No need for Aspen airport expansion

Thomas J. Daly

Paul Andersen had a number of good points on why not to expand the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. I’d like to add a few more. I don’t believe the Aspen airport runway should be moved 80 feet west. That would bring it closer to the mountains that are already dangerously close for a go-around. A go-around is the last-second decision to abort a possible problematic landing.

The Aspen airport and Federal Aviation Administration approach chart shows one of the few airports that call for a go-around at 3,000 feet above ground. It may be the only one that calls to abort the landing at 3,000 feet. Most airports start their go-around at 1,500 feet. I’m surprised the FAA would even approve a move 80 feet closer to the mountains and still have a safe approach for a possible go-around.

Over the past several years, I have been directed by the control tower because air traffic was too busy to do as many as six 360-degree circles over the town of Aspen. Since it’s too busy now and maybe too dangerous, why would anyone want to increase the traffic, especially with larger airplanes?

I lived in Aspen in the ’60s; what a wonderful, small-town community. I thank god that I was fortunate enough to live in Aspen then. Why try to make Aspen into something bigger? I believe we would be taking away what some come here for: a small, beautiful alpine town.

John McBride, in his recent letter to the editor in The Aspen Times, had many good suggestions. McBride, like myself, is a pilot with many landings at the Aspen airport. McBride is right on with many of his ideas in the letter he had in The Aspen Times. We are losing the small-town atmosphere people are looking for. Some of us have been far too guilty of causing Aspen to expand.

Thomas J, Daly

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association National spokesman for the Aspen airport