THE TAXIWAY WORK the Tucker Paving team completed earlier this year at Winter Haven Regional Airport, combined with the recent news that the airport has received a $2.49 million federal grant, has given many of us here a new appreciation for the airport. It really does play important roles in the local general aviation scene and the local economy as a whole. Based on everything we’ve been told, and with city officials’ desire to find additional funds for several key airport improvements and growth-oriented projects, those roles are expected to expand significantly in the next few years.

We’ve gone to the Internet to learn more about Winter Haven Regional Airport, and below is a list of several of the more interesting facts and figures we discovered.

• The airport’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identifier is KGIF. Usually, the “K” is dropped, so it would be GIF.

• The airport elevation is 145.3 feet above sea level.

• With ownership by the city of Winter Haven, the airport’s use is public.

• The airport is located on the south side of U.S. Highway 92 West, three miles northwest of the city’s center (and just around the corner from our Tucker Paving construction headquarters).

• The airport has two asphalt runways — Runway 5/23, at 5,006 feet by 100 feet; and Runway 11/29, at 4,001 x 100 feet.

• There is no airport tower.

•  The airport supports corporate jets, with past and current users including executives from Walmart, State Farm Insurance, and Liberty Mutual Insurance; and sportsmen Tracy McGrady (NBA) and Tony Stewart (NASCAR).

• The airport has more 80,000 aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings) per year, averaging about 220 per day. About 60 percent of the operations are classified as local general aviation, with the balance being transient general aviation.

• Approximately 135 aircraft are based on the field (166 single-engine planes, 13 multi-engine planes, one jet, one helicopter, and four gliders).

•  Winter Haven Regional Airport is a fairly new name for the airport. It was Winter Haven Municipal Airport for many years, before the FAA classified it as a regional general aviation airport. Some people today still refer to it by its original name, Gilbert Field (the source of GIF).

There’s much more to share about the airport, but we’ll save that for our next blog post.

And about that federal grant we mentioned at the beginning of this article, what’s $2.49 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation going to buy for Winter Haven’s airport? That would be runway rehabilitation and runway lighting. Work is scheduled to begin Oct. 10 and will take about seven and a half months to complete.

Sources for this article

• The city’s Winter Haven Regional Airport website — Link

• Wikipedia — Link

• — Link

• National Weather Service — Link

• Winter Haven Economic Development Council — Link

The Ledger newspaper article (Nov. 13, 2008) — Link

The Ledger newspaper article (June 21, 2017) — Link