The Norman Transcript

Local news

March 10, 2013

FAA plans to shut down Max Westheimer Airport tower

NORMAN — The planned April 7 closure of OU’s Max Westheimer Airport air traffic control tower has local and state general aviation officials concerned about flying safety.

The local tower, a contracted operation, is one of five air traffic control towers in Oklahoma to close next month, with another set to close in September. The closure is part of a cost-cutting move on the part of the Federal Aviation Administration ordered by the federal sequestration that began March 1.

“What we’re getting right now is that the FAA will cease to fund the operation on April 7,” said Walt Strong, Westheimer manager. “They’re to going to shut it down and it’s going to be lights out for us.”

Westheimer, home base to many business airplanes and the state’s own air fleet, has about 56,000 take-offs and landings a year. Westheimer is also an emergency reliever for Will Rogers World airport. It is believed to be the third busiest general aviation airport in the state.

Norman pilot Randy Richison said the local aviation community will survive, but he wishes the federal government would prioritize better instead of cutting costs that affect safety.

“I tend to be a fiscal conservative but I believe if the government was efficient, then a two percent cut would be easier to swallow. I would think they would find less esential things to cut,” Richison said.

“We can live with it but in terms of safety, in cities this size with a large flight school, it doesn’t make sense. What ever happened to the word ‘priority?’ Let’s get rid of the non-productive, inefficient things first,” Richison said.

Football game day traffic is intense and Strong, the airport director, said no exceptions have been proposed for those fall Saturdays.

“We’re all expressing some concern,” he said. “When the FAA tells us you are the No. 1 priority of aviation safety, and they promote that and then this happens it’s pretty troubling.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • N7 Sooners come together to serve Native American youth

    Whitney Wofford has faced some tough competition as a part of the Oklahoma tennis team. However, on Wednesday, Wofford may have taken on her biggest and most rewarding competition yet at the Sooners For N7 event at the Oklahoma football ...

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Chamber Banquet During annual banquet, Chamber of Commerce promotes moving Norman forward

    Amidst the backdrop of music, dancing, dinner and fellowship, business leader Mike Fowler announced that the time for a quality-of-life initiative in Norman has come. As incoming Norman Chamber of Commerce board chairman, Fowler and ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Symposium speaker Paul Polik: Commerce can help and bring millions out of poverty

    How to harness the power of commerce to address social and environmental challenges in sustainable ways was the topic of discussion at the University of Oklahoma Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth’s fourth annual Social ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Amber waves turn gray as farms lose younger generation

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Jerry Pfeiffer was thrilled when his son, Kelsey, 25, announced plans to return to the family’s farm in Orlando....

    April 18, 2014

  • Postal retiree luncheon set

    A postal retiree luncheon will be 11:30 a.m. Monday at Golden Corral Buffet and Grill, 123 N. Interstate Drive in Norman. Diners will meet in the lobby. For more information, call Joyce Carle at 872-5157....

    April 18, 2014

  • Flapjack fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will partner with the Global Outreach Team at Go Church to host a Flapjack Fundraiser on April 26. Proceeds raised will be used by team members to purchase ...

    April 18, 2014

  • OU Hornsemble goes to the movies

    The OU Hornsemble will present a concert of music from the cinema at 6 p.m. April 27 in the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall. Billed as “Movie-Time Music,” the ensemble will present a wide variety of cinematic music from the 1940s to the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Woman bound over for trial

    A Slaughterville woman facing a manslaughter charge after the death of an 8-year-old child was bound over for trial this week after a preliminary hearing in Cleveland County District Court. Kimberly Dawn Wenthold, 29, was charged in ...

    April 18, 2014

  • MNTC campaign focuses on dangers of texting while driving

    Students enrolled in Moore Norman Technology Center’s Career Exploration Education class are taking a class project that they feel strongly about to an involved level within their community. They are raising awareness among their high ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Fighting to rid world of polio

    A small crutch leaned against a podium inside an Oklahoma Memorial Union room Wednesday evening. It was a prop, retrieved and held aloft by Shawn Arnold as he described his early battle with polio....

    April 18, 2014

Video
Facebook