Passengers wait for their baggage Saturday at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Flights were running on schedule despite a private jet that slid off the runway Friday night.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Passengers wait for their baggage Saturday at Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Flights were running on schedule despite a private jet that slid off the runway Friday night.

YVRA reopens after plane slide stops flights

Crews spend night moving executive jet after slide before take-off late Friday; no injuries

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photo

Courtesy of Dean Smith/Yampa Valley Regional Airport

A private Gulfstream IV jet sits off the runway after engine troubles caused it to slide during takeoff at about 10:30 p.m. Friday. Crews at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden worked all night to move the jet on one of the biggest tourism weekends of the winter. YVRA was able to re-open for flights at about noon today.

— Yampa Valley Regional Air­­port Manager Dave Ruppel said he expects little to no impacts for passengers at the Hayden airport today after a private jet slid off a runway late Friday and closed the airport to flights until about noon Saturday.

Airport officials said no injuries or significant damage occurred after the jet, a Gulfstream IV based in Connecticut, experienced eng­ine troubles while trying to take off and slid into mud between the airport’s active runway and taxiway at about 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Crews worked overnight to move the jet out of an area that prevented incoming or outgoing flights on one of the busiest tourism weekends of the winter.

The Steamboat Springs Cham­­­ber Resort Association is forecasting about 12,000 visitors in Steamboat Springs for Presidents Day weekend.

Assistant Airport Manager Dean Smith said United Air­­­lines canceled one Saturday morning flight from Denver. Continental also canceled a Saturday flight from Newark, N.J. A couple other flights were prepared to divert to Denver but landed at YVRA once the runway was opened, Smith said. He estimated that 200 passengers were directly affected.

Ruppel said Saturday evening that flights and schedules were back on track.

“As far as I know, the only carryover is that the Newark flight … decided to reschedule and come in (today),” he said. “It didn’t have as much of a negative impact as we thought it might.”

Smith said the Gulfstream IV was based in Norwich, Conn., arrived from that area and had dropped off some passengers before preparing to take off for California.

Smith said one engine overpowered a second, faulty engine during the takeoff attempt, forcing the jet into a spin and causing it to slide off the runway.

“It wasn’t necessarily a pilot error thing, it was just a mechanical situation that happened,” Smith said.

He said the slide was not weather-related. Smith and Ruppel said the name of the plane’s owner was not released.

A pilot, co-pilot and flight attendant were on board, Smith said.

Crews led by Smith and Ruppel were at YVRA all night Friday and early Saturday working to move the jet and re-open the airport to flights.

Smith credited YVRA maintenance superintendent Todd DuBois; public safety director and fire chief Tyler Whitmore; and Don Kaplan, of Galaxy Avi­­ation, the airport’s fixed-base operator, with their work to manage the jet-moving effort.

“All of those guys did an incredible job,” Smith said Saturday.

He said the jet slid into mud as much as 10 inches deep.

“We had to actually jack the aircraft up using airbags, to get the wheels up out of the mud,” Smith said. “We had to build a plywood road out of the mud.”

He described this particular Gulfstream IV as “a $28 million jet” that could hold as many as about 20 passengers.

“It’s an executive-type airplane,” Smith said. “It’s a very plush, luxurious way to transport.”

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Oscar 3 years, 5 months ago

How in the world would anyone know that it was a mechanical problem before an investigation is completed. The paper shouldn't print such misleading comments i.e. guesses.

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Brian Kotowski 3 years, 5 months ago

Because it's what the pilot & first officer reported to the first responders. It may well be a guess, but it's an educated one.

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