Beacon Theft Stops Night Flights In Grand Forks

Night flights are banned at the Grand Forks Airport in southern B.C. after someone stole $40,000 worth of equipment from a beacon near the strip. There are six beacons on the mountains surrounding the airport and they all have to be working to allow night operations at Grand Forks, which is the only airport capable of night operations in a huge swath of the Kootenay region. Last year, 27 air ambulances used the airport at night. The theft and the attendant vandalism at the beacon means night flying will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.

The beacon in question is on Hardy Mountain. The beacons run autonomously on solar and backup power systems and that’s what the thieves were after. The items taken include solar equipment, alternative fuel generators and ethanol fuel cells. Some navigation equipment was also lifted. The City of Grand Forks has already started arranging for repairs but there is no timeline on when it will be fixed. “A break and enter to such an important and vital site is very disturbing,” said Sgt. Darryl Peppler of the Grand Forks RCMP. “There were clear warnings at the location, including a sign asking persons not to vandalize the site as there was lifesaving equipment present.” Tampering with air navigation equipment is a federal crime