A WHOLE NEW HOLE – It’s almost hard now to call “the hole” “the hole” anymore. The transition to the new area is done, and I went into this new all low altitude area. They can take me out of the hole, but they can’t take the hole away from me, or something like that. Here’s the deal: What was referred to as “The Hole” was a low altitude position between, roughly, Grand Canyon and Alamosa. It was basically a bastard child alone in it’s own little area, nice, dark, and quiet – and most importantly free of management intrusion, to some extent. Now it has been absorbed into this all low altitude area (the ground up to FL260). This area includes the following airports: Grand Junction, Telluride, Montrose, Gunnison, Rifle, Eagle, Aspen,
Kremmling, Hayden, Steamboat Springs, and Craig. It feeds arrivals from the northwest and southwest into Denver, and departures to the west out of Denver. The airspace that was added to “the hole” has been referred to the “central area”, the “mountain area”, and Area 1. It’s now the only all low altitude area at Denver Center. My old area is now the only all high altitude (FL260 and above) area at Denver Center, boring. So, in closing, can this new area really be called “The Hole” anymore? Well, nobody will probably call it that anymore, but the legend lives on (as long as I say it does) as will the stories – and believe me, just from what I’ve seen in the last couple of months getting my feet wet, the fun never stops. So on we go…
HONORABLE MENTIONS – Supposedly, some of my new coworkers have had pilots ask about this website on frequency. One word of advice to you pilots who enjoy this site: try to avoid the “Hall of Shame”, nuff said.
HALL OF SHAME #12 – Had a new one happen (on a checkride no less) on frequency. Fairly busy at probably the most complex sector in the area, maybe the Center. This is Sector 6, freq 128.65, and it handles Denver west departures, Aspen arrivals from the east, and most importantly Eagle airport. It’s getting backed up at Eagle, which isn’t uncommon, speeds and vectors for all. One guy, and I won’t say the company, but it starts with an O and ends with ptions, gets the same speed and vector as everyone else and responds with “are you sure”? Bad move, Ace.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS – As you’ve no doubt read in these blogs, I prefer low altitude and the pilots it brings along with it. The new addition to The Hole has less VFR flight following than what I’d gotten used to, mainly due to much higher terrain and so-so radar and radio coverage due to that very terrain. So the majority of the traffic I’ve seen so far has been fractional/private jets and airliners, ranging from turboprops to 757’s. Been a little disappointed in the attention factor – theirs, not mine. Much of that can be chalked up to start of the season, them not used to it (mountains, weather, snow, ice, turbulence, etc), and it’s bound to improve. Tough to have to repeat things, like very long drawn out approach clearances, when you barely have time to do it the first time. To combat this, I’ve tried as much as possible to ask exactly what the pilot wants, so as not to surprise him/her with an unexpected clearance, but even that only works half the time! A work in progress.
WHAT’S IN A NAME #7 – Jefferson County Airport, aka Jeffco (BJC) is now known as Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (still BJC) or some nonsense. There’s no short way to say that, RockMet? I know, I’ll use – Jeffco. Way back before I lived in Colorado I saw an old chart for this airport and the “B” in BJC stood for Broomfield. Well, Broomfield made their own county from parts of Jefferson, Boulder, and I believe part of Weld counties. Apparently, according to BJC’s website, this airport is entirely within Jefferson County still – SO WHY THE NAME CHANGE???!!! Seriously lame.