by Paul Bertorelli
March 28, 2013
So now that all the towers are closed, what are we to do? Will chaos reign? Have the dogs of doom been loosed? Not quite, but depending on where you fly, there could be some challenges ahead that will be unnerving. And just to put some numbers on it, the FAA-announced closures will shutter 149 of 516 control towers in the U.S. or 29 percent. It's not a trivial number so irrespective of safety or risk, many of us will have to adapt to operational changes.
On the other hand, for pilots already operating out of non-towered airports and who don't fly IFR much, if it all, it will be business as usual. It probably will not be business as usual for IFR operations, however. The control facilities which handle these—Centers and TRACONs—will be impacted by furloughed staff and controllers tell us service will inevitably suffer, we just don't know how much. One way to look at the tower closures is to consider VFR operations first, then IFR ops. Read more...