Montrose County is considering actions which could jeopardize the stability of our airport’s fixed-base operation. While I support free market capitalism and competition, and appreciate the county’s need to review this matter, I also believe other factors merit consideration. As a retired airline pilot who experienced the “race-to-the-bottom” chaos created by careless airline de-regulation, I can attest to the unintended consequences which resulted … On paper, and in theory it looked good … How’d that work out for us? Sure there are lower prices; but is anyone now happy with their air travel experience?
Now as a Civil Air Patrol mission pilot who regularly interacts with Black Canyon Jet Center, I speak as an individual citizen, and not as a representative of CAP; but it is important that the county is aware of the generous support that this FBO provides our non-profit, volunteer organization (and by extension, our community). We enjoy regular free use of its services, which greatly facilitates our readiness, and shortens our response time to search and rescue operations. It also hosts airport appreciation day; and supports Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans’ Day events. Ken, the manager, quietly arranged for a B-52 flyover when a Vietnam MIA- 1st Lt. Robert Bennett III, USAF was recently repatriated and interned with full military honors in our cemetery. Have you even heard of a B-52 flyover at a military funeral before?
Our professional FBO is an invaluable “first impression” to many important visitors. So the question becomes do we want a (single) quality operation to “represent” our county; or two mediocre, struggling entities to “compete?” Until it can be substantiated – with independent, professional analysis – that Montrose Airport’s general aviation traffic can support two quality FBOs, it would seem imprudent for the county to blindly promote that concept.