1940 Air Terminal Museum blog

Thirteen Texas airport towers on the closure list

Saturday, March 23, 2013
Filed under: Blog entry (Home Page), News by rich

In the interest of pilot awareness, I’ve looked over the list of FAA towers that are on the list for closure as a result of sequestration, and made a list of those that are in Texas.

Of course, larger airports such as Hobby are not affected, but we General Aviation pilots do indeed fly to some of the affected airports. Many of the Museum’s friends do too! As a pilot, I want to make sure I have all information pertinent to each flight I conduct. And part of that is making sure that information such as this is available everywhere I turn.

For those of you who don’t fly except commercially, you may have seen many news articles by now about the tower closures at these smaller airports. Although the news may make it seem like our safety net is completely gone, pilots such as myself are not concerned. Certainly, it would be better for all if these towers remained operational. Safety would be improved if the towers remained open but safety is not lost; tasks associated with operations near these airports are simply transferred back to the pilots.

I am based out of one of these airports, and for me, that means I treat it as any other non-towered airport. In fact, during my primary training, my home airport was a non-towered airport; the tower was put in while I finished my training. We already have procedures that help us be where we are supposed to be, and we will simply rely on those procedures.

It is my hope that this situation clears up quickly so that our friends in the tower can return to work. I respect and rely on all the work that you do, and look forward to hearing familiar voices from our helpful, watchful friends, on the radio again soon.

Federal contract towers in Texas affected by sequestering and expected to close during the four weeks beginning Sunday, April 7:

BAZ New Braunfels Muni New Braunfels TX
BRO Brownsville/ South Padre Island Intl Brownsville TX
CLL Easterwood Field College Station TX
CXO Lone Star Executive Houston TX
GTU Georgetown Muni Georgetown TX
HYI San Marcos Muni San Marcos TX
RBD Dallas Executive Dallas TX
SGR Sugar Land Rgnl Houston TX
SSF Stinson Muni San Antonio TX
TKI Collin County Rgnl at Mc Kinney Dallas TX
TYR Tyler Pounds Rgnl Tyler TX
VCT Victoria Rgnl Victoria TX

Federal contract towers in Texas remaining open:

GKY Arlington Muni Arlington TX

Federal contract towers in Texas remaining open as a result of cost-share agreements (they cannot be closed because they receive some congressional funds):

FWS Fort Worth Spinks Fort Worth TX
GPM Grand Prairie Muni Grand Prairie TX

Please visit the full article below and get a copy of the official closure lists:

FAA To Release List of Tower Closures (AOPA Article – opens in a new window)

According to the Houston Chronicle, Montgomery County plans to team up with the city of Conroe to fund the controllers for CXO – Lone Star Executive Airport. So, the situation is continuing to change.

Fly safely as usual, and remember to check your destination airport against this list before starting your flight. If you are flying outside of Texas remember that there are a total of 149 towers that will be closed due to sequestration.

April 3 UPDATE

TXDOT, the Texas Department of Transportation, released a statement on March 28 recognizing the value of the contract towers to aviation safety in the state.

TXDOT intends to ensure the continued operation of the 13 Federal contract towers on the closure list – by securing funding for them.

An emergency session will be held in Austin on April 4 at 9:00 am with the funding for these towers as its focus. Interested parties can attend the meeting at 125 E. 11th St., Austin, Texas, in the Ric Williamson Hearing Room on the first floor.

Aviation is transportation… and I remember my ‘I should have guessed’ moment when I first found the TXDOT Aviation websites, and realized that TXDOT does a great deal for aviation. Find out more about TXDOT Aviation.


April 5 UPDATE

TXDOT released a statement on April 4 with the results of the emergency meeting: the Texas Transportation Commission will provide financial assistance to fourteen federal contract towers for 90 days. The fourteenth tower (not on my list above) is the airport that serves Texarkana:

TXK Texarkana Regional Airport-Webb Field Texarkana AR


April 6 UPDATE

Yesterday, Reuters reported that the FAA decided to delay the closure of the federal contract towers until June 15, while they look more closely at their original decision. Craig Fuller, president of the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, said the association applauds the decision, which “provides the aviation community and the FAA the time it needs to properly assess this proposed budgetary action”.