-on-white livery. New business developments on the south side of Deer Valley Road include retail shops and restaurants that appeal to both locals and visitors, especially in the Flight Center mini-mall, where the driveways are painted to look like runways and lined with tiny colored lights.

With the explosive growth of Deer Valley in recent years, the airport is definitely an anchor of the community that continues to thrive with no signs of slowing down.

Sunset on the Tarmac Large Hangar Terminal at Deer Valley Airport

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