ANCHORAGE - Lake Hood is under new management after long-time leader Andy Hutzel stepped down in June.
Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tim Coons is now running one of the busiest and largest seaplane bases in the world.
After being stationed in Alaska in the '90s, Coons decided the Last Frontier is where he wanted to live with his wife and daughter after retiring.
With 500 floatplane slips and 500 wheeled airplane tie downs, overseeing the day-to-day airfield operations and safety at Lake Hood will keep the new manager busy.
Right now, Coons is preparing to open Lake Hood for winter operations.
“We are looking for an ice depth of 6 inches, but it's a quality of the ice such that it is capable of supporting take off and landing operations and the associated activity that might accompany it, whether it be vehicular or people going out to their airplanes to and from,” Coons said on Monday.
Many pilots who have transitioned from floats to skis are also waiting for a little snow to make it easier and safer to land and take off - though snow is not essential for Lake Hood to open.
“It would be roughly akin to attempting to ski on icy conditions, a little bit of snow would be better for overall control,” said Coons.
There’s currently a 9-year-long waiting list for people wanting to get slips for their planes at Lake Hood.