Look quickly for today’s Air National Guard jets | PostIndependent.com

Look quickly for today’s Air National Guard jets

Roaring Fork and Crystal River Valley residents have three chances to glimpse Colorado Air National Guard F-16 jets during Fourth of July flyovers.

But look quick.

The jets will be zooming along at 330 to 380 miles per hour, according to Colorado Air National Guard spokeswoman Holly Peterson.

Carol Farris, who arranged the Carbondale flyover, said last year’s jets flew too high, so she asked them to drop lower this year.

“They should be flying at 1,000 feet,” said Air Force Major Tim Conklin. “That’s what the FAA regulations allow.”

Folks who have snapped their necks while tracking the jets over Aspen, Redstone and Carbondale report they hear a sudden roar first, then catch site of the jets on the horizon. They are overhead and gone in two or three seconds.

Farris said she expects the jets to fly over Carbondale’s Sopris Park at exactly 6 p.m. Farris lined up her suggested route by sending firefighter Bill Gavette to Sopris Park with a global positioning device, so she could relay the park’s coordinates to the Air National Guard.

“The jets should be directly over Sopris,” Farris said.

The jets will be the main attraction at 6 p.m. Cabaret Diosa takes the Sopris Park stage for the night’s concert at 6:45 p.m.

Peterson said the four jets will fly in a diamond formation as they fly over 23 communities around Colorado for the Fourth of July. The Aspen flyover is set for 12:15 p.m., and Redstone flyover will come five minutes later, at 12:20 p.m.

Before flying over Aspen and Redstone, the jets will pass over Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, Vail, Granby, Grand Lake and the State Capitol in Denver. Farris said the Carbondale flyover was originally scheduled for 11:30 a.m., but she got it changed to 6 p.m. to correspond with the concert in Sopris Park.

The jets have flown over Aspen for years. Farris has been arranging the Carbondale and Redstone flyovers since 1998, when she moved downvalley.

Farris arranged the flyovers as a representative of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce or the Carbondale Parks and Recreation Commission. The first five years, she lined up the flights early each year through letters to the Colorado Air National Guard. “I’d have to win their hearts over,” Farris said.

This year, all requests were directed to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

“Now, there’s an 11-page form the Pentagon has to OK,” Farris said. “The procedure has changed drastically.”

The jets, which are flown by Colorado Air National Guard pilots, recently returned from duty in Iraq, said Conklin, who is scheduling the flyovers.

The jets are stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, but are flying out of Denver International Airport while Buckley’s runway is being resurfaced, Peterson said.

Peterson said the Department of Defense limits “civilian domain” flyovers to aviation-related public events and national patriotic holidays.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534


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