Thursday, February 5, 2004
The Federal Aviation Administration said it found insufficient evidence that flight safety regulations were being violated at the Steamboat Springs Airport.
Responding to a resident's complaint, the FAA conducted a "complaint investigation" to determine whether operations at the Steamboat airport were in compliance with FAA regulations.
In a letter to city staff, John Lusk, unit supervisor of the FAA's Denver Flight Standards District Office, wrote that the office's response to a complaint made by Warren Harner did not constitute a violations investigation.
Harner, a commercial pilot who lives in Steamboat, raised concerns to the FAA about aircraft operations at the Steamboat Springs Airport.
The FAA has a responsibility to investigate each complaint regarding noncompliance with FAA regulations, Lusk wrote.
"Based on the information supplied by Mr. Harner, we have found insufficient evidence at this time to support a violation of those regulations," Lusk wrote.
The letter, dated Jan. 30, was in response to a letter written by City Transportation Services Director George Krawzoff.
Krawzoff had asked Lusk to clarify a letter Harner wrote to the City Council and community members' later interpretation of the letter to believe that the FAA and National Safety Transportation Board were investigating Mountain Flight Services and the Steamboat Springs Airport.
Harner's letter was presented at a Jan. 6 council meeting where the council was asked to approve an ordinance on Mountain Flight Services' plan to transfer its maintenance operations at the Steamboat airport to another business.
The council passed the first reading of the ordinance, but not before a heated debate about the alleged FAA investigation. As part of that debate, three council members voted to table the reading.
At the next City Council meeting Jan. 13, Bob Maddox, who owns Mountain Flight Services with his wife, Cindy, chastised the council for its conduct at the previous meeting. He said that Harner's letter falsely stated that the FAA and NTSB were investigating his business.
Lusk's Jan. 30 letter to Krawzoff stated his office is not investigating Mountain Flight Services for a March 19 accident in Kremmling. Rather, the FAA was responding to the public complaints Harner made, as is standard practice for the agency, Lusk wrote.
"We have been conducting a complaint investigation to determine if there is a possible noncompliance with federal aviation regulations," he wrote. "If the complaint investigation reveals a possible regulation violation, then a formal investigation is initiated."
On Tuesday, the council passed the second reading of the Mountain Flight Services maintenance operations transfer ordinance with little comment.
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