Lightning strike shuts down airport
July 30, 2006
Lightning hit equipment atop Aspen Mountain that is critical to jets landing at Sardy Field on Saturday evening, shutting down the airport and forcing travelers to Grand Junction.The repairs were complete by 9 a.m. Sunday. The total number of flights affected wasn’t known Sunday, but a United employee said four of the company’s flights from Aspen to Denver were canceled Saturday night. Sunday’s 8:15 a.m. Delta’s flight to Salt Lake City was canceled, as well.The lightning, which hit the equipment around 7 p.m., was part of a powerful thunderstorm that moved through the upper Roaring Fork Valley.The damaged apparatus helps commercial pilots navigate, said Vinnie Oliver, shift supervisor at the airport.”SkyWest planes cannot fly without that piece of equipment up and running,” he said, referring to the regional airline that serves Sardy Field.When asked how many flights were affected, he said “all of them” but was unsure of an exact number. He referred further questions to airport director Jim Elwood, who wasn’t available Sunday.