FAA to remove runway markers

FAA to remove runway markers

October 26, 2010 – By JOLENE CRAIG jcraig

WILLIAMSTOWN – The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to deactivate three markers on Runway 3 of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, officials said.

The FAA will perform an aeronautical study with the intent to decommission and remove the devices without replacing them.
“They are trying to shut down more and more markers to cut maintenance costs,” said airport manager Terry Moore. “I think it’s kind of a big deal.”
The markers are placed at some runway approaches at the airport and are used by some planes to designate where to land. There often is a second marker to aid pilots on missed approaches, Moore said.
According to the letter sent to the airport from the FAA, the removal of the markers will require modification to instrument procedures performed by the airport and pilots.

“I don’t know the ramifications of the removal of the markers,” Moore said. “The FAA gave no pros or cons in their letter to us about the study and likely deactivation.
“Yes, it is cost-saving, but at what cost to the pilots?”
Mike Knopp, pilot and air traffic controller at the airport, said the removal of the markers is no issue because they are antiquated and no longer used by pilots.

“We hardly see anyone use anything like that anymore,” Knopp said. “These (markers) require old technology that is no longer used anymore.”
Moore said he is concerned about the removal of the old markers because he is afraid some of the smaller planes, such as two passenger props, do not have the equipment of the new technology.

“There is Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) that uses points in space, but I don’t know if all of the planes have the equipment, and GPS, but that is less accurate than markers,” he said. “I just don’t think GPS is up to the task the markers do.”
While Moore is not certain if the loss of the markers will put new strain on pilots using the airport along with Knopp and the air traffic control tower staff, Knopp is confident there will be no problems.

“These markers are 1950s era and are maintenance hogs,” Knopp said. “I say ‘good riddance.'”
It is unknown when the aeronautical study will be performed and completed or when the markers will be removed.

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