Private jet goes long

Cliff Thompson
Daily file photoA Lear 60 similar to this one ventured off the end of the runway and into the mud Monday at the Eagle County Regional Airport. No damage or injuries were reported.

None of the six people on board the Lear 60 were injured, and the jet was not damaged. The jet is owned by VT Aviation from Durham, N.C.

“The passengers (on the charter) were a little scared, but unhurt,” said County Airport Manager Mark Davidson.

Commercial passengers departing the airport on United, American and Continental airlines were delayed 90 or more minutes; Northwest passengers were delayed for three hours while airport workers hauled the muddy jet back to the taxiway.

The runway was dry, the weather clear and the wind calm when the incident occurred at about 2 p.m., Davidson said.

Davidson said 7,000 feet of the runway was reopened while an airplane tug and front-end loader pulled the jet back onto the runway. It took nearly two hours because it was so muddy. He said the jet may have approached the 8,000-foot runway too fast the pilot may have not left enough room to slow down after touching down.

Support Local Journalism

The Lear 60, a twin-engine jet that seats up to 10 people, is 58 feet long and empty weighs 19,500 lbs.

The muddy jet was towed to a hanger at the Vail Valley Jet Center, where it was inspected for airworthiness. The passenger list was not released by the jet center. Davidson said he did not know if the National Transportation Safety Board or the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the incident. Aviation staff at the FAA in Denver was not available.

Eagle County was not alone in experiencing delays Monday. Airports all over the country Monday were clogged because of the blizzard that blanketed much of the East Coast with up to 2 feet of snow and forced closure of some of the nation’s busiest airports.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or

Support Local Journalism