Antenna work affects flights into Aspen
October 12, 2010
ASPEN – The repair of a critical piece of navigational equipment atop Aspen Mountain caused some flight delays and cancellations at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport last weekend and more are possible, according to airport officials.
The Federal Aviation Administration is repairing a localizer directional aid (LDA), which provides guidance to pilots when they are using a conventional instrument approach to the airport. The work has been timed during the offseason to reduce the impacts.
“The existing antenna system has been in need of repair for some time,” said Bob Brown, a system engineer with the FAA, in a press release issued Monday by the county. “This project has been one of the FAA’s top priorities. The planned facility shutdown is being done during a time that would have the least impact to the airport.”
The mountaintop LDA was shut down Friday. It is expected to be back in service by Oct. 22. Until then, local commercial flights may be affected when instrument approaches are required.
Both commercial airlines serving Aspen are currently operating on reduced schedules. Frontier is operating one flight per day and so far, none have been canceled as a result of the LDA shutdown, according to airport officials. Several United Express flights, operated by SkyWest Airlines, were affected over the weekend. SkyWest operates six flights per day.
“It is unfortunate that some of our customers were inconvenienced over the weekend,” said Francey Jesson, assistant aviation director of operations, in the press release.
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There are two localizer antennae serving the Aspen airport – the one atop Aspen Mountain and one at the south end of the runway. Repairs to the LDA on the mountain required that the old antenna system be shut down so new equipment can be installed. The two localizers work in conjunction as part of a system used by pilots.