Airport plan misleads and confuses public |

Airport plan misleads and confuses public

Dear Editor:

We recently received confirmation from Gulfstream Corp. that the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport administration has approved the new Gulfstream 650 to fly into and out of our airport. This, despite the fact that the aircraft has a 99-foot, 7-inch wingspan, almost 5 feet longer than the 95 feet allowed by Pitkin County regulations.

Our airport administrator approved this obvious violation of the 95-foot limit by simply declaring that the outermost 3 feet of each wing would not count. Why? Because the outer 3 feet is bent upward at a 45-degree angle. (If the wing did not have the bend in the outer 3 feet, the wingspan would far exceed 100 feet.)

Now, after we publicly exposed this blatant disregard of the county’s 95-foot wingspan requirement, Jim Elwood (airport administrator) is attempting to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to “rule” that the Gulfstream 650’s wingspan is really 93 feet, 8 inches.

We would like to ask two simple questions:

1. Would the aircraft fit through a 95-foot door? Answer: Obviously not.

2. Would the aircraft’s flight characteristics remain the same if the outer 3 feet of each wing were removed? Answer: Absolutely not.

This attempt to hide behind an FAA ruling is just one example of tactics our airport administration is using to ram this new airport master plan through the approval process. Are you confused as to why we started another 20-year airport master plan in 2008, just four years after we approved a 20-year master plan in 2004-05? Are you under the false impression that somehow this new master plan has been “mandated” by the FAA?

If you are confused and misled, there is a reason: It is being done on purpose.

Cliff Runge

Citizens for Responsible Airport Development

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