Aspen/Pitkin County [Colorado] Airport (ASE)
Aspen Airport Leaves Runway Lights on During Daytime

Aspen Airport Leaves Runway Lights on During Daytime

In a move aimed at avoiding a repeat of an off-runway landing, tower officials at the Aspen/Pitkin County [Colorado] Airport (ASE) plan to operate Runway 15’s lights in the daytime during the winter months. That’s according to a December 12 letter to airmen from Aspen tower air traffic manager Wayne Hall, who said the action is the most immediate step officials can take following the Jan. 7, 2018, landing of a Falcon Jet on frozen sod west of and next to the airport’s primary runway. 

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There were no injuries or damage to the airplane. During an investigation of the landing, several people reported “visual illusions and possible confusion with the landing surface and the area adjacent to it,” said Hall, who noted an “anecdotal history” of off-runway landings at ASE. 

Hall added that aircrews should expect runway lights to be operated on a middle setting during daylight hours. Crews can also request adjustment of the lights by contacting the tower controller, he said. Wrong-surface landings are a top safety issue for the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the National Business Aviation Association’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure, Heidi Williams.