NOREEN: Army helicopters avoid populated areas

April 19, 2013
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One reader calls it “the sound of freedom.”

Undoubtedly the many local military boosters would say the noise is part of the cost of doing business in a military town.

But to Pete Apostolas, the sound of helicopters overhead has become a major nuisance.

“As I speak,” Apostolas said on the phone this week, “the Army helicopters are flying around. It sounds like a war zone over here.”

Apostolas lives near Cheyenne Canyon and there’s no denying that some parts of the southwest quadrant of Colorado Springs have experienced more helicopter overflights since the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade moved to Fort Carson.

Civic boosters wanted the brigade added here because of the increased payroll and the substantial construction needed to accommodate it.

The Army post’s public information office responded with the explanation that the proximity of the mountains to the post “provides a vital service to the Army aviation community by hosting High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training (HAMET), which hones high-altitude aviation skills for Army helicopter. The unique mountainous terrain near Fort Carson is the ideal location for this training and has greatly improved the skills and readiness of aviation units across the Army.”

Learning to fly helicopters in mountain canyons is linked directly to the Army’s mission in Afghanistan and there are no mountains at Fort Carson.

The helicopters sometimes land at sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service under a special use agreement with those agencies.

“Some of these landing zones are currently only accessible via flight corridors that pass over residential neighborhoods,”  the post’s explanation said. “Whenever possible, we use routes that avoid populous areas.”

Residents with complaints can call the Fort Carson Community Relations office at 526-9849.

It’s understandable some don’t like the noise, but it’s fair to say it was anticipated all along and it’s hardly going away — the brigade will add quite a few more helicopters and won’t be fully operational until 2015.

Got a question? Contact Barry Noreen at 636-0363 or at

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