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Gnoss Field


Gnoss Field

Marin County Airport
Gnoss Field
Operator Marin County
Location Marin County, California
Elevation AMSL 2 ft / 0.6 m
Coordinates 38°08′37″N 122°33′22″W / 38.14361°N 122.55611°W / 38.14361; -122.55611Coordinates: 38°08′37″N 122°33′22″W / 38.14361°N 122.55611°W / 38.14361; -122.55611

Direction Length Surface
ft m
13/31 3,300 1,006 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 60 18 Concrete

Marin County Airport or Gnoss Field (IATA: NOTICAO: KDVOFAA LID: DVO), formerly O56, is a public airport located two miles (3.2 km) northeast of Novato, serving Marin County, California, USA.[1] The airport covers 90 acres (360,000 m2) and has one runway and one helipad.[2] It is used mostly for general aviation.

Although most U.S. airports use the same three-letter location identifier for the FAA and IATA, Marin County Airport/Gnoss Field is assigned DVO by the FAA and NOT by the IATA (which assigned DVO to Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, Philippines). The airport's ICAO identifier is KDVO. [3] [4]

There is currently a plan to extend the length of Gnoss' sole runway by 1100' to a length of 4400'. The county of Marin is currently commissioning an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to explore the impact of such an extension.[5]


The airport was opened by the Wright family just after World War II to serve what was expected to be thousands of ex-military pilots who would be flying for recreation and business after the war.

The Wrights original privately owned airport had a dirt runway and was located immediately west of the current airport, in what is now a grassy field. The last vestiges of the Wright airport buildings were burned down in a grass fire about 2005.

In 1973, the County of Marin purchased the airport and moved it to its present location, just east of the original location.

Most airport runways are laid out in a direction that takes the prevailing wind direction into account, in line with the prevailing winds – but somehow (and the stories are numerous), Gnoss's single runway is laid out almost exactly perpendicular to the prevailing offshore west winds. One of the stories for thos alignment is that financing from the Marin County government was tight so it was decided to lay out the runway in a similar fashion to the main runway at nearby Hamilton Air Force Base.

Gnoss Field celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2009–2010.

Past Airline Service

Stol Air Commuter operated flights between the airfield and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) with small aircraft during the 1970s. Stol Air operated Britten-Norman twin engine Islander and three engine Trislander which are both STOL (short take off and landing) capable aircraft.

Gnoss' famous crosswinds

Gnoss Field is well known to local pilots and flight instructors as an excellent airport to practice crosswind landings, especially during afternoons in the late spring and summer months when the west wind picks up. The single (31/13) runway is laid out on a similar heading as the close by Hamilton Air Force Base (closed) and Petaluma Municipal Airport (K069) runways, but the prevailing summer afternoon offshore west wind direction and speed at Gnoss Field are changed and amplified by the runway's close proximity to 1,555-foot (474 m)[6] Burdell Mountain, just west of the airport.

When Gnoss Field's crosswinds exceed pilot personal or aircraft limitations, local pilots generally choose to land at Petaluma Municipal / K069 (7.2 nautical miles (13.3 km), 327 magnetic heading) or Napa County Airport / KAPC (13.6 nautical miles (25.2 km), 058 magnetic heading). Petaluma Municipal rarely has significant crosswinds on its single runway (29/11) and Napa has multiple runways to choose from to accommodate the prevailing wind direction.

The typical Gnoss Field crosswind landing conditions expected on runway 31 are a stronger than reported headwind on right base and, in a typical training aircraft, a slight amount of wind shear about 100 feet (30 m) before the runway 31 threshold, settling down to a steady crosswind - but then adding to a slight headwind component, just past the near west side hangars. Most locally based small plane pilots either land short to be going below flying speed before the end of the near west hangars or touchdown after the end of the near west side hangars for more consistent wind conditions during landing.

Typical left traffic pattern 13 landings during high crosswinds are flown through varying rotor wind turbulence on the backside of Burdell Mountain and a relatively constant crosswind near the ground.

AWOS reports more closely conditions on the 31 end of the runway, and wind conditions are commonly significantly different on each end of the runway.

Gnoss has two windsocks. During remodeling in 2007 the "13" windsock was removed. By immediate popular demand, the 13 end windsock was replaced by airport management as soon as a replacement was located.

See also


External links

  • Marin County Airport at Gnoss Field (County of Marin web site)
  • Resources for this airport:
    • FAA airport information for DVO
    • AirNav airport information for DVO
    • FlightAware live flight tracker
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for DVO
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