The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 28, 2013

FAA spares Enid Woodring Regional Airport’s tower from the federal government’s ax

ENID, Okla. — Enid received some really good news from Federal Aviation Administration recently.

The control tower at Enid Woodring Regional Airport will not be closed as part of the federal government sequestration budget cuts.

In February, FAA had listed Woodring as one of the towers that could be closed because of the budget cuts.

FAA, though, did give officials associated with those towers a chance to prove their facility needed to remain open in the “national interest.”

Enid officials did just that, explaining that Woodring’s tower is crucial to the mission at Vance Air Force Base.

Woodring is used by Vance T-1 and T-6 pilots for off-site training operations, as well as a place to land in case of emergencies.

In fact, some 40 percent of the T-1 and T-6 work at Vance is done at Woodring, said Mike Cooper, city of Enid military liaison and chairman of Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission.

Vance aircraft use Woodring for 5,000 instrument approaches a year.

Losing the tower would have been a blow to Woodring, Enid and Vance.

Had the control tower closed, Vance’s ability to use Woodring would have been restricted, and civilian pilots would have had to clear themselves for landing, adding danger to an already stressful time.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and Reps. Frank Lucas and Tom Cole joined the fight and helped keep the tower open.

They deserve our thanks, as do the various city officials for getting the word out and letting FAA know how important Woodring is.

We’re also glad to see FAA listened and made the right decision.

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