YVRA back to normal | SteamboatToday.com

YVRA back to normal

3 Monday night flights landed using visual flight rules

Blythe Terrell
Yampa Valley Regional Airport passengers check in with their airlines Tuesday. Airport officials reported on-time arrivals and departures one day after a downed single-engine airplane raised concerns about the airport's landing system.
Matt Stensland

Three evening flights made it to Yampa Valley Regional Airport on Monday after a missing plane led to concerns about the airport’s instrument landing system, officials said. Flights came and went without problems Tuesday.

On Monday, a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver, a Northwest Airlines flight from Minneapolis and an American Airlines flight from Chicago reached the landing strip in Hayden, Assistant Airport Manager Dean Smith said. The Northwest flight had been diverted to Denver until it could continue, and the flight from Chicago departed late and hit a good weather spot, he said.

The disappearance of the private single-engine airplane, which crashed in Moffat County, led Federal Aviation Administration technicians to review the instrument landing system for malfunctions. That system helps pilots take off and land in bad weather.

“The ILS was completely checked out and was brought into full operation at 10:17 last night,” Smith said Tuesday.

The flights that made it in arrived between 5:30 and 7 p.m. and operated under visual flight rules, Smith said. Those rules require higher minimum visibility, he said. The pilots who were able to land and take off could see for six miles horizontally and 2,400 feet above the ground. The minimums require three miles horizontal and 1,000-foot vertical views.

The three flights were fortunate to hit a good weather window, Smith said.

“That had been the only time all day when we were above the minimums on anything,” he said.

He also noted that it was easier for pilots to land in bad weather in the dark because they can see lights from the runway and airport.

The skies quickly turned around Monday evening.

“The weather was moving back in as these guys were getting out,” Smith said.

YVRA’s scheduled flights were operating fine as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, he said.

– To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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