June 2001 Issue

Approach Treachery

Approaches to some airports are challenging enough under the best conditions, but low weather makes them deadly

Aspen, Telluride, Hayden, Jackson, Sun Valley, Missoula, Ketchikan, Juneau.

These beautiful locations have some of the most treacherous instrument approaches found anywhere in the United States for one simple reason: big mountains. It will be many months before the NTSB issues its final report on the fatal accident of the Gulfstream that crashed during its final approach into Aspen on March 29, and the preliminary report it issued shortly after the crash contained less information than the local newspaper.

To state that the instrument approaches into these locations are tricky is an understatement. As a former EMS and fire-fighting pilot operating into all of these airports, I can te...

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