Longmont Hires Safety Consultant to Examine Use, Configuration of Vance Brand Municipal Airport
Longmont has hired an aviation consulting firm to audit the safety and configuration of public use areas at Vance Brand Municipal Airport, including the landing area used by skydivers, the city announced Tuesday.
Florida-based Quadrex Aviation, owned and operated by David Byers, will conduct a “safety risk management analysis” of the airport.
That process will include stakeholder engagement, review of airport uses and regulations, and comparisons of uses and regulations tosimilar airports that accommodate recreational users such as skydivers.
The move to hire Quadrex was prompted by concerns raised by Mile-Hi Skydiving — whose customer Logan Polfuss, 23, died in an October accident after jumping from a flight out of Vance Brand — as well as concerns from other skydivers, airport tenants, the Longmont aviation community, residents and elected officials, according to a city news release.
The consultant will lend objective expertise to inform possible changes to the public use area and other operational areas of the airport to boost efficiency and safety, according to the city.
Longmont resident and pilot Jeff Bowman, who keeps a plane at Vance Brand and flies out of airport, said there have been times when he is trying to take off but a parachutist overhead above the runway.
“I’ve seen that more than once. I think it’s difficult for general aviation pilots like myself to operate in an environment with people flying across the runway,” Bowman said, adding there are no issues “99 percent of the time.”
Bowman was part of an informal committee formed in an attempt to expedite development of Vance Brand so it can become more of a commercial aviation hub . The committee compiled a report laying out three options for the airport’s development that it plans to present to city council in the “near future,” Bowman said. He declined to share details of the report with the Times-Call until council is briefed.
The committee was examining whether it could fast-track the extension of Vance Brand’s runway, a project that has been identified by the city as a five- to 10-year capital improvement that remained unfunded as of September.
Quadrex will be paid $29,737 from the city’s Airport Fund, plus expenses, for its safety and land use examinations. Its review is not related to complaints about noise produced by airport activity.
“This is first and foremost about safety,” Longmont Airport Manager David Slayter stated in the news release. “The analysis is part of a process that will identify any changes we may need to make to ensure the airport operates at the highest level of safety. Under federal law, the airport must accommodate all aeronautical uses, but we also need to take appropriate steps for the safety of airport users and those on the ground.”
A safety risk management analysis is routinely performed at airports across the country, but Quadrex’s will be the first ever at Vance Brand in its 70-year history, according to the release.
Quadrex started its review last month and it is expected to be complete by April.
Vance Brand hosts 14 businesses, according to the release, and generates a total economic output of $27 million annually, according to a study led by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, firstname.lastname@example.org and twitter.com/samlounz .