Yampa Valley Regional Airport weathers four power outages in a week | SteamboatToday.com
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Yampa Valley Regional Airport weathers four power outages in a week

7 days, 4 power outages at YVRA

• Sunday, Dec. 11: Power was out in the morning for three hours.

• Friday, Dec. 16: Power went out at 5:15 p.m. and was restored at 7:15 p.m.

• Friday, Dec. 16: Power went out again at midnight and was restored by 12:15 a.m., but the pilot of a plane bound for Denver had already canceled the flight.

• Saturday, Dec. 17: Power was off for 12 minutes beginning at 8:22 a.m.







— Yampa Valley Regional Airport Director Kevin Booth told the Board of Routt County Commissioners Dec. 19 that, after a series of three power outages caused minor disruptions in service at the commercial airport in Hayden Dec. 16 and 17, he is looking forward to a meeting with officials of Yampa Valley Electric Association to get a specific explanation for the outages and seek a more formal communication plan.

YVEA CEO Diane Johnson wrote in an email Monday that the electric cooperative is talking to county officials and added that the circumstances surrounding the outages were out of the ordinary.

“YVEA is keenly aware of the impact electrical outages have on Yampa Valley Regional Airport and the community’s commitment to safe and easy travel during the winter season,” Johnson said. “While typically, outages that affect the airport are minimal, we have experienced a series of unique and unexpected outages over the past few days. Ice, frigid temperatures and wind have contributed to some of the problems.”

7 days, 4 power outages at YVRA

• Sunday, Dec. 11: Power was out in the morning for three hours.

• Friday, Dec. 16: Power went out at 5:15 p.m. and was restored at 7:15 p.m.

• Friday, Dec. 16: Power went out again at midnight and was restored by 12:15 a.m., but the pilot of a plane bound for Denver had already canceled the flight.

• Saturday, Dec. 17: Power was off for 12 minutes beginning at 8:22 a.m.

Booth said he wants to know more details about the outage.

We need to know, “what’s behind this many outages in this short a period,” Booth said Monday. “Is it systemic?” There was a storm on Dec. 16, “but it wasn’t 60-knot winds slapping (power) lines together.”

Johnson said that during the two most recent outages on Friday and Saturday, YVEA crews were able to identify an area of line feeding the airport that can be reinforced with additional protection to avoid outages of this nature.

“We are committed to mitigating system down-time when we can ,and, in this case, we are quickly working to complete these improvements by the end of the week,” Johnson said.

The outages cost YVRA the loss of a controller on a baggage belt, which was promptly replaced with a $1,200 backup.

The Transportation Safety Administration also had a luggage scanner shut down, Booth said. It wasn’t damaged but took a half-day to get back online.

As it turned out, none of the larger aircraft, which are operated by the mainline airlines from major cities that fly to Steamboat, were affected. The biggest disruption involved two smaller United jets that unexpectedly spent the night on the apron after the second outage Friday night.

“On Friday, the power went out at 5:15 p.m. in a wind storm with snow and sleet,” Booth said. “It came back on at 7:15 p.m.”

At least one flight made it out to Denver with passengers, Booth said, but at midnight, there was a flight to Denver still trying to get there and seven passengers who were waiting.

“There was a mechanic working on ice on an engine (when) the power went out again at 12:15 a.m., this time for only about 16 minutes,” Booth said. “All the lights on the apron went off, and the pilot canceled the flight.”

Booth said he flight crews and the handful of passengers were picked up by a van from the Clarion Hotel in Craig and spent the night thee.

Also stuck in Steamboat for the night was a United aircraft, which was due to return to Los Angeles on a flight that was ultimately “re-positioned” in the schedule.

While the 15-minute interruptions in electricity might not seem like a big deal, getting equipment at the airport back in operation isn’t as easy as re-setting a household microwave, Booth said.

“You have to understand that not everything turns back on when power is restored,” he said. “We have to do diagnostics. It’s not like everything’s fine.”


To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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