Pilots concerned over control tower closures

Pilots concerned over control tower closures

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by Mike Benner, KGW reporter

kgw.com

Posted on March 23, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Updated Saturday, Mar 23 at 12:14 PM

TROUTDALE, Ore. -- The Troutdale Airport is the third busiest in Oregon.  Ryan Anderson knows all about the congestion.  He flies in and out of Troutdale quite often.  He relies heavily on the air traffic control tower.

"Having the tower here is an extra set of eyes," said Anderson.

In a couple of weeks that extra set of eyes will be gone.  In an effort to trim $637 million from its budget the FAA is closing nearly 150 control towers at small airports nationwide.  Troutdale's tower is on the chopping block.

"I'm actually concerned about the safety here in Troutdale," said Anderson.

There are 93,000 takeoffs and landings at Troutdale each year.

"It's getting really busy as far as flight instructions, students, things like that."

Additionally, Troutdale is right under the arrival and departure paths for PDX.  Without air traffic controllers, landings and takeoffs at Troutdale could be more difficult.

"The airport will still be able to function," said Steve Johnson of the Port of Portland.  "We do expect some restrictions."

In the meantime, pilots in Troutdale will have to communicate with each other.  It is not ideal for Anderson, but he will do it in order to keep flying.

The FAA plans to close the impacted towers by April 7.

 

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