Airport History

The first use of the airport was in 1951, when Mr. Newt Johnson opened it to service his dude ranch in what is known as the Lago Vista community. His dude ranch was known as the Bar K Ranch, and the airport was named the Bar K Airport. The runway alignment was generally more of an East-West compared to the existing runway alignment. Its length was approximately 2,509′, with a caliche surface.

Mr. Johnson sold his Bar K Dude Ranch in 1958 to Dr. Paul Harris, who continued development and named his development Bar K Ranch Subdivision, which today is a part of the City of Lago Vista, Texas. Dr. Harris, at that time, also assembled more land in the Lago Vista area to what is generally known today as the City of Lago Vista. His properties included the Bar K Airport.

Mr. John Moss acquired practically all of Dr. Paul Harris’ Lago Vista area property in 1968, and thereafter sold all of it to National Resort Communities, Inc. a division of National Homes, Inc. of Lafayette, Indiana.

National Homes then reconstructed and realigned the airport to the present alignment, RW15-33, and a length of 3804′. They also surfaced it with a two-course surface penetration asphalt treatment, installed lights, a windsock, and some automobile parking. They kept the name Bar K Airport and used it as a part of their asset and marketing to sell lots in their Lago Vista development. A non-precision VOR-DME instrument approach was put in service in about 1975, and was listed under Jonestown, Texas, an adjoining community which was unincorporated at the time.

National Homes platted the Bar K Airport Subdivision in April 1986 and began selling lots from that plat to persons wanting a lot adjoining the runway. However, National also sold some airport properties prior to platting through metes and bounds sales.

The first hangar construction in the Bar K Airport Subdivision at the airport occurred in about June 1980. Hangar construction then occurred slowly on other lots in the late 1980′s.

In 1990, National sold the airport to the Taiyo Corporation, a Japanese real estate company, which also bought most of National’s Lago Vista real estate. Taiyo then resurfaced the runway with 1-112″ of hot mix asphalt, including the area used today for transient parking. They also striped the runway and improved the airport lighting system.

Taiyo Corporation began experiencing financial difficulty in early 1993, and National Homes took its assets via several legal proceedings. A resulting entity from those proceedings was Lago Vista, Inc., which on July 29, 1993 offered the airport to the City of Lago Vista.

In August 1993, the City of Lago Vista appointed a blue-ribbon Ad-Hoc Committee to study the airport and determine whether or not to accept it, and if so, how to operate it. That Ad-Hoc Committee reported its findings and conclusions in a written report and several presentations to the city council of Lago Vista, Texas starting in October 1993.

The Ad-Hoc Committee found that the Bar-K Airport would be a good asset for the City of Lago Vista, and would contribute to the economic and social benefit of the City and the surrounding area. However, one of the key issues, from the City’s perspective, was the cost of operating the airport and some transaction costs for the conveyance of the property. The City wanted the airport, but would not agree to pay the $8,000.00 transaction costs, and did not want to incur the cost of operating the airport.

The property owners in the Bar-K Airport Subdivision organized into the Bar-K Airport Property Owners Association, Inc., paid the $8,000.00 for the City to acquire the airport, and entered into a contract with the City of Lago Vista to operate and maintain the airport for the City. These events occurred in August 1994.

The airport became municipally owned on August 25, 1994 and began operations pursuant to the City’s contract with the Bar-K Airport Property Owners Association, Inc. to operate the airport. At that time, there were approximately 17 aircraft based at the airport and ten buildings.

Interest in the airport and adjoining property accelerated immediately after it became municipally owned because it removed the apprehension associated to the prior private ownership. In late 1994, Curtis Miller built the first new building on the runway’s East Side, a 65′ x 125′ hangar and office. Thereafter, six new hangars were constructed and several existing hangars were rehabilitated for better usage. Also, the number of based aircraft and aircraft operations began to increase very rapidly.

In October 1994 many citizens of the City of Lago Vista and of the Lago Vista community urged the City of Lago Vista to rename the airport to Rusty Allen Airport in honor of Mr. Rusty Allen, a patriarch who has contributed significantly to the City of Lago Vista and the community. The airport’s operator changed its corporate name from the Bar-K Airport Property Owners Association, Inc. to the Rusty Allen Airport Property Owners Association, Inc.

The airport is continuing to experience more growth in operations and based aircraft. Interest in adjoining airport lots of the Bar-K Airport Subdivision has also increased. The airport now has 59 based aircraft, 49,200 square feet of public ramp space, self serve aviation fuel, and three aircraft maintenance shops for major and minor repairs.

The airport also housed the Lago Vista Airpower Museum and Library, which was founded in May 1992, until 2016. The goal of the Museum was to collect and display models of military aircraft from World War I to the present and other military memorabilia such as: guns, flying helmets, photographs and miscellaneous items.

Significant Dates

May 8, 1990

Lago Vista Airport, Inc. executes Declaration of Covenants Conditions and Restrictions for the Lago Vista Bar-K Airport Subdivision

September 1, 1993

Lago Vista Airport, Inc. forms Architectural Control Committee

March 26, 1994

By-Laws of the Bar-K Airport Property Owners Association, Inc. adopted (later renamed the Rusty Allen Airport Property Owners, Inc.)

August 25, 1994

Lago Vista Airport, Inc. conveys the airport property, Lots 48,49,50, and 57 of the Lago Vista Bar-K Airport Subdivision together with the runway easement at the North end, to the city of Lago Vista.

August 26, 1994

The city of Lago Vista enters into an airport management agreement with the Bar-K Airport Property Owners Association, Inc. (later renamed the Rusty Allen Airport Property Owners Association, Inc.)

September 15, 1994

The city of Lago Vista adopts an ordinance adopting minimum standards for the airport

October 20, 1994

City passes resolution changing airport name to “Rusty Allen Airport”

November 2, 1994

City requests a “stand alone” GPS approach for the airport.

January 10, 1995

City of Lago Vista requests that TxDOT and the FAA include the airport in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) and the Texas Airport System Plan (TASP).

February 9, 1995

TxDOT includes the Rusty Allen Airport in the TASP.

April 4, 1995

The United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service issues a letter ratifying the validity and perpetuity of the easement on the North end of the runway used for operating and maintaining an airport runway.

April 17, 1995

FAA includes the Rusty Allen Airport in the NPIAS.

April 25, 1996

Targa, Inc. Employees Profit Sharing, conveys Lot 52 of the Bar-K Airport Subdivision to the City of Lago Vista.

March 20, 1997

City of Lago Vista adopts an ordinance requiring a conditional use permit for a single-family residential unit within the C-4 zoning district (residence within a hangar)