3/25/12 Times Call Opinion: “Approve Longmont Airport Master Plan”

(As printed in the March 25, 2012 Times Call Opinion page)

In the March 13 Times-Call, it was reported “Airport officials have said a longer runway would let Vance Brand serve more of its aircraft more of the time. At Longmont’s elevation, a hot summer day can make it difficult for some planes to take off when fully loaded.”

I’d like to add, despite what I hear repeatedly from NIMBYs, the runway extension isn’t just for billionaire jets.

Runway extension would also allow for smaller airplanes based at Vance Brand to top off their tanks. While I am married to a pilot and member of the Airport Advisory Board, as a parent I wouldn’t ask others to take their families in their cars for a cross country trip without a full tank of gas. Figuring weather, passenger load and type of aircraft, the current runway often prevents fueling up with a full tank, which also deprives our city gas tax revenue. Those who tell me we can just stop and get more gas along the way apparently don’t realize that you’re airborne. That is a safety issue.

Improving the base of operations is also no different from improvements to roads that keep driving families safe. A longer runway also does not necessarily mean louder planes. Prop airplanes are louder than jets. Keeping our airport the way it is and not allowing improvements/expansion to it will not decrease noise.

Approving the airport master plan does not guarantee runway extension will occur and is dependent on the federal budget, but I think it’s selfish to ask that the airport limit itself because some who chose to live near it, and don’t use it, don’t want to see it grow. If you use air travel, you pay into the aviation fund. I’d rather see money from that come back into my community airport.


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