Tulsa pilot says tower closures to have minimal impact on passengers

TULSA - A Tulsa airline pilot is speaking out on the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to soon close 149 federal contract towers as part of the sequester.

But not exactly against it. Craig Allen says the closures will have a minimal impact on passengers.

"Commercial airliners land every single evening, everyday, with no control tower," he said.

Allen tells 2NEWS pilots use something called a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) to communicate with each other, when no tower operator is present. "You make an announcement over that particular common frequency, that everybody else is on, usually within about 15 to 20 miles and you announce your position," he explained.

The pilots use the CTAF to properly space themselves and safely navigate their airplanes.

Allen also says the closures will likely not have a major impact on travel time, unless several flights are present in the same airspace.

"It would slow things down," he said. "It would have to."

FULL LIST OF CLOSURES (http://1.usa.gov/YLhg80)

Four contract towers in Oklahoma are scheduled to close at Lawton's Fort Sill Regional Airport, the University of Oklahoma's Max Westheimer Airport, Oklahoma City's Wiley Post Airport and the Stillwater Regional Airport.

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