Four small airports in Oregon will soon become “non-towered” airports, meaning they will have to operate without their control towers. Airports in North Bend, Pendleton, Salem and Troutdale will close their towers in April. Because of the budget cuts known as “sequestration,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to close control towers for up to 149 small airports around the country.
Prior to finalizing the list of airports, the FAA has said it would not take local community impacts into account when considering which towers to close. Instead, it’s a decision that will be made strictly based on the number of flights going in and out of each airport. This has some organizations and pilots nervous about the safety hazards closing some towers could pose.
Are you a pilot? Do you work in air traffic control? Are you a frequent flyer at one of Oregon’s smaller airports? How would the loss of these control towers affect you?