Granby benefactor, Gordon Autry, named to Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame
Ryan Summerlin September 3, 2010
Gordon Autry, the founder of Rocky Mountain Airways, which provided airline service to the Granby/Grand County Airport from 1973 to 1979, has been named to the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.
At the annual meeting of the Colorado Aviation Historical Society the vote was unanimous to induct Gordon Autry into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame. Shortly after the founding of Rocky Mountain Airways in 1973, Gordon Autry worked with world-famous developer, Dell Webb, to build an airline terminal at the Granby/Grand County Airport.
The airline terminal, which is currently used to house a mental-health treatment center, was specifically designed by Dell Webb and Gordon Autry to have a ticket office, restrooms, a large waiting room and a baggage-handling facility. The exterior was modeled after the famous Vail clock tower. After construction, the airline terminal building was donated by Dell Webb to Grand County for the provision of aeronautical benefits to the people of Grand County.
At the time Rocky Mountain Airways was serving: Vail, via the Avon STOL Airport; Steamboat Springs-Bob Adams Field, Aspen, Leadville, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Alamosa, Eagle and Craig.
Granby-bound passengers could board either a four-engine, turbo-prop, 48-passenger DeHavilland Dash-7 or the 19-passenger DeHavilland Twin Otter at old Denver Stapleton Airport and fly one-way, non-stop, to Granby for $13. No charge for baggage. The aircraft then flew on to serve Bob Adams Field at Steamboat Springs, returning to Granby and back to Denver Stapleton. That schedule provided Grand County residents with twice-a-day service to Steamboat Springs and to Denver Stapleton. From Denver Stapleton, Grand County passengers could have airline service to anyplace in the world.
Leading-edge technology characterized Rocky Mountain Airways from its inception. While most air carriers relied on federal navigation aids, Gordon Autry and Rocky Mountain Airways consistently bought, installed and operated its own equipment whenever those devices could contribute to safety, expansion of services and schedule reliability. Gordon Autry coupled leading-edge technology with his unique gift of boot-strap ingenuity and brought a level of service to Granby and other Colorado mountain airports that has yet to be equaled.
When the airline industry was deregulated in 1979, many of the smaller airlines serving rural/mountain America folded, to include Rocky Mountain Airways which could no longer afford to operate its rural/mountain America schedules.
The display of the photographs of the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame laureates is located in a special area of the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum inside the former Lowry Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.
In 2009, the recently rehabilitated Granby/Grand County Airport was named by the Colorado Pilots Association as an Airport of the Year. Currently, the airport is home base to 30 General Aviation aircraft.