Paso Robles Municipal Airport received an unusual visitor this month. A huge Royal Air Force aircraft in town for training at Fort Hunter Liggett.
On Monday, the RAF will A400 Airbus, a vehicle large enough to carry 116 fully equipped troops, vehicles, helicopters, etc.according to the Royal Air Force website.
Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin told the Tribune in an email that the Royal Air Force ended up in Paso Robles because it needed a base of operations to train high-altitude paratroopers.
“Paso Robles is geographically close to the Fort Hunter Liggett training area, has facilities to accommodate large A400 aircraft, and enjoys favorable weather conditions year-round,” said Martin.
All these features made it a good airport for visiting troops.
According to the RAF, the payloads dropped from the A400 will be the paratroopers, who will exit the plane’s fuselage by parachute.
Martin told the Tribune that he believed the plane was only used to transport troops and that he would use a smaller aircraft for training at Hunter Liggett.
This was the first visit by the Royal Air Force to Paso Robles Airport that Martin can remember, but it may not be the last.
The City of Paso Robles is considering a one-year pilot program with the RAF to measure impacts on airports. The Airport Commission will be responsible for the feasibility study.
Martin said he was told up to 80 troops could come to train here for weeks at a time.
The city of Paso Robles is open to using the airport’s capabilities to receive future international visitors, Martin said.
“The telephone line is open,” he said.
The Paso Robles Airport Commission is also working to secure a license through the Federal Aviation Administration. Turn a municipal airport into a horizontal launch spaceport.
of Spaceport licenses are expected to be issued in June 2024.according to a past Tribune report.