NewsIdaho Back Roads


New technology helps airplanes fly into Friedman Memorial Airport in Sun Valley

Posted at 12:59 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 14:59:41-05

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — The terrain and weather in Sun Valley can cause challenging flying conditions, but with the help of new technology, Friedman Memorial Airport is seeing fewer diversions to Twin Falls.

This winter, Flight Tech Engineering, a firm out of Denver, installed a new approach procedure for Skywest, that is United and Delta Airlines.

"We have realized 53 saves where aircraft wouldn’t have been able to get here in other years," said Friedman Memorial Airport's Chris Pomeroy. "It has been very positive for the airport and our customers."

The new approach allows planes equipped with a wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) to fly at lower altitudes and through reduced visibility.

The WAAS has a more accurate GPS signal on the ground, but it also receives position errors to refine that accuracy and increase safety.

"So far this winter it has been working great," said Pomeroy.

In 2016, Alaskan Airlines installed their own system so now all the carrier planes that bring people to Sun Valley on non-stop routes from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Chicago have technology that helps them land at Friedman Memorial Airport.

"The next step in this process is providing the opportunity for corporate jet operators to use the procedures," said Pomeroy. "That will be coming up this spring and summer and we will see some of those operators using those procedures next winter."

Sun Valley Resort alerted us about this new technology, they told us they were excited to see the improvements and they believe the airport contributes to ski season.

Friedman Memorial Airport also has procedures in place during the pandemic, to check those out click here.