Table Mountain Association Report on "Sightings"
Table Mountain "Sightings"
There has been a flurry of activities this winter which has generated speculation and rumors in the neighborhood about "unusual or annoying activities" occurring on and around the mountain. Many people have noted military- type activities including large helicopters hovering over the mountain, military trucks going up and down the mesa, and military troop movements on the roads. In addition, many people have approached board members about aircraft issues including planes performing stunts over houses, planes flying too low and speculation that the Longmont airport is going to expand and allow commercial flights to occur.
One of the missions of the Table Mountain Association is to gather information and provide a coordinated response (if necessary) to issues that impact this area. With that thought in mind, here is the information that was obtained about the military activities and aircraft issues.
Both Mary Ann Reichert of the Boulder County Commissioner Constituent Services Office (303-441-1688) and Lois Arford of the Mountain Administrative Support Center were contacted about the military activities around the mountain. The trucks moving up and down the west side of the mountain were US Army
Corps of Engineers personnel that were called in to dig trenches for the installation of communication lines on the mesa.
The military personnel and vehicles noted on area roads are National Guard conducting training maneuvers. The information on the helicopters is not complete, but they were thought to be practicing "hovering" maneuvers".
The Vance Brand Airport is owned by the City of Longmont and is overseen by the City Council and a citizen's advisory board consisting of 9 people. The airport is classified as a Category B-2 airport, which means an occasional jet can land at the airport and this usually happens approximately 5 times per year. Tim Barth is the airport manager and has stated that there are no plans to expand the airport or accommodate commercial flights. In 1994, the Longmont City Council passed a regulation which stipulated that there would "never" be construction of additional runways or lengthening of the current runway, according to Mr. Barth.
The FAA regulations for minimum safe flying altitudes specify that a plane must maintain an altitude of 1,000 feet over congested areas such as a city, town or settlement and 500 feet above the surface over open water or sparsely populated areas. To estimate if a plane is at least 500 feet above the ground surface, try to visualize two football field lengths. Helicopters may operate at less than the minimum altitude, if the operating is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface.
Complaints about aircraft noise should be addressed to the Vance Brand Airport (303-651-8431). If you have a concern about safety issues with airplane overflights you can call the FAA. You will need to have the following detailed information about the plane and incident including: (1) type of aircraft (military, civilian, high-wing, long-wing, helicopter, and color etc.); (2) registration number, which appears on the fuselage; (3) direction of flight, time, and place of the incident; (4) estimate of the altitude; (5) photographs; and (6) a list of witnesses. In addition to the Table Mountain Association website, the following websites may contain helpful information:
Alliance to Mitigate Aircraft Noise (ATMAN)
A cooperative effort to reduce Jeffco airport noise http://www.h2net.net/p/knapp/Default.htm
Centennial Airport in Arapahoe County (includes noise reports) http://www.centennial-airport.com/
What to ask when buying near an airport
FAA Accident report database (Vance Brand is listed) http://nasdac.faa.gov/asp/fw_ntsb.asp
Vance Brand Airport website
this redirects you to a pilots network resource:
Longmont website page for list of Airport Advisory Committee member's names and phone numbers