Behind the Scenes at Aspen Airport!

Welcome to behind the scenes at America’s 2nd highest (commercial) airport, in Aspen, Colorado! In July, I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes/ramp tour of the airport, thanks to my great aunt’s connections in that area (she’s lived in Aspen since the ‘60s). John, the VP of airport operations was my tour guide, and was more than happy to show me and my great aunt around!

The backdrop to this airport is absolutely beautiful. This is about 1/2 a mile from the airport, and showcases the extremely difficult terrain pilots must contend with.

We entered the airport gate, where we met up with an Aspen native, former United Express CRJ captain-turned private pilot who showed us around one of the local flight school’s planes. I sat in the cockpit and he walked me through a mock startup procedure ( we didn’t actually start anything beyond the battery and avionics). The registration is misleading. N145UA is supposedly a B742 from UAL, which clearly isn’t this little guy parked at this small mountain airport.

This Dassult Falcon 900EX was parked over at one of the stands. It’s registered in Switzerland to a “private owner.” Interesting.

I really like this striking gray livery on this beautiful private jet. We saw it land and taxi in. Powerful little guy. What kind of plane is this?

We talked to someone at Atlantic FBO who helps receive some of those private jets. As we were talking, some very wealthy looking guy was stepping off a jet. They quite literally have a Tesla waiting at the bottom of the steps to take the guy maybe 20 feet from the plane to the building. The path between is perfectly walkable (planes don’t taxi around there). Seems a little excessive.

As we drove by this awesome looking EMB-135, the VP of operations told us about the massively complex operation to get fuel to the airport. Apparently, a convoy of trucks comes up into Aspen weekly with avgas, coming from different places in Colorado. They have huge storage tanks at the airport, which are then used to fill smaller trucks which fuel the aircraft. Pretty interesting.

The ex-UAL Express captain was based in Newark (where he raised his kids), and never got the chance to fly the CRJ into ASE. But, he told me that this was easily the hardest airport any UAL pilot or regional affiliate crew will ever fly into.

We got access to one of the hangar, where a plane was being stored for some time while waiting for some sort of engine part.

Now an interesting story. N999EH, a Dassult Falcon 900 was landing at ASE and misjudged its speed and slipped off the icy runway. Apparently, the pilots claim that they landed “too softly” and overshot the runway, but that’s clearly not what happened. In any case, the county was tasked with pulling the plane out of the snow bank. Basically, they botched the job and ripped the nose gear cleanly off the plane.

The plane was older, and it is currently (probably done now) being scrapped. I found a Facebook video of the pulling (HERE), and THIS news story, but can anyone find some sort of official accident report?

They had the plane up on some intense looking jacks to be dis-assembled.

Parts of the wheel assembly.

I am so glad to have been able to go on this adventure. This was such an amazing experience.


Cool its always fun looking at the rich peoples toys


That my friend is a livery we have in Infinite Flight.


Isn’t it VistaJet?

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