Ross: All for county taking over airport
I have been a licensed private pilot for over 50 years and have been a tenant at Aspen’s airport with my single-engine Piper Dakota for 35 years.
Needless to say, I’ve been very frustrated with the huge influx of large private jets over the past several years, especially since the pandemic. I have also been frustrated with the neglect, lack of service, and high fuel prices (with no more locals’ discounts) from the current FBO. As challenging as it might be, I would much rather see Pitkin County take over the operation of an FBO, obviously contracting out some of the specialized services. The idea of a huge corporation making millions of dollars from our local airport is sickening.
Regarding widening the runway to accommodate larger commercial jets: Years ago, when the idea of bringing in B-737s was first proposed, I came up with the slogan, “It’s not the plane for this terrain!” Research has shown that the regional jets and similar aircraft still have plenty of service life left. Larger planes would create many more potential dangers, with Aspen not having the capability or facilities to treat increased numbers of people after a crash. … It’s a very tight valley in which to execute a 180 degree turn.
The increase in air pollution is also a serious concern. We need to convert to more efficient and cleaner-burning aircraft, while still keeping them small enough to handle the challenges of Aspen.
It seems like the people pushing for these “improvements” are a small number of billionaires who want to be able to land their much larger Gulfstreams here in Aspen. How many times lately has the airport been closed, inconveniencing thousands of passengers and pilots because a private jet has run off the runway?
Please stop using the excuse of needing larger commercial planes, as we know that’s not the real reason.