All posts by Ken Lawson

Hiring: Yampa Valley Regional Airport

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Hayden is a small community that is located in Northwest Colorado and situated in the heart of the Yampa Valley. Hayden offers a variety of year round outdoor recreation such as fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing and hunting.

The Yampa Valley Airport (YVRA) is located in Hayden and provides commercial air service to Steamboat Springs and the surrounding Northwest Colorado area, YVRA is host to five major airlines (Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, and United) during the ski season (mid-December-March) with direct flights from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Newark, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC. Commuter service is provided year round to Denver by United Express. YVRA is an integral part of the Yampa Valley transportation system and provides critical access to the national air transportation system for valley residents and visitors. YVRA is owned and operated by Routt County.

Please see the job postings below, and instructions on applying.


Internship Northern Colorado Regional Airport

The Northern Colorado Regional Airport is seeking a highly motivated individual to participate in a twelve month internship program. This program is intended to provide a comprehensive start to a future professional in the airport management and operations field. At the end of the internship period the individual to be able to demonstrate knowledge of airport management and operations through a wide variety of hands-on experience. The duties will be directly related to the management and operation of the Airport and will involve both inside and outside work. Work duties will generally include airport management functions, airfield operations, airport maintenance activities (including operation of maintenance equipment), airport finance and budgeting, marketing and promotions, aircraft rescue and firefighting, and special projects including the participation in the innovative Colorado Remote Air Traffic Control Tower Project.

Apply Here

CAOA Legislative Positions

CAOA Legislative Positions 2018


To:       Colorado Congressional Delegations and Staff
From:   Colorado Airport Operators Association, Board of Directors
Date:    January 23, 2018

 Subject: Legislative Requests and Priorities

 The 74 public use airports in the State of Colorado, represented by the Colorado Airport Operators Association (CAOA), would like to call to your attention the following legislative requests.

1. Request for Modernizing the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC)

CAOA would like to request your support to modernize the federal cap on the locally set Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) user fee by setting it at $8.50 and adjusting it periodically to offset the impacts of inflation.  At a time when there is pressure to reduce federal spending, modernizing the PFC cap would provide airports around the country with the locally controlled self-help they need to finance critical infrastructure projects without relying on scarce federal funds.

  • In 1990, Congress created the locally determined PFC to help airports of all sizes meet their capital needs to finance terminal, runway, and multimodal projects both directly and through the issuance of bonds.
  • Since this is a locally determined fee collected at the point of sale, PFC user fees do not affect federal expenditures.
  • The $4.50 PFC cap has not been adjusted since enacted by Congress in the year 2000, and since then rising construction costs and inflation have eroded the purchasing power of these resources significantly.
  • Modernizing the PFC by removing the cap and indexing it for inflation would restore its original purchasing power, providing local communities the ability to set their individual PFC user fees based on locally determined needs for ensuring the safety and security of their airports.
  • The combination of a modernized PFC and a strong AIP will allow airports to safely and efficiently improve facilities and serve passengers and will allow our airports to effectively plan.

 2. Request for increased Airport Improvement Program Funding

Similar to the Passenger Facility Charges, the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) has remained at a relatively static funding level since 2001 of $3.35 billion.  The distribution of these funds is critical to keep the nation’s 3,300 public use airports functional.  Over 70% of AIP funding is used for safety related projects and to maintain existing airport runways, taxiways, and aircraft parking aprons.    CAOA is requesting that the annual appropriated AIP program funding increase to $4.5 billion, which is the same level as the 2001 amount adjusted for inflation.

 3. Remote Air Traffic Control Towers, Request for AIP Eligibility and controller support

CAOA would like your support to make Remote Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) facilities and equipment eligible for AIP funding, and provide inclusion of Remote ATCT into the federal contract tower program in the next FAA Reauthorization Bill.

4. Request for Multi-Year AIP Reauthorization Bill

Request support for a multi-year FAA Reauthorization Bill at or above historic funding levels.  Additional short-term extensions would also be devastating to our airports’ ability to plan, design and construct necessary capital improvement projects. Short-term authorization bills are inefficient due to FAA staff having to execute and maintain multiple funding grant requests for single projects, which can result in inefficiencies and increased costs

5. Pilot Shortage/Small Community Air Service

The pilot shortage is concerning due to its potential to further reduce air service to smaller communities served by regional airlines.  Air transport pilots require a significant amount of training to achieve the 1,500 hour requirements that Congress has now required.  This training cost can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is a significant barrier to those wanting to proceed in this career path.  The loss of service has devastating impacts in terms of employment and economic output.  We urge action be taken to find a reasonable training criteria for airline transport rated pilots.

6. Privatization of Air Traffic Control

The privatization of air traffic control has been an issue that continues to be brought forward through draft legislation as a result of corporate lobbying.  The FAA has been the agency that provides oversight and operation of the National Airspace System (NAS).  This system requires personnel and technology to safely route aircraft and passengers through a very complex network of three dimensional paths in the sky.  Aviation safety is at an all time high, and so is the profitability of airlines.

Representative Bill Schuster proposed a bill that did not make it out of the House (in 2016 and again in 2017) that would remove the oversight of the NAS and give it to a proposed non-profit board.  This board was proposed to be comprised of mostly airline appointees, which is similar to what President Trump has supported in recent news.  In the President’s proposal the funding of the Airport Trust Fund would be reformed, eliminating what airlines are currently taxed through tickets, and replacing them with user fees.  In 2016 a total 69% of the $14.2 billion in the FAA’s annual budget does come from airline ticket taxes paid by passengers ($9.8 billion), however airlines account for this proportional use of the air traffic control system.  Aviation fuel taxes and general fund contributions provide the rest of the funding.

Airports are opposed to the new proposal, as it is expected that user fees will negatively affect the cost and possibly the safety of general aviation.  The FAA has many challenges, and many efficiencies have been lost due to historical short term funding approvals from Congress.  There is high expectations to update and bring better technologies to FAA systems, however in order to maintain safety and security there are many redundancies, fail-safes, and tamper proof systems required.

Privatization of the Air Traffic Control System

National Air Transportation Association is providing the following information to encourage those opposing legislation that would privatize the Air Traffic Control System to contact their representatives.  By going to you will be able to find more information on the issue.  The link also provides an easy way for the public to voice their opposition to representatives prior to the House vote on this proposal.  A NATA white paper can be viewed at Myths and Facts Surrounding Air Traffic Control Corporatization and their position statement on the issue.

Congratulations! CDOT Innovator Award

Congratulations to Dave Ulane, A.A.E and Bryce Shuck for receiving the CDOT “Innovator Award”.  They received the recognition for their recently implements airport excise tax disbursement process improvement.  The new process used the existing automated sales tax refund process to eliminate the fuel claim form, and 90% of the steps required in the old process.

Colorado Seaplane Initiative

Below you can find some additional information about the Colorado Seaplane Initiative. CAOA does not have an official position on this.

The Colorado Seaplane Initiative is undertaking a major campaign to obtain fair and equal access to Colorado waterways.  The State of Colorado through its Parks and Wildlife Agency, has banned seaplanes from every public waterway in the State.  Colorado is the only State that forbids seaplanes in this manner.

Colorado is home to 16,000+ pilots, 800+ seaplane-rated pilots, and 38 seaplane owners.  General Aviation is a major economic force in Colorado producing an estimated $2.4 billion in annual economic impact.

The State’s claim of safety, security, and environmental concerns ignore facts and promote fears. General Aviation is the producer of an estimated $2.4 billion in annual economic impact to this State.

Wildlife Hazard Management Program for Colorado Airports

USDA Efforts to Manage Wildlife Hazards at Colorado Airports

In an effort to provide important information to Colorado CAOA members, please feel free to forward this email highlighting the cooperative efforts between USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services and CDOT-Division of Aeronautics (CDOT) within the state of Colorado to address wildlife hazard management for aviation safety.

One of the many roles of USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services (WS) is to alleviate wildlife hazards at airports nationwide. Since 2006, the cooperative agreement between WS and CDOT has received national recognition and has become a pro-active model for other states in need of maintaining FAA compliance in regard to wildlife concerns. Since this cooperative program began, Colorado WS program has experienced an increase in interest and support for airport wildlife management. Over the last 7 years, WS assistance to airports has expanded from 10 airports to over 25 of the 76 public-use airports in Colorado.

Responsibilities of Colorado WS’ airport program are numerous and include, conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments, Wildlife Hazard Management Plans, Wildlife Hazard Site Visits, federal and state permitting, habitat management recommendations, surveying, wildlife control, land-use planning, and establishing and maintaining working relationships with property owners adjacent to airports. All the while, complying with Federal, state, and local laws to provide our best service to each airport.

Below is a description of services that the WS program provides to Colorado airports each year:

Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA)

A WHA is a detailed evaluation of wildlife conditions at an airport, documented in a formal written report to the airport manager. This is a comprehensive 12 month study where data is collected through on-site observations, surveys, and data analysis. This study is necessary for a complete evaluation of all factors contributing to wildlife hazards specific to an airport, including seasonal wildlife occurrence and abundance.

Wildlife Hazard Management Plans (WHMP)

A WHMP is a document that describes the responsibilities, policies, and procedures to reduce wildlife hazards at airports. It provides guidelines and action plans to accomplish prioritized wildlife management objectives within defined time frames. Content requirements for the plan have been established by the FAA in 14 CFR Part 139.337 (f). The WHMP is a working document that must be reviewed annually. Most certificated airports in Colorado have an FAA-approved WHMP that is reviewed and updated annually by WS and incorporated in the airports’ Airport Certification Manual (ACM). This includes reviewing each section within the WHMP such as habitat management efforts and priorities, evaluating the responsibilities of the wildlife hazard committee members, ensuring that proper federal and state permits are current and included in the plan, and confirming that wildlife control procedures were utilized on the airfield to avoid a hazardous condition. Assessing each aspect of the plan helps airport management gain an understanding of where the problems are and what methods are most effective in alleviating the concerns.

Wildlife Hazard Management Annual Training

For certificated airports, the FAA requires airport employees involved in implementing an airport’s WHMP to receive annual training (14 CFR part 139.303). Non-certificated airports have requested this training as well, but it is not required. WS develops training courses each year in wildlife hazard management according to FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5200-36.  Upon completion of the training, the list of a list of airport personnel is provided to the FAA for verification during certification inspections.

Wildlife Strike Identification and Reporting

It is extremely important to the aviation industry to report “wildlife strikes”. Statistics are compiled by the FAA using data collected on the FAA Form 5200-7. The data collected helps develop management programs specific to their airports. WS helps in the identification of wildlife species that are struck, submits wildlife strike information to the FAA and provides recommendations to the airport.

Obtaining Federal and State Permits for Wildlife Control
Wildlife management on airports requires lethal and non-lethal techniques to reduce or eliminate threats to human safety or damage to aircraft and operations. State and federal permits are required in Colorado before certain species can be lethally removed or harassed from safety areas. WS assists airports with all permitting processes by completing permit applications and submitting required documentation.

Wildlife Control

Wildlife population management is often necessary to address immediate hazards to human health and safety caused by wildlife. WS possesses all the necessary permits and licenses to conduct direct control activities to reduce hazardous wildlife populations on/near airfields. This includes the use of toxicants and pesticides with a Qualified Supervisor Pesticide License and Firearms Certifications.   Wildlife control is a necessary tool that airports can and do rely on WS to conduct on their airfields. Airport managers contact WS for non-lethal, as well as lethal measures on their airfield. For example, prairie dog control continues to be a priority for many airports in Colorado and management of populations on an airfield is difficult and time-consuming, yet imperative due to safety concerns.  Prairie dogs pose an immediate threat by burrowing within safety areas as well as attracting numerous predators to the airfield including hawks, owls and eagles and coyotes which can cause significant damage to aircraft.

In conclusion, ALL Colorado airports are able to accomplish wildlife management objectives more efficiently and effectively when CDOT collaborates with WS. WS will continue to provide exceptional service to the Colorado airport system because of the increasing requirements, awareness and support of the program by airport managers.  

Attached are some interesting highlights of the accomplishments of our wildlife hazard management program for Colorado airports during 2013. As always, thank you for your continued cooperation and support to ensure we are maintaining high standards to protect Colorado’s aviation community.


Kendra Cross
USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services
12345 W. Alameda Pkwy Ste 204
Lakewood, CO

303.236.5815 office
303.859.0399 cell

USDA Accomplishments 2013