Have there been crashes of planes in or near Boulder?

Yes, there have crashes, fires, and deaths.

In 2022 alone, there were six crashes and ten deaths in and around Boulder County. In one disturbing incident in 2022, a pilot associated with the Boulder Airport was filmed harassing boats over Horsetooth Reservoir before crashing.  The pilot survived and subsequently fled the country.

Did you know there is NO air traffic control at BDU, and no plans to get air traffic control in the future? It’s true! Pilots who fly in and out of BDU rely on personal visual verification that the runways are clear, in addition to using radio to communicate to other pilots their intent to take off or land. It is literally a disaster waiting to happen. In 2022, two small planes collided mid-air near Niwot, CO, just north of Boulder, killing all on board and littering debris that nearly struck Niwot High School students practicing in the school’s field nearby. Neither plane was in contact with an air traffic control, and neither was equipped with a collision avoidance system.

Shockingly, pilots of small planes (general aviation) are not required to carry liability insurance. If they crash into someone’s home or property, in addition to the risk to life safety, the property owner may be left footing the bill for clean-up and repairs. One Homeowner’s Association in Broomfield, CO is seeking $300,000 restitution for their costs to clean up from a plane that crashed into their property in 2022, including remediating lead from spilled aviation fuel. That plane nearly hit houses. 

In 2022, a plane crash in Lefthand Canyon outside of Boulder killed four people and ignited a small wildfire.  In 2014, a small plane crashed on Independence Road after taking off from Boulder Airport, killing the pilot and starting a fire.    
Read more about airplane safety and crash incidents in our area.