on_the_playa sectional graphic


The Black Rock City Airport

The Black Rock City Airport springs into existence every year as the gate opens and vanishes with a puff of smoke when the event is over. Airport details change from year to year, but the desert always waits. The runway is outside the Burning Man perimeter, but close enough to taxi to a tie-down and camping area just outside the fence. The airport includes a heliport, Box Office, Gate One, the main terminal building and theme camps.

The FAA identifier for our temporary, private airport is 88NV, and it may show up in aviation GPS database. The Black Rock Desert is on the Klamath Falls Sectional (updated in April and October, so buy it after April). The runway is placed shortly before the event begins and may differ from preliminary plans. Black Rock City is approximately 10 nautical miles on a magnetic heading of 10 degrees from Empire. Field elevation is estimated at 3904 feet MSL. The CTAF and UNICOM frequency is 122.9 MHz.

After rain showers, dry clay becomes extremely sticky clay. It is unlikely that enough rain will fall to make the surface soft, but landings in wet conditions are not recommended. The surface dries very quickly after summer afternoon thunderstorms.

Prevailing winds are southwesterly, often strong and gusty. Winds can blow in one direction at Black Rock Airport, and another direction on the wide-open playa. Summer storms are common. Dust devils are numerous, even on calm days. Read Desert Flying for tips, techniques, and warnings.

Review vital aviation information at http://www.portofentry.org/prior to departure. The current year's pilot advisory is posted on that site in mid-August. Updates on runway condition or weather are made during the event. This is an extremely busy uncontrolled airport with hundreds of takeoffs and landings each day. Procedures for approach, departure and the scenic pattern have been refined each year for safety and you are required to follow them or lose your landing privileges.

The runway is open during the event from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. You may not land after 7:30 p.m. so plan your trip with adequate margin. The water truck starts soaking the runway at 7:30 p.m. when the last plane has landed for the day.

The Airport Gate is open only to pilots and their passengers, and provides the same box office services as the main gate. See the Tickets page for current information. An additional Airport Fee of $20 per person is charged to all those arriving by aircraft to help offset airport expenses such as runway preparation, tools, windsock, generator, signs, and UNICOM. This amount is far less than actual expenses, and additional donations are appreciated.

Donations are also requested to cover amenities such as the Terminal Building, baggage wagons, the bar, decorations, and the Thursday pancake breakfast. Fees and donations are collected at the Airport Box Office; cash preferred, no checks.

Pilots and passengers may camp with their aircraft in the tie-down area, or in the Airport camp just inside the fence, or in the nearby walk-in camping area.

Nearby Airports

Empire (1A8) is the closest permanent airport. It's a rough, short, dirt strip with no services of any kind: no phone, no chemical toilet, no tie-downs. The only advantage to landing there instead of Black Rock Airport is that you can walk (a long, hot walk) to the Empire store where there is a public phone and goods for sale.

Winnemucca (WMC)

Phone: 775-623-5091 ASOS: 775-625-2200

Approximately 60 miles East of Burning Man. Fuel (avgas & Jet A), showers, fresh well water, friendly service, A&P, 7000 foot paved runway.

Spanish Springs N86

http://www.airnav.com/airport/N86 or http://www.spanishspringsairport.org
Phone: 775-772-8049 or 775-425-4285

Approximately 70 miles south of Burning Man. Very reasonably priced fuel, near Reno, courtesy car and very friendly service. Smooth but short dirt runway with obstacles. Definitely not for inexperienced pilots or aircraft that need lots of runway.

Reno/Stead RTS (formerly 4SD)

Phone: 775-972-5540 ASOS:775-677-0589

Approximately 75 miles South of Burning Man. Fuel (avgas & Jet A), near Reno, Enterprise car rental, 9000 foot, paved runway.

Reno International RNO

http://www.airnav.com/airport/KRNO or http://www.renoairport.com
Phone: 775-328-6400 ASOS: 775-324-6659

Approximately 82 miles South of Burning Man. Expensive fuel (avgas & Jet A), rides to local casinos, car rental, courtesy car.

Susanville SVE

Phone: 530-257-2030 ASOS: 530-257-0315

Approximately 72 miles South West of Burning Man. Fuel (avgas & Jet A), 4000 foot paved runway with obstacles nearby (power lines, mountains, etc...).

Derby (Lovelock) LOL

Phone: 775-273-4922

Approximately 62 miles South East of Burning Man. Inexpensive fuel, 5000 foot paved runway, not much else. Town of Lovelock is 10 miles away. Apparently the Cadillac Motel will come and pick you up and give you a ride into town if you are staying there.

Lakeview LKV

Phone: 541-947-4222

Approximately 92 miles North West of Burning Man. Fuel, 5306 foot paved runway.

Alturas AAT

Phone: 530-233-5125 ASOS: 530-233-5251

Approximately 62 miles North West of Burning Man. Fuel (avgas & Jet A), 4300 foot paved runway. Courtesy car.

Nervino O02

Phone: 530-832-6940

Approximately 79 miles south west of Burning Man. Fuel, 4700 foot paved runway.