Letter: Misinformed airport consultants
I’m writing to share my thoughts from attending the Airport Planning Scenario public meeting from March 6.
Our city hired Gruen, Gruen + Associates as consultants to provide expert advice on the airport. As a life-long aviation professional and a 20-year veteran helicopter pilot of the Colorado National Guard, it became quickly apparent to me that the consultants knew exactly diddly squat about aviation.
The meeting started with Gruen, Gruen + Associates stating that emergency medical airplanes cannot land at the Glenwood Springs Airport. This is absolutely false.
Our state has five airplanes for medical transport needs. Four of them (Pilatus PC-12s and Beechcraft King Airs) regularly use our airport to transport patients. The single airplane in Colorado that cannot land is a LearJet that is used to transport organs across the country for things like heart transplants.
Since Valley View Hospital does not perform heart transplants, there is very little reason for the jet to land here.
Starting a meeting with wrong information from “experts” shows how little they know. The meeting went quickly downhill from there.
They also showed zero understanding of helicopter operations. It had to be explained to them that in high density altitude conditions (high temps+high elevation=less lift) that we have here may require a helicopter to take off using ground effect on the runway much like an airplane would.
The consultants were also surprised to learn that there are many conditions where a helicopter needs a runway to land, particular in an emergency condition.
If our city is going to spend our tax dollars on consultants to come up with a plan for the airport, I would prefer them hiring competent ones instead of the ones that have no idea what they are talking about.
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