Airport

Raul M. Rojas, Director, Public Works

Airport Manager

Dan Jensen
451 Airport Road
Novato, CA 94945
(415) 897-1754

Airport Weather

  • AWOS Radio: 120.675
  • Phone: (415) 897-2236

Aviation Info

Aviation Fuel

  • Phone: (415) 897-1653

Maps

Aviation Organizations

Photo of airport parking

"A mile of road will take you a mile, but a mile of runway will take you anywhere.” - Anonymous

The Department of Public Works operates Marin County Airport, known as Gnoss Field, for residents, visitors, businesses and local government agencies needing personal air transportation. The airport occupies 120 acres just north of Novato and east of Highway 101, where you can see several light green and beige hangars. We are home to about 300 aircraft and businesses, and are open 24 hours a day to serve the community.

The Marin County Airport serves as a reliever airport to the greater San Francisco Bay Area, shifting air traffic congestion away from larger airports with commercial airline flights. Airport users vary from daily flights for business people or flight training, to occasional trips for personal travel or special services of a government agency.

  • Airport Uses
    • Business flights connect with customers, suppliers and branch offices
    • Personal flights visit family, friends, or vacation spots, or bring visitors to Marin County
    • Medical flights transport patients via air ambulance, or organs for transplantation
    • Law enforcement flights land at the airport to coordinate with ground units and refuel
    • Fire-fighting aviation support uses the airport as situations demand
    • Civil Air Patrol, an auxillary of the US Air Force, trains and operates for airborne search and rescue, supports law enforcement, disaster preparedness, humanitarian services, as well as educates CAP cadets
    • Volunteer pilots fly Angel Flight missions to transport family members and patients not needing ambulance services
    • Aviation businesses employ local people for flight instruction, aircraft maintenance, aircraft sales, and aviation consulting

Self-Supporting Operation

The aviation users of the Marin County Airport support all of the airport expenses through their rents, transient fees, fuel fees, and concession fees on airport businesses. The annual budget exceeds $750,000. Capital projects and planning efforts receive federal and state grants, which are in turn funded by aviation fuel taxes from across the country or state. The airport does not receive any monies from the Marin County General Fund.

In addition, property taxes on aircraft and business assets return over $500,000 each year to Marin County, half of which goes to support the Novato Unified School District.

Airport News

  • August 2017
    • The County has retained professional services to investigate soil and groundwater conditions underneath the above-ground storage tank fueling facility at Gnoss Field, located at 451-A Airport Road in Novato. On August 30, starting 10:00am, four soil borings will be drilled at that location with a limited access drill rig truck. The work should take about 4-5 hours.

    • The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on Monday, August 28, at 1:00pm on the Commodore Marina Seaplane Base. Marin County's Community Development Agency is proposing to revoke or modify the use permit for seaplane operations in Richardson Bay in unincorporated Sausalito. The hearing will take place at the Marin County Civic Center, room 328. Click here to view the agenda and staff report.

    • The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on Monday, August 28, at 2:00pm on Rezonings and Development Code Amendments related to the Gnoss Field Area of Northern Unincorporated Novato, including the Gnoss Field Airport. Marin County's Community Development Agency is proposing to rezone 19 properties in the Gnoss Field Area because the subject properties are in a zoning district that is no longer a listed zoning district in the current Development Code. The proposed zonings would bring the subject properties into conformance with current zoning districts in a manner consistent with existing property uses. Furthermore, none of the proposed zoning changes affects the ability or the cost, or creates an obstacle to implementing the Gnoss Field Airport Master Plan adopted by the Board, or affects the criteria and implementation of the Airport Land Use Plan. The hearing will take place at the Marin County Civic Center, room 328. Click here to view the agenda and staff report.

    • NOTICE: The FAA has awarded Marin County Airport a grant for the Gnoss Field Runway Rehabilitation Project! This grant will fund the reconstruction of the 50-year-old runway, which will require closing the runway for 32 days per the construction contract.

      The tentative timeline for planning purposes estimates that the earliest the runway closure could occur is Wednesday, October 4. Following the contractor's proposed schedule, the runway may reopen as early as Sunday, November 5. This schedule is subject to change, please check back for updates.

      Anyone wishing to relocate their aircraft to nearby airports during the Gnoss Field closure, please contact:
      Petaluma Airport - Bob Patterson (707) 778-4404
      Napa County Airport - for tie down, contact:
      Greg Baer
      Napa Jet Center

      We are excited about the planned improvements, but understand the inconvenience they may cause. For questions or concerns, contact Dan Jensen, Marin County Airport Manager, at (415) 897-1754.

    • Standard maintenance activity is currently occurring at the airport with our County Roads division clearing hard-to-reach vegetation obstructions along the airport levees. They will also be continuing with asphalt crack sealing around the airport’s various non-runway pavement areas. Thank you for your patience while this maintenance is underway. Please be aware that this work is unrelated to the upcoming runway rehabilitation project.

    • As previously announced, Marin County Airport’s runway will be closed for rehabilitation for 32 days, currently scheduled from October 4 through November 5. At the September 12 Marin County Board of Supervisors session, the supervisors will discuss approving a one-month rental relief measure for aviation businesses located at Gnoss Field with current leases with the County during the runway closure. This rental relief measure does not apply to non-business related ground leases. However, while the runway improvements are being completed, there are several nearby airports that are offering aircraft parking at a minimal fee. Please see previous NOTICE for alternative airport options.

    • The contractor, Team Ghilotti, has received a notice to proceed from the County. In order to optimize the construction schedule, take advantage of good weather and possibly complete work earlier, the contractor may close the runway ahead of previously provided tentative schedule, as early as September 25, 2017. The 32-day duration of the closure is expected to remain the same. We will provide additional information and progress updates on a weekly basis. Thank you for your patience and understanding while these much-needed improvements to Gnoss Field’s runway take place.

  • September 2017
    • At the September 12th Board of Supervisors session, the supervisors voted to approve the rental relief for aviation businesses with County leases at Gnoss Field. The rental relief applies to the month of October while the airport’s runway is closed for the rehabilitation project and only for the County’s seven business leases at the airport. For questions or concerns, contact Dan Jensen, Marin County Airport Manager, at (415) 897-1754. CLICK HERE to view the Board of Supervisors letter regarding rent relief.

    • In preparation for the full runway rehabilitation project, the contractor (Team Ghilotti) will be conducting a materials test. The process will require an approximately 3-hour closure of the runway while the contractor works on a 4’x50’ test strip of asphalt. By doing this test ahead of the construction project, the contractor can optimize their production and reduce the chance of any potential construction delays during the actual project. The exact date of this short term closure has yet to be determined but will be announced online in advance and postings at the airport. If you have not already done so, sign up for subscription services to the airport web page and get automatic notices of new information posted on the web page.

    • There will be an estimated 3-hour closure of the Gnoss Field runway this Thursday, 9/21 and/or Friday, 9/22. Team Ghilotti plans to perform a test strip of the runway asphalt, as well as conduct "potholing" to map the electrical and culvert locations beneath the asphalt. They have also requested to perform the same strategic mapping (potholing) on the taxiways in 6 different locations, which may require 1-hour closures for each sample during Thursday and Friday as well. Allowing this preliminary work will improve the efficiency of the runway project and ensure the runway is only closed as long as is necessary for the main project. Please call the Airport Manager at (415) 897 1754 if this presents any problems.

    • Runway closed
      The runway rehabilitation project begins today, September 25, at Gnoss Field. As previously stated, the construction work requires the closure of the runway. The expected reopening is October 26. The County issued Notice to Proceed is available for viewing.

    • The Gnoss Field runway rehabilitation officially began Monday, September 25, with construction work getting underway by the contractor, Team Ghilotti. Equipment has been mobilized and several potholes have been drilled. Erosion control and sediment control best management practices have been implemented along the runway as a precaution. The County’s Notice to Proceed is available for viewing.

      A construction process meeting was held between the contractors and the Marin County DPW project leads. Team Ghilotti provided this 3-week schedule of construction activity. The next major construction phase is the grinding of the existing runway pavement and cross section. The schedule reflects the expected timetable and the runway remains on target with October 26 as the anticipated reopening date.

    • Runway closed
      Runway closed
      Runway closed
      Runway closed
      County staff is excited about the progress made in the first full week of the runway rehabilitation project. Large heavy equipment has been brought in by the contractor and over a quarter of the runway pavement has been ground up, screened and stockpiled on site this week. The ground up asphalt is being sorted on site so that as much of it as possible can be reused and recycled as the runway subbase. Geogrid material has been delivered and will be used to strengthen the runway subgrade where needed. Work is progressing on schedule and we expect that next week the contractor will continue to completely grind up the entire runway.
  • October 2017
    • Runway with Geogrid being installed
      Work continues on the runway rehabilitation project. The grinding of all the existing runway asphalt was completed on Tuesday, October 3. Grade and leveling survey points are being set prior to start of importation of the subbase material, which is the next major construction phase. The placement of geogrids (plastic grid meshes) began on Wednesday, October 4, in areas needing subsurface strengthening. A test asphalt pavement strip is expected to be done at the San Rafael Rock Quarry next week to evaluate pavement quality.

    • Please be aware that the fires in Sonoma and Napa have not impacted Gnoss Field airport. We hope for the safety of all people involved in this horrible emergency, and for a successful containment and quick resolution of the fires.

    • It is unfortunate to report that construction progress for the week October 9th stopped. The material produced from grinding the runway by the contractor the prior week, and intended by the contractor to be used as the runway subbase material, did not meet all of the material specifications for all of the material produced. County staff and our construction manager have been working with the contractor and with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop a viable solution that allows the project to move forward. A workable solution has so far not been determined. The runway reopening date has now been delayed by a minimum of one week.

      In addition, the contractor tested material below the asphalt runway and found low levels of naturally occurring asbestos containing material, likely from the existing base material. The county has hired an environmental consulting firm which has verified the results and is preparing response plan that safeguards the environment, contract employees and the general public.

      We will provide further updates as information becomes available.

    • A partnership meeting was held today (Wednesday, October 18) between County staff, the construction manager/design engineer and the construction contractor for the Gnoss Field runway rehabilitation project. All parties are working towards a solution to reopen the runway as soon as possible.

      A critical factor is the determination that the subgrade material contains naturally occurring asbestos above certain regulatory levels. This substance is also found in the onsite stockpiled material which will be reused as the runway subbase, and then covered by base rock and asphalt. The next few days and all of next week will be focused on worker training, submitting a work plan to the Bay Area Air Quality Control Board and receiving approval of the work plan. Additional ambient air monitoring will also begin at the airport to verify and document acceptable air quality levels. With these measures and approvals construction work will continue on the runway.

      Additional updates will be provided as details and new information develops. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process.

Good Neighbor Policies

The County of Marin ensures land use policies support development projects near the airport that are compatible with continued aviation operations. These policies address airspace protection, noise impacts, overflights, and safety.

The airport also publishes guidelines for noise abatement procedures to avoid sound intrusion and overflights of nearby residences and businesses. If you want to report aircraft noise that you believe is associated with airport operation, click on the link below to use the on-line aircraft noise report form or call the airport manager at the phone number listed above. Please indicate on the form or in the message if you wish that the airport manager contact you.

Report an Aircraft Noise/Overflight Occurrence

 

Information for Nearby Residents

Learn More About Gnoss Field

Airport users welcome nearby residents to become more familiar with the benefits and policies that ensure the continued operation of a valuable county transportation asset. Good relations with neighbors have become important priorities for airport users, the County, Caltrans Division of Aeronautics and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

To visit the airport, or to learn more, please contact the Airport Manager or the Gnoss Field Community Association (GFCA)

Flight Regulations for Operating over Populated Areas

Pilots and aircraft operators must follow regulations established by the FAA for safe flight practices and compatible operations, which govern aircraft certification, pilot certification, airport certification, and flight procedures. For instance, new jet aircraft since 2006 must meet stringent noise emission standards, called Stage 4 requirements, that impose lower noise levels than earlier Stage 3 standards, and noisier Stage 2 jets will be prohibited from flying in the US after December 2015.

Flight procedures impose restrictions on how low aircraft may fly. Normally over congested or populated areas, aircraft must fly higher than 1000 feet over the highest obstacle within 2000 feet. Exceptions are provided for aircraft landing or taking off from a runway, and for aircraft, especially helicopters, flying with a waiver for specific low-altitude purposes, such as pipeline and powerline patrols. Exceptions are also provided for law enforcement, military and fire fighting operations.

Grants from the FAA to improve airports require the County provide assurances on how they operate and protect the airport. One important area concerns compatible land use planning around the airport. In California, an Airport Land Use Commission addresses four major planning factors that involve safety, protecting airspace from hazards, noise impacts and overflight issues.

In California, the Department of Real Estate requires the disclosure to buyers of real property within two miles of an airport that the property may be subject to aircraft noise and overflight impacts.

Finding Information about Flight Activity at Gnoss Field

People interested in tracking flight activity at Gnoss Field may use several web-based services. Aircraft flying on flight plans landing or departing from Gnoss Field can be located using FlightAware, including activity for the previous several days. Aircraft tracked by radar may be located using FlightRadar24, including a playback option for the past seven days. Radio communication by planes using the Gnoss Field CTAF frequency may be heard on the Internet using LiveATC , including an audio archive of past communications for 30 days.

Information About Airport Planning

Airport planning efforts require outreach to airport users and the community, such as the Gnoss Field Vision Process and stages of environmental and project reviews. The Gnoss Field Visioning Report was presented to the Board of Supervisors on November 4, 2014.

Additional information on airport planning can be found in the meetings and agendas of the Airport Commission.

  • Notice For Public Meeting - DBE Program 3/30/17
  • Hangar Ground Lease Proposed Rate Increase
  • Runway Rehabilitation Proposal
  • FAA Public Hearing, Runway Ext. Purpose and Need Working Paper
  • Wildlife Hazard Assessment
  • Information for Pilots, Instructors and Aircraft Owners

    Welcome to Marin County Airport, Gnoss Field. This information should help you plan your flight into and out of the only public-use airport in Marin County.

    Airport Information for Pilots

    Typical Weather

    Weather at Gnoss Field might be called California nice. Morning low clouds often burn off before noon. The marine layer comes in occasionally from the Pacific Ocean due west or wraps around from the Golden Gate through San Pablo Bay from the southeast. Storms in the winter usually come from the southwest. Otherwise, most days are clear and pleasant.

    • AWOS radio: 120.675
    • AWOS phone: 415-897-2236
    Crosswinds

    Crosswinds frequent Gnoss Field due to the high terrain to the west and cool waters of San Pablo Bay to the southeast. Gusts often increase the challenge of landing, so be prepared to go around. Some pilots claim that landing with crosswinds are better on runway 31 than runway 13 due to hangars and terrain, but be cautious.

    Noise Abatement Procedures

    Noise sensitive residents occupy homes to the south and southeast of the airport. Please see the Noise Abatement Procedures. In summary, no straight in approaches to runway 31 over the homes, and no straight out departures from runway 13 over the homes. Please fly tight traffic patterns for runway 31 to avoid overflight of the homes south and southeast of the airport.

    VFR Procedures

    VFR procedures must avoid the radio towers, which are 520' MSL. Traffic patterns may be inside or outside the towers depending on the performance of your aircraft. Approach the traffic pattern from outside the towers. For landing on runway 31, do not fly straight-in and turn base abeam the towers and plan a one-half mile final.

    Instrument Procedures

    Gnoss Field has one instrument approach, GPS RWY 13. The minimums are 1000' MSL due to towers and terrain.

    Instrument departures involve turns to headings 080 degrees from runway 13 and 360 degress from runway 31.

    Clearance for instrument departures can be received from Oakland Center, either by radio on the ground or through the FAA phone service. Some pilots file IFR flight plans with pickup points at nearby VORs, either Scaggs Island (SGD), Santa Rosa (STS), or Point Reyes (PYE).

    • Oakland Center: 127.80
    • FAA Clearance: 888-766-8267
    Itinerant Parking

    Gnoss Field reserves transient parking on the ramp closest to the administration building in spaces outlined in blue stripes. Large aircraft may park at both ends of the row; smaller aircraft in between facing the runway.

    Fuel

    Full-service fuel is available at 415-897-1653

    Wash Rack

    The wash rack is located on the east side of the runway, midfield, between the two sets of hangars. Signs limit usage to selected days due to the California drought.

    Gate Access

    Several pedestrian gates allow people to walk through between the ramp and the parking lots. Vehicle gate access requires card entry, available from the Airport Manager and generally issued to airport tenants.

    Wildlife Incident Report

    Marin County requests that pilots report encountering wildlife on, above or near the airport. Use this form, as well as FAA form 5200-7 in the case of a wildlife strike.

    Airport Information for Instructors

    Numerous flight instructors train students at Gnoss Field, some based on the field and others seeking challenging conditions due to the crosswinds.

    Crosswinds

    Prepare your students for the effects of gusty crosswind conditions. Winds rarely stay steady with variable speeds and directions common. Gusts to 25 knots are not uncommon with crosswinds ranging from 45 to 90 degrees across the runway.

    Some pilots report that winds are more variable and challenging when landing on runway 13, due to terrain and less calming influence of the hangars at the runway 31 end.

    Training areas

    Training areas may be used southeast of the airport near the mouth of the Petaluma River. Please avoid training flights over populated areas of Marin County, along highway 101, and inland lakes surrounded by homes.

    Please avoid simulated engine power loss when near the noise-sensitive areas south and southeast of the airport, especially when landing on runway 31. Changes in engine noise cause greater annoyance than constant noise. Use runway 13 for such procedures.

    Reporting Points

    Pilots in the area of Gnoss Field frequently use these reporting points:

    • Sears Point Raceway: about 6 miles east of the airport
    • Mouth of the Petaluma River: about 4 miles southeast of the airport
    • Highway 37: also about 4 miles southeast of the airport
    • KCBS Towers: the four illuminated radio towers, 520' MSL, about 1.5 miles southeast of the airport
    • Bend in the River: a prominent bend in the Petaluma River about 4 miles north of the airport
    • Landfill: a common base turn location about 1.5 miles north of the airport

    Airport Information for Aircraft Owners

    Aircraft owners and operators may park or store their aircraft at Gnoss Field.

    Transient Parking

    Daily transient parking is free and no commercial landing fees apply.

    Aircraft parked overnight on tie-downs will be tagged and fees are $10/night for small aircraft, $15/night for turboprop aircraft, and $20/night for turbine aircraft.

    Hangars

    Hangars at Gnoss Field are clustered in three areas: A-hangars north of the ramp, B-hangars south of the ramp, and C-hangars on the east side of the runway. Hangars in the A and B clusters are privately owned on leased ramp space. Many are for rent or sale privately. Several offers are posted on the bulletin boards around the airport.

    Hangars in the C cluster are leased from Marin County. All of the county hangars are presently rented, although a waiting list is being maintained.

    County Storage Permit Form

    To request a permit to store an aircraft at Gnoss Field, use this form to request a tie-down space on the ramp, a portable hangar or a county hangar.

    Aircraft Storage Permit Form

    Information About Airport Businesses

    On-Airport Businesses
    Business Name and Services Phone
    Andres Amil Ill
    Aircraft maintenance
    415-342-7834
    Aero Club Marin
    Flight instruction, Aircraft rental
    415-898-4834
    Air Ward
    Pilot supplies, Flight instruction, Aircraft rental
    415-342-7834
    Direct Avionics
    Aircraft maintenance, Avionics maintenance, Aircraft rental
    415-892-3511
    John Ward Flight Training
    Flight instructions
    415-898-2466
    James Simons MD
    Senior Aviation Medical Examiner
    415-899-9727
    Scanlon Aviation
    Aircraft maintenance, Flight instruction, Aircraft rental
    415-342-7834
    Sky Ranch Upholstery
    Aviation interior upholstery
    415-893-9721
    DT Group Refueling
    Full service aviation fuel: 100LL, JetA
    415-897-1653
    TJ Neff Aircraft Sales
    Aircraft sales
    415-898-5151
    Airport Area Businesses
    Business Name and Services Phone
    Enterprise Rent-A-Car
    Rental Car
    415-898-3500
    800-704-8222
    Hertz Local
    Rental Car
    415-892-1121
    800-704-4473
    Novato Oaks Inn/Best Western
    Hotel
    415-883-4400
    Marriott Courtyard
    Hotel
    415-883-8950
    Days Inn
    Hotel
    415-261-1861
    Novato Taxi
    Taxi
    415-898-8484
    Radio Cab
    Taxi
    415-485-1234
    North Marin Taxi
    Taxi
    415-261-1861

    Information for Young People and Women in Aviation

    Young people in Marin County enjoy several opportunities to participate in aviation activities. The airport observation area near the north gate on Airport Road provides a place to watch planes arrive and depart, to listen to the radio traffic, and spot airplanes near the airport. The Young Eagles program introduces young boys and girls to flying through volunteer flights hosted by the local chapter 1232 of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Local aviation businesses and the Gnoss Field Community Association have invited young people to tour the airport, airport businesses.

    Women in aviation work and fly out of Gnoss Field. The Marin 99s represent women in Marin County that participate in the Ninety-Nines, the international organization of women pilots that promote advancement in aviation through education, scholarships and mutual support. Women at Gnoss Field work as flight instructors and aircraft mechanics at several of the airport businesses.