FAA OKs cameras at Aspen airport | AspenTimes.com

FAA OKs cameras at Aspen airport

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport could be the first in the nation to use closed-circuit television cameras as part of its air traffic-control operations, airport officials announced Wednesday.

After five years of meetings, review and field testing, the Federal Aviation Administration this week approved use of the cameras as a way to improve visibility for air-traffic controllers on the proposed 1,000-foot extension of the airport’s runway.

Jim Elwood, airport director, called the approval an “important milestone” as work continues on the environmental assessment for the envisioned runway extension.

The cameras will eliminate the need for a much taller airport control tower. They can be used in conjunction with the existing tower, Elwood explained.

The TV camera technology will cost a fraction of a new airport tower, which could run upwards of $20 million, Elwood said in a press release. And, he noted, the airport won’t have to impact views of the mountains with a new, taller tower.

The TV camera system will cost about $500,000. There are two proposed camera locations on the Aspen end of the runway. The would be mounted on poles, giving air-traffic controllers a close-up view of takeoffs should the extended runway be constructed.

The FAA’s decision allows the environmental assessment for the runway extension to move forward. After its completion, the project must go through the county’s land-use approval process.

The county is looking to extend the runway in order to accommodate a broader range of regional jet service.


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