Wisconsin wants Meigs tower reopened
October 17, 2003
BY ROBERT C. HERGUTH Transportation Reporter
The state of Wisconsin is asking the federal government to
reopen Meigs Field's air traffic control tower, even if the lakefront airport
remains closed, so the tower can serve a crucial "traffic cop"
function for pilots.
Meigs was closed by Mayor Daley more than six months ago, and
the feds plan to revoke the Class D designation that indicates the airspace is
controlled by a tower.
As part of the revocation process -- which is portrayed as a
housekeeping move -- the federal government solicited comments. Wisconsin's
Department of Transportation sent letters to the U.S. Department of
Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration asking that the tower be
reopened or, at the very least, the designation of the airspace remain the same.
"The role of the Meigs ATCT [air traffic control tower]
was much larger and more important than just sequencing aircraft into and out of
the airport," wrote Gary L. Dikkers, airspace manager for the Wisconsin
Dikkers told the Sun-Times the requests are "probably
unrealistic," but the tower was key for small planes flying from Wisconsin
to and through Chicago.
FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said, "We
customarily put towers where we have airports." As for the airspace issue,
"it's definitely too early to have any response."
A mayoral spokeswoman echoed the latter sentiment.
Wisconsin Wants Meigs Tower Back
OCT. 20, 2003
It's not just Chicago-area pilots who miss Meigs Field.
The state of Wisconsin has formally asked the FAA to reopen
the Meigs control tower even though the runway is unusable. Wisconsin
transportation officials say the tower did a lot more than regulate the comings
and goings at Meigs, before Mayor Richard Daley sent in heavy equipment to
destroy it on March 30. They claim the tower helped pilots from Wisconsin
navigate the route along Lake Michigan that small aircraft must use to avoid
conflicts with airliners using O'Hare.
"It helped people fly through Chicago without having to
run into hurdles," said Gary Dikkens, airspace manager for the Wisconsin
Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, efforts continue to convince
politicians to reopen Meigs.
Wisconsin says pilots need Meigs
Transportation officials ask FAA to reopen tower
October 17, 2003
By Kelly Quigley
Private aircraft owners in Illinois aren’t the only ones who
say they're inconvenienced by the closure of Meigs Field. Wisconsin
transportation officials want to reopen the shuttered airfield’s traffic
control tower to help pilots better navigate Chicago’s lakefront.
Gary Dikkens, airspace manager for the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation, says it’s critical to reopen the air traffic control tower,
which guided planes flying from Wisconsin to Gary, Ind., and other southeast
destinations. Small planes heading south or southeast have to use the lakefront
route because they are prohibited from flying near O’Hare International
The tower played a bigger role than just controlling takeoffs
and landings at Meigs,” Mr. Dikkens says. "It helped people fly through
Chicago without having to run into hurdles.” Having a control tower would be
safer for pilots who are navigating the lakeshore now.
In a Sept. 19, letter to the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) and U.S. Department of Transportation, Mr. Dikkens said it's in the public’s
best interest to maintain Class D air space at Meigs, even if the airstrip never
reopens. Class D designates space that is monitored by an air traffic control
“Once that Class D airspace is gone, it’s almost
impossible to get it back,” he says.
An FAA spokeswoman in Chicago said the agency is reviewing
The mayor closed down the lakefront airport on March 30,
ordering demolition crews to disable its runway.