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Re: 'Snowdown flyer' Spawns Mystery - Warren

From: Frank Warren <frank-warren.nul>
Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 08:51:42 -0800
Fwd Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 16:52:21 -0500
Subject: Re: 'Snowdown flyer' Spawns Mystery - Warren


Source: The Durango Herald

http://durangoherald.com/asp-bin/article_generation.asp?article_type=news&article_path=/news/04/news040204_3.htm

February 4, 2004

'Snowdown Flyer' Spawns Mystery

By Shane Benjamin
Herald Staff Writer

Thousands of people on Main Avenue saw it and heard it as it
buzzed across the night sky at a high rate of speed Friday
during Durango's Snowdown Light Parade.

But nearly a week after the winged object passed overhead, there
is much speculation about what it was and where it came from.
Did it have a pilot or was it operated by remote control? Was it
legal? Was it safe?

Most spectators of the Stone Age-themed parade are calling the
object an "airplane." But not Del Gregg, of Gregg Flying Service
at the Animas Air Park. For him, "It was a UFO. It was a Stone
Age UFO."

The plane passed directly over the parade twice, traveling the
same direction as the parade - south to north. On its second
flyby, the plane traveled the length of the parade and then
banked northeast as it approached Mercy Medical Center, said
Keith Harlan, a spectator.

"The second time that it swooped by, I got a full-on view,"
Harlan said. "My guess is it was too small to be piloted by a
man. It was too fast and too large to be a remote control. So my
guess is it was some sort of camera-operated flying device that
could have been remotely operated from anywhere."

He described the plane as being 15 feet long with a 15-foot wing
span. It traveled about 90 mph and was about 100 feet above the
tallest building, Harlan said. "It didn't sound like a small
engine," he said. "It sounded more like a turbo prop-driven
plane.

"Everyone was wondering what the plane was," he said.

The Durango-La Plata County Airport tracks commercial flights,
but doesn't have any tracking device for general-aviation
airplanes, said Don Brockus, spokesman at the airport.

"We don't have any information available about that plane," he
said.

Brockus, who was at the parade, said he was surprised at the
plane's altitude.

"It piqued my curiosity," he said. "I guess I would say I was
somewhat surprised - surprised in just the fact it was there,
that it was plainly buzzing Main street and how quick it was."

Terry Fiedler, event coordinator for the Snowdown Light Parade,
said the plane was a surprise to him as well. He did not know
where it came from or if it was piloted.

"I saw it go over," he said. "I'm guessing it was just somebody
coming into town and buzzed the parade because they knew it was
going on."

A man at Durango Air Service, who refused to be identified, said
he recognized the plane as possibly belonging to Key Lime Air,
which transports freight from Denver to Durango. But Glen Rich,
chief pilot for Key Lime Air in Denver, said his pilots weren't
responsible. "I don't know what the deal was," he said.

Airplanes within a half-mile of populated areas are required to
be at least 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle, said Mike
Fergus, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration for
the Northwest region in Renton, Wash.

He could not immediately say Tuesday afternoon if any complaints
had been filed with the FAA.

"Buzzing a parade is very questionable depending on the
altitude," he said.






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