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In real world, tower closing erodes safety

Robert Browning Groton

Publication: The Day

Published 04/06/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 04/05/2013 05:51 PM

The sequester driven closure of the Groton-New London Airport control tower was recently announced.

Duties of the control tower staff include, but are not limited to, controlling aircraft arrivals and departures, progressive directions to various locations on the airfield, reporting weather and airport facility conditions.

The tower staff deal with many type of aircraft from presidential jets, large corporate jets, and small general aviation aircraft, many of which are piloted by student pilots, as well as military helicopter aircraft from the National Guard fleet.

The airport will continue to operate through a system called "Common Traffic Advisory Frequency," (CTAF), pilots will communicate with one another on this frequency as they land, takeoff and move aircraft on the airfield. Airport line service technicians and state transportation personnel will also utilize this CTAF procedure as they perform their duties.

Will this change in operation procedures at the Groton-New London airport compromise safety of aircraft crews and passengers, airport staff and general public? In a perfect world, if the proper FAA CTAF procedures are followed, perhaps not. But unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.

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