Sequester Cuts Will Affect Local Airports - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Sequester Cuts Will Affect Local Airports

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As part of the sequester cuts, air traffic control towers across the country would close at some smaller airports, including the Jackson County Airport, which could make flying to and from there, more dangerous.

Clyde Pearch flies his small, propeller plane into the airport every Sunday with his wife for brunch at the airport's restaurant.

But with no air controllers, Pearch says that flight becomes much more dangerous.

"When you get in a congested area--you basically have the potential risk for more than one airplane being in a spot, trying to get to the same runway," said Pearch.

 The sequester cuts kicking wouldn't stop flights from coming in and out, but as Pearch says, pilots would essentially be losing their stop lights and traffic signs in the sky.

 "It's no different than the highway system, it's just in the air," said Pearch.

 Airport manager Kent Maurer agrees with the pilot's safety concerns.

 "The reason the air traffic control tower is there is for safety to guide those aircrafts in and out of the airport, so it obviously would mean that we would have a less safe airport," said Maurer.  

Maurer says even though Jackson County is a smaller airport that only hosts private flights, the towers were put where they are for a reason.

 "They're logically at the busiest airports and we're one of those airports," Maurer.

 "At the end of the day safety is important to everybody that flies airplanes, whether its a commercial airliner or a general aviation airplane, the [air controller] system needs to be there," said Pearch.

 Pearch says its frustrating that while elected officials in Washington can't agree on legislation,  pilots in Jackson are the ones left out to dry.

 "It's a disappointment as a citizen, and a voter," said Pearch.

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