For many years, concerned citizens have been seeking relief from the unacceptable noise levels from the skydiving operation.
In 2011 when Citizens For Quiet Skies was formed, one of our first steps was to meet with the owner of Mile-Hi Skydiving to discuss our concerns and find a cooperative solution. Unfortunately, the owner was not agreeable to making any operational changes. Over the next few months we met with the airport manager, the Longmont Airport Advisory Board and the Longmont City Council. Here is the video from the city council meeting on December 11, 2011 when they discussed a review of Mile-Hi operations.
Unfortunately, efforts to work with Mile-Hi were not well received. In fact, the owner became frustrated with our continued efforts to prod the city to take action. In May 2012, Mr. Casares mailed “I Love Airplane Noise” bumper stickers to Quiet Skies supporters.
After several years of pleading for relief and reasonable regulations to address the skydiving noise, we filed a lawsuit against Mile-Hi Skydiving for nuisance and negligence. A week long trial was held in April 2015. Citing federal preemption over aviation noise regulations, Judge Judith LaBuda ruled completely in Mile-Hi’s favor and awarded roughly $122,000 to Mile-Hi for attorney costs and fees. The lawsuit is currently on appeal and a decision is expected in late 2016.
During the trial, Quiet Skies outlined the requests for injunctive relief (which were denied). These provisions would have allowed skydiving to continue at a reduced level that is compatible with the needs of the community:
- Remove the 23-passenger Twin Otters from service – they are incompatible for frequent use over residential areas. In particular, the purple Twin Otter with 3-bladed propellers is the source of intense community frustration because of the loud reverberating drone. The 15-passenger King Air’s would be allowed.
- Allow 1 jump plane to operate per day – no concurrent operations of 2 or more aircraft.
- Allow operations during regular business hours during the week, e.g. 9 am to 5 pm
- Allow reduced hours of operation on weekends, when people are enjoying their homes. Quiet Skies proposed 8 hours total operating time for the weekend.