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Tue, Apr 26, 2011

Neighbors Argue For Closing Of Rocky Mountain Airpark

Calls Renewed Following Fatal Accident Over The Weekend

Pilots and city officials once again find themselves defending Rocky Mountain Airpark in Elbert County, CO. The Airpark operator and a passenger were fatally injured Saturday when the Carbon Cub they were flying went down.


Carbon Cub File Photo

Pete Vinton, who was the operator of the fly-in community outside Denver, was the pilot in command of the Carbon Cub when the accident occurred. One neighbor told Colorado television station KKTV that the residents of the community were "big boys with toys" who present a danger to those living in the area. Another said pilots performed "acrobatics" such as "hammerheads" and low-level passes.

Pilots tell a different story about Vinton and the Airpark. One, a friend of Vinton's, said those who were complaining are "not familiar with aviation." He said Vitnon was always "sensitive" about noise abatement, and worked hard to respect homeowners in the nearby area.  An Elbert County Commissioner said that the airport was there "long before housing sprang up around it," and that Vinton worked hard to restrict flights into and out of the Airpark.

The accident is one of several over the past few years, according to the station, but was the first fatality. Vinton had told the station back in 2006 following a non-fatal accident that the pilot had followed proper procedure in putting an airplane down in a open field. "Obviously, they don't want to head for any houses or anything," he said at that time.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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