Three weeks after pilots were unable to reach air traffic controllers for a time at the Boise Airport, authorities have not explained what happened.
The incident took place in the early hours of Nov. 19, a Saturday. Two Air St. Luke’s helicopters — one leaving the health system’s Downtown Boise hospital and returning to the airport, and a second one leaving the airport between 2:30 a.m. and 2:40 a.m. — switched to announcing their movements over the open radio after failing to reach air controllers.
The alternate communications method also let the airport’s operations office know that something was wrong.
The Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t released any details other than to say the matter is under investigation.
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“Obviously, we don’t discuss ongoing investigations,” said Allen Kenitzer, a regional FAA spokesman based in Renton, Wash.
The Boise Police Department recently denied a public records request from the Idaho Statesman for any reports on the incident, saying the case was still under police investigation.
Police officers were sent to the tower for a welfare check after airport operations officials were unable to make contact with anyone at the tower.
“Disclosure of said record would interfere with enforcement proceedings,” Madeleine Schroeder, a city records custodian, wrote in a letter denying the request.
Authorities have not said whether one or more than one controller was on duty that morning. The Boise tower handles incoming and outgoing flights both from the Boise Airport and Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana.
No incidents were reported at either airport as a result of pilots being unable to reach the controllers.