I typically fly out of the Carlisle airport, and hop over to Cap City to stay current on flying in and out of a tower-controlled airport (just to keep my ears attuned to communicating with the controllers). Lancaster may also lose their tower, making HIA, Johnstown, or University Park the closest tower-controlled airports in PA. Cap City is a training center for US Army helicopters, and with the mix of helicopter traffic, light airplanes, some business jets, and traffic heading in and out of HIA very close by, the lack of a tower will make pilots have to stay on their game a lot more, carefully looking for other traffic. Cap City has about 33,000 operations (takeoffs and landings) annually, but that's not considered a busy airport. HIA has about double that amount, but it's still not a very busy airport. Harrisburg has a TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control facility) and the approach controllers will probably take over most of the work of keeping planes from bumping into each other around the airport. Just a little bump can ruin your whole day! There's a lot of lobbying going on with the FAA and federal legislators, so we haven't heard the last word on tower closures yet.
March 23, 2013
Msgr. William J. King