Speech made to City Council September 24, 2002 by Chris Rodriguez
In an letter to the editor today in the Daily Times-Call about the proposed runway extension, it said the “reasons are merely to ensure the safety of the aircraft that currently use the facility.” Merely? Does this association (Table Mountain Association) and the supposed 1,000 people it speaks for, of which how many I wonder know they’re being represented this way, pretend to put my safety, my wife and children’s safety, and my aircraft’s safety lower than someone else’s? Or any of the users of the airport?
Do the people this association speak for have a higher status when it comes to safety? Who exactly granted this elitist status to a 4 year old association?
I deal in safety professionally and no matter how safe you make the system, including an airport, it’s never safe enough and accidents happen. More than once I’ve been one of the last voices a pilot heard before departing this mortal coil. It’s not a pleasant thing to live with – even though you did all you could, followed the rules, try to make the system safe as possible, accidents still happen.
At about this time last night, we lost an aircraft and 2 lives. The people in aviation who are aware of incidents and losses like this almost take it as a personal loss, a fallen comrade.
For this association to downplay aviation safety personally sickens me, and I’m sure countless others – other pilots, families of deceased crew and passengers, and people whose lives have changed forever. Safety is no light matter.
The association also said the airport has an “admirable safety record.” It’s been some luck, but a lot of skill and practice by the pilots who use it, and they and their passenger’s safety should not be demoted to second class status. We are not a bunch of beer swigging boaters out on a lake. (No offense to beer swigging boaters).
For the sake of safety I ask that the Longmont City Council approve the minimal runway extension. It’s not as if it would be funded anytime in the next 5 years anyway. But please put safety above personal greed, because if luck runs out, someone else will get to experience that uncomfortable feeling that they could’ve helped make something safer and maybe saved a life, or several.