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Ogden-Hinckley Tower Stays For Now

The Ogden-Hinckley Airport Control Tower will stay in operation at least until June 15th following a last minute decision by the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday. Federal budget cuts due to sequestration are threatening 149 similar operations across the country because contractors run the towers. Royal Eccles is the airport manager in Ogden. He says his issue isn’t so much with Congress as it is with the FAA.

“Our issue was the FAA didn’t follow the procedures that they need to follow in order to just close all these towers, says Eccles. "There’s a huge risk to safety involved.”

He says the FAA always requires a Safety Management System or SMS assessment. He says without that people could die. He believes the politics involved in the sequester could directly affect the safety of residents in the area because all flights coming into Hill Field fly right over Ogden-Hinckley air space.

Republican Congressman Rob Bishop is the representative for the area. He says the FAA is just being lazy because it hasn’t considered that the two towers are only three and a half miles from each other.

“So the interface between the military and the airport makes this a unique situation that the FAA should’ve considered but didn’t.”

Bishop says if the FAA does end up closing the tower, control operations at the tower at Hill Air Force Base will be expected to take over to keep residents safe. Eccles is hoping it never comes to that.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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