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January 15, 2014
By Benét J. Wilson
Boulder Airport and Emergency Operations from Boulder, Colorado on Vimeo.
Thanks to a six-minute video produced by BoulderChannel8, the community TV channel for Boulder, Colo., residents now have a better understanding of the value and importance of Boulder Municipal Airport. The video highlights the role the airport played after the catastrophic floods that affected that and other Front Range cities in September 2013.
The video was brought to AOPA’s attention by Phil Ecklund, the Airport Support Network volunteer at Boulder Municipal Airport. It featured Airport Manager Tim Head, who discussed the role and value of the airport in the flood response. He also covered how the airport has brought in $69 million in local economic impact, as described in the Colorado Division of Aeronautics 2013 Airport Economic Impact Study.
In September 2013, a slow-moving cold front dumped nearly a year’s worth of rainfall in the mountains west of Boulder in only a few days. The flooding made many area roads impassable and caused billions of dollars of property damage across the Colorado Front Range.
During the flood and for five days after, Boulder Municipal Airport became home to nearly 1,100 first responders, military personnel, and staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who were working to protect lives and property.
“Channel 8 was doing a series of year-end news synopsis videos for their Jan. 1 episode, and of course, the floods were a big event,” said Head. “They wanted to cover it as news, but they also wanted to look at how different city facilities handled it and they wanted to know how we supported the relief efforts.”
When people think of airports, they think of passenger or commercial airports, said Head. “General aviation airports are overlooked, so it’s important to show how GA airports play such a critical role,” he said. “We need to remind Boulder and other communities on how important it is to have an asset like the airport.”
The airport is an everyday asset for economic impact, recreation, and tourism, said Head. “But when you have a disaster that affects more people, it provides us with an opportunity to reach out to the community,” he said. “On any given day, general aviation airports may only affect 100 people. But when we had the flood, we ended up providing support for 100,000 people.”
The video will help the public in Boulder understand and appreciate the value of the city’s GA airport, said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy. “The city of Boulder, which owns and operates the airport, and its residents have not always fully appreciated the benefits of their general aviation airport,” he said. “So what happened in Boulder during a disaster serves as an excellent example to other communities of how important their GA airport can be.”
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