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Perhaps the airliner should be “Adventure Travel,” too

Letter from Dave Skinner

Transportation – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine


George Sibley’s column on airlines and subsidies (December, 2001) took me straight back to Steamboat Springs. About eight years ago, “we” got all this groovy Federal loot for a new airport terminal, $5.2 million.

Yes, I scammed my share of the Davis-Bacon money. It’s a heck of a nice terminal, and I’m kind of proud I helped build it.

Trouble was, Puddlejumper Airlines promised the earth-moon-stars of continued service, and then bailed, leaving us with a monument to government foolishness.

That experience got me thinking about a solution which might have worked for Steamboat and might apply for Gunnison. I thought: “Why not a Steamboat Air Force?” There are many excess aviation assets out there in the form of surplus C-130 Hercules transports.

Lord knows there are enough Herky Bird jocks out there who love high-performance mountain flying.

Bolt some seats and a Porta-pot to pallets, give the passengers earplugs, and you’re in business. In summer, unbolt the seats and hook up the fire-fighting plumbing for off-season revenue.

To bolster the “guests'” sense of adventure, leave the planes in drab paint.

And, just to show the Steamboat Air Force is just as classy as that “other” airline, name the birds — “Puff” and “Spooky.”

Dave Skinner

Whitefish, Montana