For Immediate Release

January 4, 2001
Contact: Mike Fergus
Phone: 425-227-1203

BUTTE, Montana — Federal Aviation Administration officials in Butte, Mont., discovered vandalism at the Coppertown VOR (Very High-Frequency Omnidirectional Range antenna) near Butte On Jan. 3. The incident is under investigation by the FBI and local law enforcement.

Authorities believe the antenna was destroyed when vandals attached a chain to the VOR antenna, pulling it down.

VOR antennas are used by pilots for point-to-point navigation on the airways system and also are used in instrument landing and departure procedures.

Local airlines at the Bert Mooney Regional Airport in Butte have cancelled three flights in the last 24-hours because of the vandalism and it could be as long as a week before flight traffic resumes normal schedule.

A portable VOR from the Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center in Auburn, Wash., is on the way to Butte to replace the vandalized unit.

"The FAA has taken great strides to put this VOR back and service. It would typically be 30 days in order to restore damage of this degree," said Butte Airport Manager Rick Griffith.

Travelers should check with local airlines to verify their flight information if traveling to or from Butte during this period.

Skywest may be contacted at (406) 494-4000 and Horizon at (406) 494-1804.