Squamish Municipal Airport- Don Patrick Field

Airport Overview

Squamish Municipal Airport – Don Patrick Field (the “Airport”) is owned and operated by the District of Squamish (the “District”). The Airport is a registered aerodrome and is operated in compliance with Subpart 301.01 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). 

Regulatory Environment

The Airport is a registered aerodrome which has reduced regulatory requirements than a certified airport.

  • The Federal Government has the exclusive (constitutional) jurisdiction over aeronautics;
  • The District cannot regulate activity that is at the ‘core’ of aviation. ‘Core’ is not a defined term; however, it is understood that regulating the movement of aircraft or aviation related activities through District developed rules and regulations and bylaws is not within the District’s authority;
  • The Airport is governed by Squamish District Council and administered by Real Estate Services under the Corporate Services Department. Operational and maintenance tasks are completed by the Engineering and Public Works Division.
Emergency Response Function

The Airport provides a critical emergency response function in both Squamish and the broader Sea to Sky region including use by the following organizations 

  • BC Emergency
  • Health Services (BCEHS),
  • Squamish Search and Rescue,
  • Technical Evacuation Advanced Aero Medical Society (TEAAM),
  • Provincial Emergency Program Air (PEP) and;
  • The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA).

The Airport is also used by the District of Squamish’s Emergency Operations to support the District’s Multimodal Evacuation Plan and to support the District when the Emergency Operations Centre is activated.

The Airport supports the Squamish Lillooet Regional District’s All Hazards Plan and is designated under the Government and External Agency Support category.

When wildfires are active in the vicinity of Squamish and the surrounding region, fixed-wing and rotary-wing businesses based at the Airport are commonly activated by the British Columbia Wildfire Service for suppression, detection, and transportation missions. 

Airport History

The initial concept to develop an airport in Squamish was spearheaded by a group of private individuals in the early 1960s. In 1967-1968, the newly formed Squamish Flying Club evaluated two potential locations for an airport in Squamish in cooperation with the Department of Transportation (now referred to as Transport Canada); this process resulted in the Airport’s current location being chosen.

In 1972, a 20-year lease agreement was signed between the District and Squamish Flying Club, with the latter organization to become the managing organization for the Airport. The construction of the initial gravel runway was completed in 1970, and federal grants were subsequently awarded in 1972 for its paving and repaving in 1979. Early users of the Airport included the Squamish Flying Club, who provided training as an approved Flight Training Unit. Other users included the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Garibaldi Tours, Squamish Air Services, and Quasar Helicopters. The operational responsibility of the Airport was transferred from the Squamish Flying Club to the District in 1991 at the end of its lease agreement. The District maintains its status as the owner and operator of the Airport.

Airport Tenants

Airport-/Squamish-Airport-Site-Plan.pdf

The Airport is occupied by six tenants. These tenants provide the following services:

  • Search and rescue support, wildfire suppression, emergency response;
  • Aerial logging, commercial services, utility sector support (e.g., hydro line inspections); 
  • Aerial tourism, sight seeing, charter services; and
  • Flight training

Tenants based at the Airport employ approximately 60 full and part-time positions during peak season (i.e., May to September) operations.

Black Tusk Helicopter Inc.

Black Tusk Helicopter is a multiservice commercial helicopter operator headquartered at the Airport. Black Tusk Helicopter provides a wide range of services using its fleet of 8 helicopters based at the Airport (Kaman K-1200, Aerospatiale AS350, Bell 206, and Bell 214), including but not limited to:

  • Outdoor recreation and tourism, including heliskiing, helibiking, sightseeing, backcountry and glacier access, and weddings / engagements;
  • Aerial logging;
  • Aerial construction and site air support;
  • Wildfire suppression; and
  • Charter flights.
Blackcomb Helicopters

Blackcomb Helicopters is a commercial helicopter service provider that is headquartered in Whistler with operational bases in Squamish, Lillooet, Sechelt, Pemberton, Vancouver, and Terrace. The Airport is Blackcomb Helicopters’ local base, with infrastructure on-site including an office building, hangar, jet fuel facility, aircraft parking areas, and vehicle parking. Blackcomb Helicopters operates a fleet of 22 helicopters across its various bases, including the Bell 206, 212, and 407; Eurocopter EC130 and EC135; and Aerospatiale AS350 and AS355.

Glacier Air

Glacier Air is a Transport Canada-approved Flight Training Unit, aerial work / air taxi provider, and a registered institution with the Private Training Institution Branch of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. The company has been operating since 1974 and has been under its current ownership since 2002. Glacier Air maintains a fleet of 6 aircraft that are based at the Airport, including 2 Cessna 172s, 1 Cessna 152, 1 Cessna 206, 1 American Champion Decathalon, and 1 American Champion Citabria. Through their fleet of aircraft, Glacier Air operates between 2,000 and 2,400 flight hours per year. Glacier Air’s operations at the Airport are supported by a two-storey integrated aircraft hangar and administrative space, aircraft apron, above-ground fuel storage facility, and a second two-storey structure.

Sea to Sky Air

Sea to Sky Air is a year-round fixed-wing air taxi and aerial work provider that is based at the Airport. Sea to Sky Air primarily provides aerial sightseeing packages, floatplane transportation to Phantom Lake through a provincial adventure tourism permit, and charter services. Sea to Sky Air operates a fleet of 3 aircraft (2 Cessna 172s and 1 Cessna A185) and maintains a mobile office structure adjacent to the apron at the Airport.

Squamish Flying Club

The Squamish Flying Club is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1950 and is based at the Airport. Between 60 and 70 individuals are currently members of the Squamish Flying Club, including approximately 30 general aviation aircraft owned by members. Consultations with the Squamish Flying Club indicate that most of their members reside in Squamish and within the area north of Lions Bay and south of Whistler.

The Flying Club maintains a series of facilities at the Airport on leasehold lots, including:

  • Two unenclosed hangar buildings with a combined area of approximately 2,000 m2 and capacity for 19 aircraft;
  • A small clubhouse and washroom facility;
  • A 100 Low Lead (“avgas”) fuel tank and self-service facility.

The Flying Club also uses portions of the parking apron for outdoor aircraft storage and in 2021 prepared an expanded gravel parking area to the west of the apron.

 

Environment and Climate Change Canada

ECCC leases a 500 m2 lot adjacent to the apron for an unstaffed meteorological observation facility.

 

Groundside Infrastructure

Groundside Access Roads

The Airport Ring Road is a two-way access road that connects with Government Road at two unsignalized intersections. The Airport Ring Road is the sole groundside access from Government Road. Two gravel access roads are provided from the Airport Ring Road to the airfield for use by ambulances, maintenance vehicles, and tenants. The accesses are located adjacent to the Squamish Flying Club and Blackcomb Helicopters leaseholds. A gravel access road extends from the Airport Ring Road to the Black Tusk Helicopter leasehold lot, referred to as the Black Tusk Access Road. 

Parking Lots (1 and 2)

In addition to the vehicle parking areas designated for the sole use of tenants within their respective leasehold lots, two parking areas are provided for use by the general public. Parking Lot 1 is located adjacent to the Glacier Air and Blackcomb Helicopters leasehold lots, while Parking Lot 2 is adjacent to the Squamish Flying Club and Sea to Sky Air facilities. 

Contact Information 

District of Squamish

Airport Ambassador
Phone: 604.898.1975
Email: fly@seatoskyair.ca

Operation/Communication Inquires 
Chantal Milan, Real Estate Coordinator
Phone: 604.815.5024
Email: cmilan@squamish.ca 

Lease Inquires 
Nav Triplett, Portfolio Administrator
Phone: 778.266.3445
Email: ntriplett@squamish.ca