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From the Desk of the Chief

From the Desk of the Chief

Jesse Gamueda, Chief Pilot WVFC

Tower Closure!

So, you may or may not have heard about the possible tower closure at the San Carlos airport.

Because of the sequestration order in effect in Washington about 200 airport towers may be closed to facilitate mandatory budget cuts.  Let me repeat that; Airport towers, not airports!

This is a very real concern of ours here at West Valley Flying Club.  Forgive me for my lack of depth in trying to explain in detail what’s happening. 

The Facts;

Congress has mandated budget cuts across all levels of federal government.  This includes but is not limited to, federal law enforcement, VA hospitals, Federal Aviation Administration and so on.

If an airport with an operating control tower has less than 150,000 operations annually and it was federally contracted, then it is currently being considered for tower closure.

San Carlos airport (KSQL) is one of the airports that meet all 3 requirements. 

1.)   Airport with a control tower

2.)   Federally contracted

3.)   Less than 150,000 operations annually

It’s as simple as that! 

After speaking with the airport manager at San Carlos – Gretchen Kelly, on several occasions, she has indicated that she received a letter from the FAA that said SQL has made the short list of the 200 airports being considered.  She has stated that she will know an answer “for sure” on the 18th or 20th of March.

Moving forward – Should our tower be closed, then there will be discussion put in place from our organization along with others about what best safety practices will be implemented.  Non towered airport operations are very different than towered, to be discussed in another article.

However, the real reason for this letter is to inform you that West Valley Flying Club will continue to operate out of the San Carlos airport without the use of a control tower.  Again, Best safety practices will be considered and implemented. 

We will plan on working with the other flight schools, clubs, airport authority, FAA and so on to make sure that we bring you the safest, easiest transition possible without trying to hinder your love of flying. I will repeat.  WEST VALLEY FLYING CLUB will continue operations as usual, taking the necessary steps to facilitate airport operations without a control tower.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or anyone of our very capable instructors regarding any changes. Regardless, I appreciate and thank you for your time!

Since going to press, we have learned that the tower at SQL will remain open.