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Loveland City Council to Approve Agreement for Airport Terminal Tonight

Pilots Continue to Raise Alarm About the Potential Safety Consequences
of Funding A Terminal Before an Air Traffic Control Tower

By Jessica Schneider

Editor

The Loveland Voice

July 11, 2023



Aviation is a complex subject, but everyone who flys wants the same thing: Safety. Photo by George Garklavs.


On the agenda for the City Council meeting tonight is final approval of CARES funding to build a new terminal at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL).


Pilots and aviation experts are worried about the impact that a lack of priority for a brick and mortar air traffic control tower will have on safety and the viability of the airport as a regional transit hub.


“Until the average Lovelander, the average person, starts to use a service in and out of there... They probably aren’t going to care. But the minute they are on an airplane out of FNL, they are going to care about not dying,” says Mark Coan, general aviation pilot and commercial airline captain at FNL.


“If safety is really the premise, the first thing they would do is to build a tower with that CARES money,” Coan added. “One commercial airline already moved out because of safety.”


Another source close to the issue who has requested anonymity said, “If the airport is losing commercial airlines because we don’t have controlled space... What’s the other plan?”


FNL is the only location in the United States with a remote control tower. Approval for that tower remains indefinite. In the meantime, air traffic is controlled by FAA contractors in a mobile tower, referred to as the “horse trailer.”


Advocates for FNL that we have spoken to agree that everyone at the airport is doing their best to maintain safety. Another agreement is that they just don’t have all of the tools they need to ensure safety, yet.

*FNL is jointly owned by the Cities of Loveland and Fort Collins, and governed by an Airport Commission, chaired by Loveland City Councilman Don Overcash.


About the FNL Series by The Loveland Voice:


Between hangar evictions, spending decisions and the abrupt departure of director Jason Licon, the Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL). has been the subject of local controversy in recent months.


The Loveland Voice is interviewing pilots, aviation experts and local leaders to understand the implications that recent decision making regarding FNL may have on the larger community. This is the second part of a multi-part

series about those issues. The series is available at thelovelandvoice.com


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