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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedNew Oshkosh ATC Tower Now Operational
Facility is ready for AirVenture arrivals
  

The new ATC tower at Witman Regional Airport provides a much better view of runway 18/36 for controllers.

On Tuesday, July 15, the FAA opened its new, $5.6 million air traffic control tower to local media for facility tours in advance of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, and it's definitely a room with a great view. The 525-square foot tower cab is significantly larger than that of the old tower, which was commissioned in 1963.

Oshkosh Tower personnel began operating from the new facility on July 1, to "make sure any last-minute bugs were taken care of prior to AirVenture," said Wanda Adelman, FAA district manager for air traffic operations in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes District. Adelman praised the Miron Construction Company, whose efforts allowed for the project to be completed ahead of schedule.

"We pushed them very hard to get this tower operational for 2008," she said. "Original estimates were that we wouldn't get into this facility until 2009 or possibly 2010, and that wasn't acceptable to us."

Marty Sweeney, a full-time controller at Oshkosh, said visibility from the new tower is much improved over the previous one. "Now we can easily see the approach end of Runway 9. From the old tower we couldn't see that end of the runway at all because trees obstructed our view," he explained. In addition, the added height makes it much easier for controllers to distinguish ground traffic on the perimeter roads. "Sometimes it looked as if they were on the taxiways," he added, "and we have a clearer view Runways 4/22, which will allow us to use those more."

At 116 feet (at the floor of the cab), the new tower is about 65 feet higher than the old facility. The cab has four controller positions plus a supervisor position for normal operations, but during AirVenture, 12 to 15 controllers and supervisors will be operating from the facility. "That's why the larger cab was needed," Adelman said.

During AirVenture 2008, 64 controllers and 14 supervisors from 50 different facilities throughout the country - all volunteers - will direct incoming and departing traffic. (More than 170 controllers put in for the prestigious duty) AirVenture is considered "The Super Bowl of air traffic control."

"They don't get a Super Bowl ring, but they do get a highly coveted fluorescent pink polo shirt," Adelman added. "We chose that color specifically because it makes the controllers readily visible to pilots when they're taxiing. It serves a safety function."

 

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