Flying into mountain airports during the winter takes a little bit of planning. Here are three tips for making sure you get safely to and from the slopes.
1. Make sure you arrive before sunset.
In order to provide you with the highest level of safety, Aero Jet Services does not operate into mountain airports at night unless they can provide electronic precision course guidance. Currently, only the airport in Rifle, Colorado, offers this type of approach. If you need to arrive in the evening and are okay with a slightly longer drive, Rifle is the closest airport to Aspen and Eagle with an instrument landing system.
2. Book your slots early.
During the winter months, the FAA requires us to reserve airport slots for your departures and arrivals for Aspen, Eagle, Rifle and other mountain airports. We can request a slot as early as 72 hours prior to your arrival or departure, and as late at 12 hours prior. Since these slots fill up quickly, we recommend booking your flights early, especially on peak travel days.
3. Be flexible.
The weather in the mountains can change as quickly as some people change their minds. When the weather reports look bad for flying, airports sometimes reduce the number of slots until the storm passes. If we lose our slot or can’t secure a slot at your requested time or airport, we’ll work with you to secure an alternate time or airport to meet your schedule.
Often a storm that’s blanketing one airport may not affect another. That’s where your flexibility regarding the type of private aircraft you fly can increase the likelihood of us getting you to your destination on schedule, with no trade-offs on your part in comfort or safety.
So the bottom line for flying into mountain resorts is to plan ahead and be flexible. We can’t guarantee the weather, but we’ll take care of everything else.