Mr. Robert B. Trull of Palacios, Texas, a 1936 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering is the named owner of West Kerr private airstrip. Several of his charitable organizations include The Trull Foundation and the UT Robert B. Trull Chair in Engineering. Like others Trull was involved in Texas oil and gas production.
By now you are starting to get the drift that Texas Oil has created a fair number of private airports! Flat Top Ranch is no exeception. Owner Louis Beecherl was chairman and chief executive officer of Texas Oil and Gas Corp. in Dallas from 1957 to 1977 and appointed to the UT Board of Regents by then governor Bill Clements. You can read more about Flat Top ranch (74TE) here. As depicted by the magenta ring around the air strip I suspect there is a (non-published) instrument approach procedure for 74TE. As always…landing permission required!
Scary name but it’s pronounced “Four Sixes” 6TE6 (BTW – I was once assigned 6666 for a transponder code…it was my first long cross country flight….thanks ATC!) The Four Sixes produces legendary Quarter Horses and Black Angus breeding stock. You can visit their Facebook page here. Founded by Captain Samuel “Burk” Burnett in 1868 – when he purchased 100 head of cattle wearing the “6666” brand from Frank Crowley of Denton, Texas – Burnett Ranches (6666 holding company) today encompasses 275,000 acres near Panhandle and Guthrie. More info about the Ranch on their web site here.
The Eagle Ford Shale geological formation in south Texas has been a boom to oil and gas producers in the area. Literally a “boom town” scenario for many of the small towns in the region. The Arrow S Ranch lies in the Eagle Ford area and is owned by Daniel Harrsion. Harrison in 2010 leased his 100,000-acre ranch in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas to Shell Oil Co. for $1 billion in cash, plus royalties for future oil and gas production.
You can read more about Harrison in this Houston Chronicle article.
Owned by Dallas energy entrepreneur Trevor D. Rees-Jones one interesting story tells of Jones’ 60th birthday party at the ranch with a guest list of 900 invitees! With 25+ private jets parked by the runway birthday entertainment was provided by the Blues Brothers and the Eagles. Cook Canyon ranch is one of the few private airstrips in Texas which actually has its own AWOS and [probably] has its own un-published instrument approach as suggested by the surrounding magenta Class E ring depicted on the VFR chart. You can read more about Trevor in this 2011 dmagazine article. Jones’ net worth is approximately $5.3 billion….but who’s counting? 🙂
Loyd Powell was owner of Devil’s Finger Oil & Gas. Powell was a classic oil man and Texas wildcatter and rose from rags to riches in the Texas Oil patch of yesteryear. Read more about him in this story in Texas Monthly.
In the mid 90’s the State of Texas took on Big Tobacco in a huge lawsuit. Billions of dollars were paid to the State……and needless to say attorney’s fees collected. Texas attorney F. Kenneth Bailey’s firm represented Texas in the lawsuit. Bailey owns and operates Fossil Creek Ranch complete with 5300 foot airstrip TE78. And oh…by the way…if you think you’d like to purchase it…… Fossil Creek is for sale for just under $16 million! You can read more about the ranch at this link: Fossil Creek Ranch
If you are up on all things internet you may have heard of a web site hosting company known as “Host Gator.com”. Brent Oxley started the company as a college drop-out and led an army of nerds there until its sale in 2012. Brent took the proceeds and purchased the OX ranch and built an air strip designated 01TX. Like all private strips permission is required to land here. An amazing 16,000 acre ranch in west Texas virtually un-touched by modern man in many places. You can read Brent’s blog about his ranch here: www.oxhuntingranch.com/blog/ranch-vision-and-owner/
Brent also has several interesting activities at the ranch including hunting, tank driving, spelunking (going into caves), and viewing ancient dinosaur tracks. Wow! Sounds fun!
If you are a student pilot flying your cross-country from Austin to T82 (Fredericksburg Gillespie County) it’s likely that you’ll fly near the LBJ Ranch. Now a national park Ladybird Johnson willed the Ranch to the National Park Service upon her passing in 2007. While serving as the 36th President of the United States Lyndon Johnson would arrive at his ranch via a 4-engine Lockheed Jetstar and land on the 6300′ private ranch runway. You can climb aboard the Jetstar which served as AF-1 at the LBJ ranch when you visit Johnson family ranch near Stonewall, Texas.
In my earlier piloting days in 2007 I noticed that the LBJ ranch (0TE7) had suddenly been removed from the San Antonio VFR chart. It seems that the National Park Service upon taking custody of the Ranch wanted the runway removed from the VFR charts. Because it was a significant landmark for students on their solo cross-country flights to T82 from Austin I lobbied the US government charting group to re-instate the LBJ Ranch so it could resume it’s role as an important VFR waypoint for pilots in the area. The charting office obliged me and re-instated 0TE7.
Only one pilot (who is a relative of the Johnson family) has permission to land at the strip and it is otherwise closed all other aircraft. Check out the Jetstar and the runway when you visit the LBJ Ranch and park. A real piece of US/Texas history!
Tuesday’s interesting private airport belongs to Oscar S. Wyatt. A self-made millionaire Wyatt was tried in court for making illegal payments to Iraq under the Oil for Food program.