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Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Reaction to the USA Today Article "Feds keep little-used airports in business"

The 9/17/09 issue of the USA Today story and a companion news segment on NBC’s Today Show video, represented an extremely slanted view of Airport/Aviation business operations in the United States. Communities all over the U.S. have the world’s safest and most efficient network of over 5200 General Aviation Airport’s. In Colorado alone, there are 60 General Aviation Airport’s. The article and subsequent news report ignored the fact that this side of general aviation remains a critical part of the national air transportation system. Both stories presented skewed views toward major airlines and expressed opinion that improvement dollars should only be applied toward airports that provide only scheduled passenger service. This seems incredibly short sided and ill-informed.

The parent company of USA Today and NBC News operate General Aviation (GA) aircraft. Why? Because aircraft are a critical tool for business transportation needs, saving time and money. At any given moment, news agencies may need transportation to a GA Airport near a large city following a natural disaster or they may need access to a small rural community for a news story and the closest airport with passenger service has limited accessibility that does not meet the urgency of the news story. New Orleans International Airport was closed to airline service for two weeks following Hurricane Katrina. How many big media outlets utilized one of several nearby Louisiana general aviation airports for this significant event?

General Aviation is Business, and serves as the economic engine for the community, large or small. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (Metro Airport) has an economic annual impact of over $363 million with employment of over 3700 jobs. The FAA has invested $56 million in capital improvements over the past 28 years at Metro Airport – a rather smart investment! Those capital funds invested into this airport were generated not just from taxes paid by passengers for airlines tickets, but also from every gallon of fuel purchased for aviation.

The USA Today article also failed to mention that every tax dollar spent on an airline ticket also goes towards other critical aviation services, such as air traffic control, navigation and safety inspection. General Aviation capital improvements are paid for with the help of federal funds that are generated from aviation. The local airport sponsor also makes a significant investment not only through matching funds, but also the commitment to operate the airport as independently as possible, as a business for minimum of 20 years, meeting federal assurances to protect the FAA, the airport sponsor and their stakeholders. Maybe USA Today and NBC News will keep that in mind the next time a major airline files Chapter 11 or goes to Washington D.C. to lobby for government bailouts and taxpayer subsidies.

Kenneth Maenpa, Airport Manager, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Jefferson County, Colorado.

RMMA Update - August 20, 2009 (Revised closure for Friday, August 21st)

A brief on activities at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport

Friday, August 21st - Change in Airport Closures for RMRFI & Air Show

Starting at 2:00 pm through 4:00 pm on Friday, August 21st, the airport will now be closed due to logistical changes with the Air Show. There will no longer be intermittent closures between 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm. All other closures remain the same.

As always, check NOTAM’s for any current information. Please contact Airport Operations with any questions at 720-352-0395.

RMMA Update - August 20, 2009

A brief on activities at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport

Airport Closures for Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-In & Air Show

Starting at 12:00 noon through 6:00 pm on Friday, August 21st, there will be intermittent airport closures, not to exceed 15 minutes, for air show practice. Please feel free to contact ground on frequency 121.7 prior to starting engines to check airport availability.

Starting at 1:00 pm through 4:00 pm on Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd, the airport will be closed for Air Show performances.

Starting at 7:00 pm through 8:00 pm on Saturday, August 22nd, the airport will be closed for the Twilight Air Show performances.

As always, check NOTAM’s for any current information. Please contact Airport Operations with any questions at 720-352-0395.

Rocky Mountain Regional Fly In and Air Show

Rocky Mountain Metro Airport has decided to switch things up a bit this year! After several years of hosting our Open House, we have decided to take a step back and allow Colorado Sport Aviation (CSA) to step up to the plate. CSA will be hosting The Colorado Sport International Air Show along with The Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-In for their first appearance at Metro Airport on Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd. CSA is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to serve and promote "recreational aviation" through the hosting of an annual Air Show and Regional Fly-In. Therefore tickets for adults will be $15, children 6 -13 years will be $13 and children 5 and under are free.

The Colorado Sport International Air Show, formerly known as the Front Range Air Show, will include several different performances such as glider flight demonstrations, a parachute jumper, a few solo aerobatic performances, mass formation demonstrations, some fly bys and F-16 flight demonstrations. Not only will these exciting performances go on both Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 PM through 4:00 PM, but there will also be a special Twilight Air Show, Saturday night with limited performances starting at 7:00 PM.

Along with the amazing performances from the Colorado Sport International Air Show, the Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-In will be celebrating their 30th year. CSA will be hosting a family oriented weekend event attended by up to 400 aircraft from around the country with a total of approximately 25,000 people. During the 2-day event there will be over 20 educational and safety forums along with building workshops for adults and youth to help spark a new interest in learning and aviation. Various food vendors will be onsite providing a wide range of meals and sundries.

“Metro Airport is happy to partner with CSA to bring this great event into the Denver metro area and help expand its future potential. We are pleased to host an event which not only serves pilots and the aviation industry throughout the Rocky Mountain region, but also provides family fun and enjoyment for our neighbors in the surrounding communities and across the State" - Kenneth Maenpa, Airport Manager.


Wings of Freedom Tour - Coming to RMMA

The Collings Foundation is bringing the Wings of Freedom Tour, which showcases three fully restored WWII Bomber Aircraft, to Metro Airport on July 1st to the 3rd. These aircraft are the 1944 vintage Consolidate B-24J Liberator, the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Nine-O-Nine” and the TP-51C “Betty Jane” Mustang.

The "Wings of Freedom Tour" has two goals: to honor our veterans--recognizing their sacrifices so we may enjoy our freedom; and to educate the visitors, especially younger Americans, about our national history and heritage. The Foundation encourages people to tour the planes, talk to the veterans who come to visit the aircraft, and participate in a "flight experience”. In nineteen years, the tour has made more than 2,172 visits to airports across the United States and Alaska. While the exact number of visitors is difficult to gauge, it is estimated that between 3 and 4 million people see these warbirds annually.

Walk through tours of all the aircraft are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. WWII Veterans get into the ground tours at no charge. Flight experiences donation are $425 per person aboard the B-17 or B-24. Flight training in the P-51 is $2200 for a half hour flight and $3200 for a full hour. All participants will get the chance to feel what it was like to fly one of the most legendary fighters of WWII.

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