Oshkosh Airport Tower to Shut Down
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
OSHKOSH, WI --Directors at Wittman Regional in Oshkosh are concerned about the airport's future. Friday the FAA announced it's one of 149 airports across the country that will be forced to shut down its air traffic control towers. It's all part of the federal sequester cuts.
Oshkosh is the third busiest airport in Wisconsin, right behind Milwaukee and Madison. The airport director says losing air traffic controllers is a big safety concern, everything will be left up to the pilots.
Nearly 250 flights a day come in and out of Wittman Regional airport. Airport.
Director Peter Moll worries safety will be compromised with no one in the air traffic control tower.
"It really provides a second set of eyes for the pilot" said Moll.
No word yet on how this will affect EAA, but the six air traffic controllers who work at Wittman Regional will lose their jobs. The pilots will have to communicate directly with each other to prevent a crash.
"When he is departing the airport, when he is landing, a few miles out, which runway he is landing on" said Moll.
For passengers like Jesse Steinke who fly out of Wittman for work, the thought is disconcerting.
"Sometimes you see planes landing one right after another, and you wonder if one might be trying to take off at the same time as someone is trying to land. It could get messy" said Steinke.
Moll says the airport is re-evaluating safety procedures.
"Without them [the controllers] it becomes a little more critical" said Moll.
The towers are staffed from 6 am to 10 pm right now, but starting April 7th the FAA will begin a phased shutdown.