Tag Archive for airport

Transparency difficult for Mi-Hile supporters

Otter at Longmont Vance Brand Airport

Mile-Hi Skydiving’s Twin Otter skydiving plane.

The noise from Mile-Hi Skydiving jump planes does not bother Ricky Lee Landrum one bit (Open Forum, Oct. 4). Mr. Landrum states that he lives near the airport and is a frequent golfer who plays at Twin Peaks Golf Course.

First, it’s curious that he is just now responding to my letter from three months ago. Second, Mr. Landrum fails to mention that he is an avid skydiver, as shown in his bio on the OpenStage Theatre and Company website.

The Mile-Hi jump planes operate for up to 12 hours or more a day, including every Saturday and Sunday. They climb aggressively over our homes and circle constantly over north Boulder County. It may not bother folks who are hard of hearing or who spend their days inside an air-conditioned home with the TV blaring. But for those who prefer to live with the windows open, or who spend a lot of time outdoors, the ubiquitous drone is quite irritating.

In 2007, Mile-Hi Skydiving executed a new Specialty Based Operator airport lease agreement with the city. According to the lease terms, South Parcel 11SD, which covers 180,723 square feet, will accommodate a greatly expanded skydiving center. This 20-year lease is currently inactive and will become effective when Mile-Hi breaks ground on construction of the new facility.

It is important to understand that Mile-Hi Skydiving aims to be one of the biggest skydiving centers in the country. Currently, it operates several jump planes concurrently, including two very noisy de Havilland Twin Otters. When Mile-Hi expands, presumably after the economy recovers just a bit more, we can all look forward to hearing several more jump planes operating concurrently. This news should be alarming to anyone who cares about their quality of life and property values.

Reckless helicopter

Enstrom 480

5 passenger 400HP turbine-powered, 8′ wide x 30′ long, 3000+ lbs – this is not a ‘small helicopter’

Imagine a scenario where you are enjoying a lovely backyard gathering on Memorial Day.  You begin to hear the distinctively loud thump-thump of helicopter propellers approaching your home.  Suddenly, a helicopter appears over the treetops and hovers just above the powerlines in your back yard.  This may sound unbelievable, but it really happened – and it was alarming.

At 6 pm a black helicopter with red markings did just that.  It came so close that I could see the pilot’s face.   I was able to track the aircraft on web track (webtrak.bksv.com/den) and verify that it landed at  Longmont’s Vance Brand airport.  I got in my car and drove the 8 miles to the airport to have a little chat with the pilot, but when I arrived the copter and pilot were nowhere to be found.

This isn’t the first incident where this Enstrom 480B* helicopter has harassed our neighborhood**.  Fortunately, this time we were able to record the aircraft’s N number and identify the operator, which is based at the Longmont airport. I filed a formal complaint with the FAA, feeling confident that the matter would be handled appropriately.  Instead, Jack Muldoon at the FAA informed me that the copter was not in violation of any rules.  According to the FAA, helicopters are not held to the same altitude restrictions as fixed-wing aircraft.  Over populated areas, airplanes must fly 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet – but not helicopters.

The voluntary measures currently in place to minimize impacts from aircraft operations are not sufficient.  A small number of pilots seem unconcerned about how their conduct affects local residents.  The solution is fairly simple – adopt reasonable and mandatory regulations aimed at protecting the local community from excessive aircraft noise and reckless pilots.


* N481SH owned by Doug Lyle of Lyle Aviation, 7733 N. 73rd St., Longmont, CO 80503. Current photo.

** Flight Path of N481SH from webtrak. Note: altitudes are estimated, time frame size is 15 seconds, hovers of under 10 seconds are not apparent.

*** corrected weight of helicopter to 3000 lbs as listed here.

Emergency landing on Hover

For years I have opposed extending the runway at Vance Brand Airport. My concern is safety. Planes fly as low as 400 feet over our home. The 80-decibel aircraft noise that routinely stops conversation in our backyard is troubling, but at least it is not terrifying.

A few years ago a plane crashed in our driveway and I returned home to find the driveway blocked by firetrucks, ambulances and sheriff’s cars. Yesterday it happened again, this time on busy Hover Street; just another harmless crash done with a dead engine in full emergency conditions. How many times will we turn a blind eye to these crashes and the tragedy that will happen someday? How will you feel when you lose a family member in such an avoidable tragedy?

What will it take to deliver this message to the City Council?

Remember the airliner crash in the Hudson River in New York and the fortunate survival of all? A flock of geese brought that aircraft down. We have thousands of geese circling inside the flight pattern each afternoon. No aircraft crash has yet been reported but just think about the possibility of it happening over downtown.

Why doesn’t the City Council take into consideration these safety issues? They keep touting that increasing air traffic over Longmont will bring in business and jobs. That is just pie in the sky thinking. They should consider the safety and well-being of residents.

Otter be a better way

You'll be hearing this ALL WEEKEND, get ready

This weekend Mile-Hi Skydiving will be aiming to set a Colorado State record for a formation skydive linking 70+ skydivers together in the air at one time. Instead of the usual 3 aircraft in operation, they will be using 5.

I’m sure that Mile-Hi Skydiving and the participating skydivers feel that they are striving for a laudable and daring stunt. But for thousands of Boulder County residents who live in Longmont, Niwot, Gunbarrel and beyond, it promises to be another weekend filled with obnoxious, tormenting airplane noise. Sure, I realize that some folks may actually “like” the reverberating sound of the Mile-Hi Twin Otter – just like some people like the sound of incessantly barking dogs and leaf blowers. But for most of us, enjoying the great outdoors on the weekend in relative peace and quiet is a simple pleasure that we truly appreciate. For many of us, the rural character of Boulder County enticed us to live here.

So, when you’re outside this weekend, take a moment to listen. That loud plane circling continuously high above is Mile-Hi Skydiving. They do not give a hoot about the noise they are creating nor your quality of life. To learn more about our efforts to address this problem, please contact us at SayNoToSkydiving@yahoo.com.