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My friend has already been laid off at the Ogden-Hinckley airport after decades of service.  The Ogden, Utah airport  will remain open WITHOUT the safety of air traffic control.  The OGDEN tower makes sure planes don't crash into the F16s barreling out of nearby Hill Air force Base and nearby SLC Int'l Airport, which is a very busy Delta hub.  The pilots choosing to fly into and out of Ogden will chat with each other to coordinate, as they are trained to do.

Provo will also be without air traffic control.  Provo airport hosts the largest student flight school in the USA.

Both airports have been used as diversion landings for SLC during inclement weather..

So if you hear of any flight accidents near Salt Lake or Provo, Utah, God forbid......

There are a couple of videos and more details in the article below. This is not a sound decision by any stretch of the imagination.  Some have even gone far to state that airports without air traffic control could become security threat.  After 911 we might expect Congress to have voted to keep air traffic controllers in place for airfields near international hubs and/busy Air Force bases.  But no.

You will find more details here

The airports will remain open, but pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers, under procedures that all pilots are trained to carry out.

Air traffic controllers in Ogden monitor three flight patterns at different altitudes arriving to and departing from Ogden, Salt Lake International and Hill Air Force Base, said Ogden airport manager Royal Eccles. With the Hill Air Force Base within four miles, Eccles even goes as far as to call the potential closure a "national security issue." Hill is a base for F-16s, and it will soon be a base for F-35s.

"There's going to be problems," Eccles said. "There will be safety concerns and ramification because of it."

About two-thirds of the flights at the Provo Airport are piloted by students enrolled at one of the country's largest flight schools at a nearby university, Gleason said.

One comment used the analogy of removing traffic lights at busy intersections.

149 air traffic towers are closing nationally.

Btw, my friend will be fine financially as long as a plane doesn't crash on his home near Ogden. I think the effective date is April 7, 2013.

It's becoming impossible to not hate the stupidity of Congress.

Originally posted to War on Error on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.


Will you think twice about flying into Salt Lake

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:29:56 PM PDT

  •  Think... Think Twice (5+ / 0-)

    I think any sane person thinks twice before flying into Salt Lake City -- air traffic controllers or no.


  •  Repubs are the biggest hazard to flying (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, Otteray Scribe, skod, SuWho

    As they are to driving, going to the hospital, getting sick, getting old, getting pregnant, and I could go on, but you know the rest.

    If it doesn't benefit the top 1%, the Repubs don't care.

    Eradicate magical thinking

    by Zinman on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 11:02:24 PM PDT

  •  This is a concern to all pilots. (6+ / 0-)

    I went down the list of closures.  As far as I can tell, the towers affected are those which were already manned by contractors rather than FAA employees.  That does not make them any less competent than FAA employees.  I am familiar with a number of the fields whose towers are closing. Some don't bother me too much, since those fields barely have enough traffic to justify keeping the towers open.  Others bother me a lot.  

    Having flown in and out of fields without air traffic control services on the field, but having a military air base nearby, there is a protocol.  Once airborne, I talk to the military controllers until clear of their airspace.  This means the field is not left completely "bare" but does add to the workload of the military controllers, and there is still no tower operator on the field.  What the military controllers cannot do is give clearances for takeoff and landing, or direct traffic on the field.  For one thing they cannot see low flying traffic and obviously, cannot see the field.

    Airports that cater to small general aviation aircraft only do not bother me all that much.  It is when there is a mix of small training aircraft with a top speed of 100 mph and jet traffic that cannot anywhere near that slow bothers me.  Besides, student pilots are just developing their abillty to scan the sky and see other traffic.  

    One more thing. Just because a tower is operating, doesn't mean accidents won't happen.  I was only a couple of miles away at the time of this mid-air at St. Louis Lambert Field in 1968.  An Ozark Airlines jet collided with a Cessna 150 trainer.  The jet landed with severe damage, but the Cessna crashed in pieces in a residential neighborhood, killing both student and instructor.  

    Also at St. Louis, I was driving past Lambert Field in 1966 when two astronauts crashed into one of the buildings at the McDonnell-Douglas aircraft factory.  Weather was lousy and it was hard to see what was happening, but I knew it was bad.

    Air traffic, especially commercial traffic, is increasing.  Industrial psychologists who study workplace stress say two of the most stressful occupations are airline pilot and air traffic controller.

    Things first started going downhill when Ronnie Raygun decided to gut PATCO, the air traffic controller's union. They were trying to get equipment upgrades and better working conditions. Instead, the Republicans saw a perfect opportunity to get rid of a union.  They put administrators in charge of ACT and that was a scary time.  I could not believe it when the Republicans named Washington National Airport after that demented old ideologue.  

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 02:31:25 AM PDT

  •  ATC at general aviation airports... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    ...should be budget-neutral.  If Provo has the country's largest flight school, that's who should be paying.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:00:10 AM PDT

    •  ATC is a safety issue, not one of convenience. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error, SuWho, PeterHug

      Tower operations are not just for the students. Tower closures affect every aircraft coming and going from that airport. There are some underutilized airports that don't really need a tower any longer, but it appears the selection of towers to close are those staffed by contractors, not regular FAA employee controller.  

      As for who pays. There was a fuel tax of 19.4 cents per gallon of aviation gas. That money was supposed to be earmarked for airport maintenance, operations and safety research. In 2011, due to Congress squabbling and inaction (what else is new) the FAA lost the ability to collect the tax. It then dropped to 4.4 cents per gallon. A temporary re-authorization was passed, but the situation is still unstable.  Why are we not surprised.  The AOPA covered the situation back in 2011.  Story about it at the link.

      The NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) had an opinion article about the fuel tax last year.

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 06:34:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For some reason (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, freerad, zinger99

    the small commuter airport near me survived the cut. The large private jets that take off from there every Monday morning... Oh wait, I get it now.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 06:06:07 AM PDT

    •  The first cuts are to airports using contractors (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error, LI Mike

      and not FAA civil service controllers.  Do a little Google research and see if you can find out if your local field uses contractors or FAA staff.  

      Probably does not have as much to do with who is using the field, as who is staffing the tower.  They are shutting down the tower at Fayetteville, Arkansas.  That is home to the University of Arkansas,  Walmart and Tyson Foods, just to name three regular users.  

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 06:38:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some closed around Boston... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Places like Norwood, Beverly, Worcester, and Nashua are all slated to close.

    If they really want to make this hurt, they'd close the tower at Hanscom, but we can't mess with the Learjet set now, can we?

    I prefer to remain an enigma.

    by TriSec on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:40:00 AM PDT

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