UPDATE: The Obama Administration has delayed plans to close FAA Control Towers like the one in Janesville, at least until June.
This comes in the nick of time for the Southern Wisconsin Airport, which was losing its control tower this weekend. The Obama Administration is putting the closures of 149 towers off, so it could review legal challenges.
The Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington-Normal filed a lawsuit last month that argues these plans erode safety. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered them closed in order to save money.
UPDATE: We expect to learn next week whether Rockford Airfest will be a casualty of Federal Spending Cuts. If it is, that means there will be no airshows like it in our area this year.
The one in Southern Wisconsin already got canceled due to too much competition.
However, the troubles at Janesville’s airport don’t end there. The Federal Aviation administration is closing its air traffic control tower on April 7th.
This doesn’t mean the airport will close, but pilots will be required to coordinate takeoffs and landings themselves, over a shared radio frequency. So there will be no help from the ground. Pilots are trained to do this, but there are of course safety concerns.
The FAA is also closing 148 other air traffic control towers nationwide.
To see other air traffic control towers that have been slated to close, click here.
JANESVILLE (WIFR) -- Nearly 200 air traffic control towers across the country could close this year. While the Chicago-Rockford International Airport is not one of them, another Stateline Airport is.
The Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville could have to shut down it’s air traffic control tower in just a matter of weeks, thanks to automatic government spending cuts which kicked in earlier this month.
If a deal to stop the cuts isn’t reached soon, the entire staff of the control tower could lose their job. More importantly, it would jeopardize the safety of the entire airport. Without air traffic controllers, pilots are left to communicate current positions and conditions with each other to avoid collisions. Should there be an emergency in the air, an unmanned tower means no one would hear their call for help.
“Without us here, say an aircraft has a fire in the cockpit. There is no one here to hear him say, ‘I have a fire in my cockpit.’ He has to deal with that and then hopefully somebody out there who has a scanner reports it so fire trucks an ambulances can come out,” said Air Traffic Manager, Earl Arrowood.
Arrowood says that if the tower goes empty, it’s not a matter of “if” an accident happens, but when.
The Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport currently has the third busiest control tower in the State of Wisconsin. With increased danger, companies using the airport could choose to fly elsewhere