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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 24, 2013 6:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Phil Knight's money advances in hoops tourney. The next post in this blog is The fix is *really* in on Washington side of the CRoCk. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Priorities on parade

Don't you just love bureaucrats? Congress orders across-the-board spending cuts, and what's the first thing to go? Air traffic control towers!

Great idea. After all, who needs air traffic control? We need to save our billions for jet fighters, missile systems, and Hanford "cleanup."

Comments (14)

This may get the attention of the 1,000th of 1% who fly around in Gulfstreams.
They don't give a hoot about those of us underneath them, but they might not want to die in mid air collisions.

While I agree that they are picking things to cut that are most visible to the public (and unnecessary) there is no real impact to air safety in closing those towers. North Bend did not have a control tower in the ninties, and I routinely flew my Cessna there sharing the airspace with Horizon commuter flights. The pilots know how to work together to control traffic at fields without towers. It's part of their training and it is routine.

Incidentally, many of the small airport control towers in Oregon are closed at night anyway, so if you were landing after 6 PM or taking off before 8 AM you were doing the same for traffic control as they will now be doing 24/7.

Understand that I am talking about small fields with light traffic and low volume commercial traffic. There is no way you could close the towers at class B or C airports (Seatac or Pdx).

Air towers or cuts in elder care. Cuts structured to highlight the pain, so as to encourage a quicker resolution to a debt stalemate. But once again our great leaders have missed the mark by self imposing a divided government. The general public simply sees an inept group of lawmakers, incapable of properly prioritizing the nation’s needs. Yes, more of us are paying attention.

About 10 years ago I was living in Kalispell, Montana - at the time it was an uncontrolled (no control tower) airport...yet it hosted six daily 727 flights from Delta and Northwest, three F-28s from Horizon, a small Montana airline (now defunct), a good number of corporate jets and general aviation Cessnas and the like. The airport authority and local politicians decided that we needed "economic development" in the form of a control tower...and eventually the tower was built and staffed.

There was never any safety consideration in installing the tower. There was no record of any crashes or incursions...in fact Kalispell had a second airport (which still exists) where a lot of the smaller Cessna owners preferred, because it was a very small airport that anything larger couldn't use. (That airport, located very close to residential areas, has come under fire and the city even once considered closing it, but instead are paying for various improvements to the runway and aprons.)

Today - there's slightly more flights to Kalispell, but Delta has replaced their mainline equipment (737s and MD-80s) with SkyWest regional jets (CRJ-700s). Horizon now uses the slower Q-400s instead of jets. United has added service but again with CRJs. There's only one "big" plane into town - Allegiant, a less-than-daily company that makes most of its money selling vacation packages to Vegas.

Economic Development? Hardly. Safety? Not at all. The airport was perfectly safety before hand...every pilot learns how to operate at an uncontrolled airport, before they learn how to operate at controlled airports.

I was watching the news and they were discussing these closures. Something like 90% of all flights use 40 towers and most of those go through only 10 towers. They also pointed out like mentioned above, many fields have no tower or towers that are only manned for part of the day. Part of a pilots training is how to land at fields with no or unmanned towers.

You don't expect them to cut the welfare to our "special relationship" intanglements, do you?

Somebody has to get free medical and education.

There was a time during peak flows when downtown street intersections were staffed by police directing traffic. Now there are computerized traffic light and sensor systems aided by remote monitors viewing banks of video screens covering multiple interesections. What minimal controllng is required at the affected small airports can be handled by controllers at nearby large airports (who have to monitor these planes anyhow) and regional control centers. Airport operations will be minimally affected by the closures -- if at all.

I actually took some time to look into the tower closings. The tower closures are typically at general aviation airports with little or no scheduled traffic. Many are airports that once had significant scheduled air service that was lost to other larger, more modern airports. Over time, with technology, the need for dedicated air control staff is greatly diminished.

Left to their own accords, the federal bureaucrats and the corporate contractor cronies would never step in and say enough is enough. Having once worked in the national budget office of a large federal agency I can attest that across-the-board cuts are a viable tool for clearing out the cobwebs.

We have more important priorities folks. Like Vice President Wingnuts 500k one night hotel rooms in europe and funding our enemies. Running guns to Mexico and Syria.

Shhh!!! Don't wake up the media...

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=577814

Troutdale Airport is too close to Portland Airport to go without air traffic control.

Tens miles ground distance typically means about 2 to 3 thousand feet of vertical separation. If Portland wants to keep Troutdale's dedicated tower open, it could charge a user fee of about 5 bucks for each takeoff and landing to cover the cost, or find some other less appropriate source of funding. FAA will cooperate.

I recall whoever ran the zoo using a similar tactic back in the 1990's. It involved closing the petting zoo for the little kids at the Portland zoo. They even had a big sign up that blamed the taxpayers. I think they actually call it the "Washington Monument Strategy" - close something high profile, not wasteful, just to show the public who the boss really is. I think IMPEACHMENT is a great strategy at that point, especially with demagogues like Barry.

These cuts were never designed to be across the board spending cuts. The cuts were designed to be diffucult as possible to deal with so that neither party would let them go into effect and designed to be public enough so that it would force them to reach some sort of compromise which of course did not work. They were designed to hurt. Thats why the US Park service was picked as well as these cuts.

i wonder how many controllers could be paid from the $500,000 plus Smokin' Joe Biden spend on his one night stand in Paris. Or the 50 million in TSA uniforms. What a joke.

Jack,
Regarding your comment on the proximity of Troutdale to PDX. Pearson is much closer to PDX and has no control tower. Never has had one. Pilots going into and departing Pearson have to get a clearance from PDX, but after giving clearance the PDX controllers just advise them to go to the UNICOM frequencey for Pearson and talk to the other pilots, just like any other field without a tower.


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