Is BDU a hotbed of science and innovation?

Only two businesses connected to scientific research have facilities at BDU. They rarely have planes at BDU. Their planes spend most of their time flying to other parts of the country to gather data. If BDU closed, these businesses would continue to operate out of other locations.

BDU has two tenants that conduct data collection, but it would be a stretch to say that scientific research or innovation takes place at BDU or because BDU is present.

The two airport tenants with connections to research / data collection are NEON and Scientific Aviation. 


NEON, the National Ecological Observatory Network, has a hangar at BDU but does not have any planes based here. They rent their planes from another company. NEON performs regular ecological surveys of the same locations throughout the USA so that the data can be compared over time to see, for example, impacts of climate change. This is a worthy endeavor!  But NEON has over 80 sites around the United States.  They fly over Boulder twice a year to calibrate equipment. These calibration flights are particularly loud and fuel intensive, as they use dual engine Twin Otter planes that loop continuously over Boulder for an hour or more. NEON has other calibration sites, including in Greeley. If BDU closed, NEON would continue to do its research operating out of other locations.

Similarly,  Scientific Aviation has a presence at BDU. It is owned by ChampionX, a chemical and oil and gas company. ChampionX uses 1-2 planes to monitor fracking wells in Colorado and in other states such as Texas and New Mexico. They are monitoring air quality and can help identify methane leaks from the wells, among other things. Again, this is a worthy endeavor! But there are no fracking wells in the city of Boulder, so all of Scientific Aviation’s monitoring occurs in other places, and the planes are not in Boulder for most of the time. If BDU closes, Scientific Aviation will continue to do its work out of other locations.

Planes from both NEON and Scientific Aviation cause considerable noise complaints when they are in Boulder.