Airport tower closures will have impact on pilots

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- John Vandevoort flies his airplane in and out of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport at least once or twice a week.

When he heard that the control tower would be closing on April 7th, he had one thought immediately come to mind.

"Definitely safety was the first thought I had when I heard it was closing," he said.

He says it is all due to traffic patterns and coordinating planes going in and out of the airport. There's another way to think about it.

"It's gonna be like if you're driving a car and coming up to the intersection, and someone just yanked out the lights or stop sign," he said. "Sure you can slow down and be very intentional and look for other traffic but there will be that worry for your safety."

He calls the tower another set of eyes to separate you from traffic. Now, that job will need to be done between the pilots in the air.

"I think most of the pilots here are experienced and we'll do the best we can to call out our intentions," he said.

He says the Chippewa Valley Airport is busy with not just United flights going in and out of Chicago, but commercial traffic as well as pilots like John.

He says it boils down to possibly more delays.

Add it all together and John says long term the closure could begin to have an effect on traffic.

"Definitely depending on how long the tower is closed we might start to see an impact on traffic, but I will definitely keep flying once or twice a week as much as I can," Vandevoort added.

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