FAA working to have its equipment back in service in Aspen as soon as possible
(Aspen, CO) The Federal Aviation Administration’s repair of a critical piece of air navigational equipment on top of Aspen Mountain caused some flight cancellations and delays at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport over the weekend. Known officially as a “Localizer Directional Aid” (LDA) it provides guidance to pilots when they are on a conventional instrument approach to the airport.
“It is unfortunate that some of our customers were inconvenienced over the weekend,” said Assistant Aviation Director of Operations, Francey Jesson. “The FAA chose the offseason to make these much-need repairs. Our top priority is a safe and efficient airport operation. We support the FAA in ensuring its navigational aids are in top condition at all times, and appreciate the effort they are taking now to get this critical work done as soon as possible,” Jesson said.
There are two localizer antennae serving the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. One is located on the south end of the runway. The other is located on top of Aspen Mountain. The repairs to the mountaintop LDA required the antenna system to be shut down so new equipment can be installed in place of the old. The two localizers work in conjunction as part of a system used by pilots.
“The existing antenna system has been in need of repair for some time,” said FAA NAVAID System Engineer, Bob Brown. “This project has been one of the FAA’s top priorities. The planned facility shutdown is being done during a time that would have the least impact to the Airport. Please be assured that we are doing everything possible to get the facility replaced as quickly as we can.,” Brown said.
The mountain-top LDA was shut down on Friday October 8th. It is expected to be back in service by October 22nd. Until it is back in service, local commercial flights may be impacted when instrument approaches are required.
Both airlines serving Aspen have reduced schedules during the off-season. Frontier only operates one flight per day and so far none have been cancelled due to the LDA shutdown. SkyWest Airlines operates 6 flights per day. Several United Express flights operated by SkyWest Airlines were impacted over the weekend.