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by Denise Ronald

Mall Staff Writer


David Wartofsky, inventor of the Super Unicorn automated pilot information system, met with the Salida Airport Board on Wednesday, to fine-tune his invention.


Salida’s Harriet Alexander Field is the first airport in the state of Colorado to have one of the new systems installed. The device gives pilots information on weather, wind speed, altimeter readings, temperature, humidity and dew point when a human operator is not available.

Customized information about the airport can be added as needed


Airport Commission member Bill Reeves applied for a grant to cover the $38,000 machine, as well as money for a new electrical gate and extensions on the existing taxiways.


"We received nearly $97,000 in grant money from the state this year," Reeves said Wednesday.


He added, "With that money we were able to install our new electric gate, extend the taxiway and pay for 80 percent of the Super Unicom System.


"It was amazing. We normally get around $17,000 in grant money each year.  I guess we just got lucky this year.


Reeves said that he thought it was important people understood where the money came from.


"These grants are paid out of taxes that have been collected from fuel sales, boarding fees and landing fees.


"Basically, the pilots are paying for this themselves."


Commission Chairman Mark Emmer said, "We love this system and so do the pilots.


"People who aren't landing, but just flying over, are checking out the system."


He added, "With this machine, we can better utilize our staff and stay within budget on the payroll.


"We were very lucky to get this piece of equipment.”


Fort Morgan is the only other airport in the state that was awarded the money to purchase the Super Unicom system this year.