Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jet veers off runway at Friedman

Manager says improvements worked as planned

Express Staff Writer

    The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident in which a chartered jet apparently veered off the edge of the runway at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey on the early afternoon of June 17.
    Airport Manager Rick Baird said the wheels of the eight-passenger Learjet 60 probably deviated from the east side of the runway by about 25 feet onto the runway’s milled asphalt shoulder and adjacent packed dirt. He said that for a while, all of the plane’s landing gear was off the runway. He said the plane destroyed two runway lights but was not damaged itself, and there were no reported injuries.
    “The safety area performed as it was supposed to,” Baird said.
    The FAA’s Flight Standards District Office in Boise confirmed that it was investigating the incident, but no more information was provided by press deadline Tuesday.
    Baird said the incident was just the kind of thing that the FAA was intending to guard against by requiring the airport to undertake a $34 million construction project to increase the size of the runway safety area, which is a smooth and firm, obstacle-free surface, and separation between its runway and taxiway. Almost all of the project is being funded by the federal government.

The safety area performed as it was supposed to.”
Rick Baird

    Most of the airport’s east-side taxiway has been removed as part of that project. That removal created enough space to meet FAA runway safety area standards in the area where the recent incident occurred.
    Planes are categorized by the FAA according to two criteria—approach speed, designated by a letter, and wingspan, designated by a Roman numeral. Larger letters and numerals indicate faster and bigger planes.
    To accept the commercial planes that fly into the airport, it must meet C-III standards, modified to take into consideration the confines of the airport property. The Learjet 60, which is 59 feet long with a 44-foot wingspan, is a C-II plane.
Greg Moore:

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