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Pinedale Online > News > September 2013 > Pinedale Airport Fly-In

Open House. Photo by Charmian McLellan.
Open House
Photo by Charmian McLellan

Beech Bonanza. Photo by  Charmian McLellan.
Beech Bonanza
The owner of this Beech Bonanza won a tank of gas for flying the furthest distance to attend. He came from California. Photo by Charmian McLellan.

Towing . Photo by Charmian McLellan.
Photo by Charmian McLellan
Pinedale Airport Fly-In
September 11, 2013

The Pinedale Airport held their 2nd Annual 2013 Fly-In open house on Saturday, September 7th. The public was invited to enjoy a free pancake breakfast served by the Pinedale Lions Club form 8AM to 10AM.

The Pinedale Airport, officially named Ralph Wenz Field, is located approximately six miles southeast of Pinedale, Wyoming. It is a busy general aviation airport regularly used by larger business jet aircraft and smaller single and multi-engine aircraft. It has the FAA Identifier: PNA.

The airport is owned by the Town of Pinedale and managed/operated by the Pinedale Airport Board, a Wyoming Joint Powers Board. The Airport Board consists of five Town appointed volunteers who have the responsibility to manage, operate and maintain the airport. In August 2005 the Airport Board hired a professional airport manager responsible for the management, operation and maintenance of the airport.

The airport started as a grass landing strip in the late 1940’s. The first paved runway, constructed in the 1950’s, was 60’ x 4,400’. In 1968 the runway was lengthened to 6,600’ with funds raised by local businessmen. There were several land acquisition projects over the years to accommodate future airport expansion. In 1985 a new 100’ x 7,100’ runway was constructed south of the old runway, which was converted into a taxiway. In 2000 the old taxiway was removed and replaced with a new 35’ x 7,100’ taxiway. In the fall of 2007 construction of a new access roadway began to accommodate a 1,800’ runway extension which was completed in August, 2008 bringing the total runway length to 8,900’. This added length gives aircraft currently using the airport greater operational stage lengths, which means they will be able to put on more fuel to travel greater distances without stopping to refuel. This is especially important during the hotter summer months when the airport’s 7,085’ elevation makes it more difficult for aircraft to take-off with a full load of fuel and passengers.

Ralph Wenz Field has over 20 based aircraft, 19 privately owned hangars and 2 hangars owned by the Town of Pinedale. The airport has a full service Fixed Base Operator (FBO) providing aircraft fueling, maintenance and hangar facilities to based and transient aircraft.

History note: Pinedale’s airport is named in memory of Ralph Wenz, who was well known in the Pinedale area and was involved with testing cold weather equipment as a navigator in the Army Air Corps in Alaska. In December, 1943, S-Sgt. Ralph Wenz was reported missing along with his plane and crew. The following April 1944, Wenz’s body was found with the deceased members of his crew in their downed bomber in Alaska. He was 31 years of age. He was Sublette County’s first casualty of World War II. Wenz was buried in Fairbanks, Alaska with full military honors. In May of 1944, a memorial service was held for him at the Pinedale high school auditorium, sponsored by the Phillips-Edwards Post 47 of the American Legion and Auxiliary. Following the war, members of the Post dedicated themselves to remembering the two soldiers from Pinedale who did not come home from World War II. In October, 1948, they approached the Pinedale Town Council requesting to name the town park in honor of Boyd Skinner and the airport in remembrance of Ralph Wenz. The Town Council unanimously voted in favor of those resolutions. (Thank you to Ann Chambers Noble and the Sublette County Historical Society book, "Pinedale, Wyoming: A Centennial History 1904-2004" for historical information.)

Photos courtesy Charmian McLellan

Related Links
  • AirNav,com – Ralph Wenz Field
  • Airport information
  • Pinedale Airport Board
  • Staff Sergeant Ralph Wenz - WWII Casualty - Sutton Nebraska Museum
  • Pinedale Online > News > September 2013 > Pinedale Airport Fly-In

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