Medic flight service, Glenwood Airport work to mitigate noise, odor complaints
Monday evening community forum to air concerns
Residents in south Glenwood Springs have expressed concerns over helicopter noise and fuel odor emanating from the city’s airport. The operator, Classic Air Medical, is working to mitigate any problems, which it plans to discuss at an upcoming community forum.
The meeting is scheduled to take place from 6-8 p.m. Monday at the Sopris Elementary cafeteria, 1150 Mt. Sopris Dr.
“The idea came about following some of the noise complaints we have received about the helicopter’s nighttime operations, and this is [Classic Air Medical’s] way of hoping to defuse that,” Glenwood Springs Airport Manager Amy Helm said.
Based out of Valley View Hospital, Classic Air Medical landed in the Roaring Fork Valley in April 2016 in order to provide faster medical transportation in critical cases to any hospital in the state from Glenwood Springs and the surrounding region.
“We do get a lot of questions and concerns regarding the helicopter,” Glenwood Springs Transportation Manager Tanya Allen explained. “We thought it would be constructive to really give [Classic Air Medical] an opportunity to get out there and talk about what they do and the contributions they make.”
According to Helm, weather dependent, the Classic Air Medical helicopter and crew will attend Monday’s forum and answer any questions community members might have.
Because the Glenwood Springs Airport typically serves as a daytime operation only, Helm said many south Glenwood residents were simply curious as to what the helicopter was doing, particularly late at night.
Classic Air gets an exemption to the airport’s normal hours of operation, because of the critical medical transportation services it provides.
While Helm said patients do not get transported from the Glenwood Springs Airport, Classic Air instead utilizes it as a base for helicopter maintenance and to refuel.
“We have had some questions and complaints related to refueling operations and smells associated with it, because it is very close to residential areas,” added Allen.
Helm explained, however, that the airport had already worked on mitigating a lot of those complaints by relocating many of Classic Air Medical’s operations farther away from homes over the last several months.
“We have tried to relocate all of the [Classic Air Medical] operations to the south end of the airport, so that they are no longer directly next to the neighborhood,” Helm explained.
Helm and Allen both said they hope that the mitigation already put forward would alleviate residents’ concerns, but also saw the meeting as an opportunity for community members to learn more about Classic Air Medical and its operations.
“I am definitely hoping for a big turnout,” Helm said. “We have been trying to reach out to all of the neighborhoods surrounding the airport, and I would love to see them at the meeting … not only to have their voices heard, but also so that they can meet the [Classic Air Medical] crew and see the helicopter up close. I think that is important and pretty cool.”