November 22, 2018

The Little Airport That Could


As an airport that bills itself as “the little airport that could”, Red Deer airport (CYQF), located near the central Alberta city of the same name, is slowly building its credentials as the region’s best kept secret.

Growth has been such that Nav Canada has announced the implementation of a ground advisory frequency (GND ADV) to alleviate the congestion present in the existing mandatory frequency (MF). The GND ADV frequency (121.9) is to be used for traffic information services, pre-taxi clearances and other advisory services. After dealing with GND ADV, pilots will be handed off to Red Deer Radio on 118.5.

See below for the Nav Canada Notice.

The airport, like many around the prairies, started out as a training base in support of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during World War Two. It eventually became CFB Penhold, which hosted a number of small military utility and training units over the years, but was better known for its hosting of Air Cadets from across Western Canada. The base was officially disbanded in May of 1992.

In 1965, the city of Red Deer took over operational aspects of the airfield and in 1980 oversaw the extension of runway 16/34 to 5500 feet. In September of 1999, Red Deer city and county took over ownership of the facility, continuing the growth of what was essentially an industrial airport. In 2017 the airport saw its runway again extended, this time by 2000 feet, for a total length of 7500 feet. The airport operators are hoping to attract scheduled airline services.