AOPA is pressing for a delay in Erie, Colorado’s proposed redevelopment of an unused runway at Erie Municipal Airport, and has asked the FAA to first conduct a new wind study there.
The FAA’s 2002 wind study showed that most operations could be accommodated on Runway 15/33—Erie’s main runway. Since then an increase in light sport aircraft traffic, which are more susceptible to crosswind conditions, has raised concerns that the prior study may no longer be valid.
AOPA believes that a new wind study, which should measure conditions only during hours when the airport is in use and should cover a complete calendar year, would better reflect the airport’s changed usage. The 2002 study measured conditions 24 hours a day, May through November.
At its Feb. 24 meeting, Erie’s board of trustees issued its proposal to build hangars on Runway 9/27, which has been closed since 1999. AOPA’s Airport Support Network volunteer Scott de Luise alerted the association to the decision.
“We believe the 2002 wind data must be revisited and a more thorough and conclusive study be conducted prior to the consideration of removal of Runway 9/27 from the [Erie Municipal Airport] master plan,” an AOPA letter sent last week to Craig Sparks, manager of FAA’s Denver Airport district office, stated. “This is an important safety issue for the airport, its tenants, and airport users.”
Preserving Runway 9/27 would leave open the option of redeveloping airport land for hangars or other aviation business on the west side of a creek, which aircraft could access through a bridge extension, de Luise said. He and other GA pilots favor that the town take “a thoughtful look” at the property’s potential rather than “rush to judgment” on the fate of Runway 9/27, de Luise said.