Bend’s private airstrip: Pilot Butte Airport

Private airstrip in the heart of Bend, OregonIn the latest Source Weekly, there’s an article about the private airstrip that’s located southeast, just off of Bear Creek Road. I’ve seen that before on maps and wondered about it, especially as it was near Sugarbowl Park (which I blogged about).

You can see the strip in the image to the right (lifted from Google Maps).

Known as the Pilot Butte Airport, there are seven (private) planes that use it regularly. Daily, during the summer months; who knew?

A small neighborhood south of Hwy. 20 on Bend’s east side… is the home of a relatively unknown, privately owned airstrip known as the Pilot Butte Airport. By appearance it’s not much to speak of – essentially it’s a piece of flat pavement used by planes instead of cars. The airstrip was constructed during the 1960s, according to Don Wilfong, the former president of the Pilot Butte Airport Association. Wilfong has lived beside the tiny airstrip for 25 years.

There are 17 private airports in Deschutes County. Most of them are nothing more than strips of grass, patches of dirt or slapdash pavement. There are no air-traffic controllers that work at these airstrips. There are no high-powered antennas or bubbling stewardess. These independently owned runways are used by small aircrafts – often piloted by people who live near the airstrip.

Pretty interesting stuff. (Notice a couple of the road names near the airport—Cessna Drive and Airpark Drive.) How cool would it be to walk out your back door and hop aboard a plane?

2 thoughts on “Bend’s private airstrip: Pilot Butte Airport

  1. You’ve lived here how long and not known about that strip? ;-)

    I guess the approach is a bit of a trick, requiring a hard 90-degree turn right before you touch down. I’m not a pilot, but a friend of mine, who lives a block off Cessna, has flown in and out of it a few times.

    But there’s also a decent sized strip just NW of Bend, known as the Gopher Gulch Airstrip:
    http://sh.orty.com/JHUXVAMK

    I came across this page, too, that lists several strips in the country, with links to the Google map locations (some don’t work, however):

    http://sh.orty.com/SLD2KX3D

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