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Budget cuts might mean fewer air traffic controllers

Published: February 27, 2013

Rich Lowry (Commentary, Feb. 23) is correct: The Obama administration is much more involved in scaring and blaming than attempting to fix the budgetary impasse — as demonstrated in “Budget cuts could mean FAA furloughs, tower shutdowns” (News, Feb. 23). Sounds bad doesn't it? The fear line in the article states, “Air traffic control towers at airports in Oklahoma City, Norman, Stillwater and other cities might have to shut down and overnight shifts may have to be eliminated at Will Rogers World airport ...”

I live near Max Westheimer Airport, the only airport with a control tower in Norman. What the article doesn't say is that the tower at Westheimer isn't manned 24/7. When I filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration last year about a low-flying aircraft that passed over my house at 6 a.m., I was told that tower communication tapes to verify who was flying weren't available because the tower wasn't in operation. As a pilot, I know that many airports in the country are “uncontrolled” — either they don't have a tower or it isn't manned 24/7. Pilots learn FAA procedures to take off and land at airports and landing strips that don't have a tower or available radio communications. If there are no arrivals scheduled at Will Rogers World Airport overnight, why not do what it's done in Norman and send the controllers home?

Bob Vernon, Norman


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