I know and respect the flight instructor who wrote the April 9 letter in support of the control tower. However, I have a somewhat different view.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, total annual aircraft operations declined from 90,000 in the late 1990s to the mid-30,000 range in 2011. In deciding which control towers to close, the FAA looked at the number of aircraft operations, as well as whether the closure would have an impact on the national interest.
If we are to get our federal fiscal house in order we may all have to endure cuts that have an undesirable impact on our lives. In that process, we, as a nation, must decide which benefits are desirable and which are necessary. We will have to prioritize. It cannot always be the "other fellow's" program that is cut. Sometimes it will have to be ours.
The airport had operated for years without a control tower with an excellent safety record. There is no evidence to suggest that a major aircraft accident is likely to occur without the current non-radar tower. Many airports operate in this country without towers with acceptable safety records.
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If the federal government could afford it, I would not only like to see the tower continue to operate, but also would like to see it upgraded with radar capability.
However, this becomes a question of affordability, not desirability. While I believe the control tower is desirable, I believe we can and will see safe operations if it ceases to operate.
Dale C. Eisenman
Hilton Head Island