Big Bear Airport is located in Big Bear City, California. Situated in the San Bernardino mountain range, 6,752 feet above sea level, the Airport serves several of the surrounding small communities, as well as Southern California’s only four season resort, Big Bear, with general aviation air service. Big Bear Airport is open to the general public and to visiting aircraft 24 hours a day. Although the Airport does not have any commercial passenger activity, it does provide services such as aircraft maintenance, sightseeing flights, and emergency services. The Airport has been in continuous operation at this site since 1928.
Big Bear Airport is located in Southern California, approximately 40 miles outside of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, on the southern boundary of the San Bernardino Mountain Range. The Airport provides a safe operating environment for general aviation aircraft, ranging from gliders to small corporate jets.
The City of Big Bear Lake and the unincorporated portion of San Bernardino County known as Big Bear City are both located among the peaks of the San Bernardino Mountain Range near Big Bear Lake. Big Bear City is surrounded by several communities, including Sugarloaf, Fawnskin, Moonridge, Lake Arrowhead, Erwin Lake, and Baldwin Lake. Although Big Bear City has not grown significantly in the last ten years, the exponential growth of the surrounding communities has influenced Big Bear City and the regional transportation system.
Big Bear Airport is operated with one primary runway, oriented in an east-west direction. Two parallel taxiways, one partial and one full, provide access to the runway from the general aviation development areas.
The Airport Reference Point (ARP) for Big Bear Airport is located at Latitude 34° 15′ 49.0300″ N and Longitude 116° 51′ 16.1100″ W. The Airport has an elevation of 6,752 feet above mean sea level (AMSL) and encompasses approximately 117 acres.
The primary runway at the Airport has a designation of 08/26. It is 5,850 feet in length and 75 feet in width. The runway is constructed of asphalt and has a gross weight bearing capacity of 12,500 pounds single wheel main landing gear configuration. The runway asphalt is currently in excellent condition and was reconstructed in 2004. The runway is equipped with Medium Intensity Runway Lights (MIRL), a 2-light Precision Approach Path Indicator system (PAPI) that provides a 4.0-degree approach slope to each runway end, and is marked with standard non-precision markings on each end.
Runway 08 has a displaced threshold of 370 feet, due to the location of Division Drive, which is approximately 480 feet from the displaced threshold. Runway 26 has a displaced threshold of 600 feet to account for trees located approximately 1,000 feet off of the runway approach end. In addition, Runway 08 has a published right-hand traffic pattern, with Runway 26 having a standard left-hand pattern.
In addition to the runway, the airside facilities at Big Bear Airport consist of a taxiway system that provides access between the runway surface and the landside aviation use areas.
A 45-foot wide full-parallel taxiway serves Runway 08/26 (Taxiway “A”). The taxiway is constructed of asphalt and has five connector taxiways that connect to the runway. The parallel taxiway is located on the south side of the runway and is separated from the runway by 200 feet (centerline to centerline). For night use, the taxiway system is equipped with a Medium Intensity Taxiway Lighting system (MITL).
In addition to the full-length parallel taxiway to the south of the runway, there is also a 40-foot wide partial parallel taxiway (Taxiway “B”) to the north that provides access to the general aviation area on the north side of the field. Taxiway “B” is constructed of asphalt and has four connector taxiways that connect the taxiway to the runway. The partial parallel taxiway is separated from the runway by 180-185 feet (centerline to centerline) and is also equipped with an MITL system.
The primary landside development includes a terminal area, aircraft parking aprons, Fixed Base Operator (FBO) facilities, general aviation aircraft storage hangars, fuel storage facilities, and access roadways.
The main aircraft parking apron at Big Bear Airport is located south of Taxiway “A.” This apron consists of approximately 450,000 square feet of aircraft parking and movement space, providing approximately 218 aircraft tie-down positions.
Hangars and Aircraft Storage
Big Bear Airport District is the only fuel provider on the field while Vonesh Aircraft provides maintenance.
The Airport provides a total of 129 paved aircraft tie-down locations. 104 tie-downs are located on the south side of the field on the main apron, while an additional 25 paved tie-downs are located on the north side of the field adjacent to Taxiway “B.”
The Airport has approximately 142 hangar spaces in 31 separate buildings. The Airport has one maintenance/storage hangar located on airport property, as well as numerous storage units in leased hangars.
Fuel Storage Facility
The airport’s fuel storage facility, which is owned and operated by the Big Bear Airport, is located on the south side of the runway, directly northwest of the terminal building, on the general aviation ramp. Completion of the new fueling facility was in September of 2018, which included two 15,000 gallon above ground tanks that meet or exceed current requirements for aviation fueling. One 15,000 gallon 100LL Avgas tank and one 15,000 Jet A tank capable of injecting prist on demand. Avgas is distributed from the fueling facility in two locations, Westside and Eastside of the tanks allowing for quicker fueling. Jet A is distributed on the Eastside of the fueling facility. Both Avgas and Jet A can be accessed 24 hours a day to the flying public and emergency services. The credit card machine is located on the north side of the fueling facility.
Automated Weather Observing System
The Airport is served by an Automated Weather Observing System III Precipitation/Thunderstorm (AWOS III PIT), which was installed in 2005 and is located approximately 3,000 feet east of the Runway 08 end of pavement, and 450 feet south of the runway centerline. This facility measures wind speed, wind gusts, wind direction, wind variable direction, temperature, dew point, altimeter setting, density altitude, visibility, sky condition, and cloud height and type. The system is also capable of tracking precipitation and thunderstorm activity within 30 miles of the Airport. AWOS data is transmitted hourly to NWS. The AWOS III provides a minute-by-minute update to airborne pilots via VHF radio frequency. The radio frequency for the Big Bear Airport AWOS III PIT is 135.925 MHz. AWOS data is also available by phone at (909) 585-4033.
Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Facility
The Airport does not presently have an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility on the field, however, fire protection services for the Airport are provided by the Big Bear City Fire Station No. 282, located approximately three blocks south of the east end of the Airport. As of February 2018, Mercy Air has a helicopter based at Big Bear Airport and, in conjunction with Big Bear Fire Department and the Big Bear Hospital, provides life saving air ambulance services to Loma Linda Hospital.
Existing Ground Access and Parking Facilities
From a regional perspective, ground access to the terminal and main entrance to Big Bear Airport is provided by West Big Bear Boulevard, by way of State Highway 18, which is located on the south side of the Airport. The aviation facilities located on the north side of the Airport may be accessed via North Shore Drive, by way of State Highway 38.
There are numerous automobile parking areas associated with the airport facilities. General and long-term parking is located adjacent to the general aviation terminal building.
Airspace System/Navigation and Communication Aids
As with all airports, Big Bear Airport functions within the local, regional, and national system of airports and airspace. The following narrative provides a brief description of Big Bear Airport’s role as an element within these systems:
Air Traffic Service Areas and Aviation Communications
Within the continental United States, there are some twenty-two geographic areas that are under Air Traffic Control (ATC) jurisdiction. Air traffic services within each area are provided by air traffic controllers in Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC). The airspace overlying Big Bear Airport is contained within the Los Angeles ARTCC jurisdiction. The Los Angeles ARTCC includes the airspace in Southern California and portions of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.
Big Bear Airport can be found on the Los Angeles sectional chart. Aviation communication facilities associated with the Airport include an Aeronautical Advisory Station (UNICOM) on frequency 122.725 (Big Bear Airport District), Los Angeles Center (Approach/ Departure Control) on frequency 126.35, Southern California Approach on frequencies 127.25 and 119.65, Joshua Approach on frequency 124.55, Big Bear Airport Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) on frequency 135.925, and Riverside FSS on frequency 122.2. Big Bear Airport does not have an air traffic control tower (ATCT).
Local airspace surrounding Big Bear Airport is represented by a combination of Class G and Class E airspace. The Class E Surface Airspace is typically represented as a five-statute mile radius circular area around an uncontrolled Airport and includes any extension necessary to include instrument approach and departure paths. Class E Airspace includes the controlled airspace extending upward from 700-1,200 feet above the airport elevation. These areas are generally designated at outlying airports with low activity and with non-precision instrument approach procedures providing high minimum descent altitudes. Radio communications and transponders are not required to operate within these airspace areas under visual flight rule (VFR) conditions; however, Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) flights must be capable of communicating with air traffic control (ATC), which is currently Southern California Approach for south and westbound traffic, Los Angeles Center for eastbound traffic, and Joshua Approach for northbound traffic. All IFR traffic must also be Mode C Transponder equipped (capable of reporting altitude).
Military airports, military operations areas, and restricted areas can also impact airspace use in the vicinity of a civil airport. There are two military airports located within a 35-NM radius of Big Bear Airport: March Air Reserve Base (KRIV) is located approximately 31 NMs to the southwest and Twenty-Nine Palms EAF Airport (KNXP) is located approximately 34 NMs east of Big Bear Airport. There are no Military Operations Areas (MOAs) in the vicinity of the Airport, however, there is a Restricted Area (R-2501W) located approximately 24 NMs northeast of the Airport. All civil operations in this area are restricted to an unlimited altitude and control is maintained by the Los Angeles Center on frequency 128.15.
A variety of navigational facilities are currently available to pilots around Big Bear Airport, whether located at the field or at other locations in the region. Many of these navigational aids are available to en-route air traffic as well. The navigational aids (NAVAIDS) available for use by pilots in the vicinity of the Airport are VOR-DME, VORTAC, and NDB facilities. Big Bear Airport has one instrument approach, a RNAV (GPS) RWY 26 and one instrument departure procedure for Runway 8, RNAV OKACO ONE departure. Information concerning the instrument approach and departure can be found at: www.airnav.com/airport/L35.
In addition, several existing visual navigational aids are located on the Airport and available to pilots. These include a rotating beacon and a lighted wind cone with segmented circle, which is located on the south side of Taxiway “A”, near the Taxiway “F” connector. Three additional supplemental wind socks are located in the vicinity of the east and west ends of the Airport and mid-field. In addition, both runway ends are equipped with Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI), which provide descent guidance for the visual segment of the approach, and are configured for a 4.0-degree glide path angle.
Surrounding Terrain Description
The airfield property is located in the central portion of Big Bear City, east of Big Bear Lake and west of Baldwin Lake. The Airport is located in a valley surrounded by rapidly rising terrain associated with the San Bernardino Mountain Range. Aircraft access to the Facility from the west through the Cajon Pass area is the recommended route, due to its relatively flat mountainous terrain and clearance of leeward mountains.