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Frederick airport to get control tower

Federal officials say the Frederick Municipal Airport is getting an air traffic control tower.

Maryland Democratic Sens. Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski said Monday the Federal Aviation Administration has granted final approval to the project. It will be funded with $4.8 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Federal officials said in a statement that construction of the tower "is expected to begin almost immediately," and should be completed in 18 months.

The airport caters mainly to private pilots and has no commercial passenger service. Still, it is the second-busiest airport in Maryland, with more than 130,000 takeoffs and landings annually.

Officials say they expect operations to increase to 165,000 takeoffs and landings by 2025.

"This is the perfect project," said Frederick Mayor Randy McClement. "It creates construction jobs while it's being built, ongoing operational jobs once it's up, and will provide for the safe and comfortable use of the Frederick Municipal Airport now and into the future."

The Frederick-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says many corporate aircraft operators prefer to fly into airports with towers.

-- Associated Press and staff reports

By Michael Bolden  | September 27, 2010; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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Is this needed -- or is it pork?

And in reference to the "ongoing operational jobs" those are just government jobs.

Posted by: yell53 | September 27, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

yell53 - I would say having a tower at FDK would be very useful. In my flying days, I recall FDK having a lot of traffic and quite a number of aircraft landing that were not based at FDK and thus less familiar with the airport. I am sure traffic has increased since then. A tower should improve safety. Also, as suggested, the corporate guys like a towered airport. You might get some push-back from the local guys as this will require a bit more structure and discipline and may present some delays. But, for the IFR guys, I cannot see why they wouldn't like this.

As far as costs go, I recall the taxes paid per gallon on aviation fuel (significant) go toward paying for our airport infrastructure.

I believe having the tower there to be a good move and probably will generate more than enough additional business to justify the costs.

Posted by: CharlesGage | September 27, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I fly out of Frederick and it is total pork to cater to a few business jets that fly in and out each day.

Posted by: Pilot1 | September 27, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I will bet that as soon as the Tower opens the count will drop to less than 100,000 a year. It will be the last time I use the airport. Many of the on field businesses WILL close. Same thing happened at Easton. The FAA will turn it over to the city and the city will have to fund the controllers. Mark my words.

Posted by: rhdixon1 | September 27, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I think you're crazy to say a tower is not needed at FDK. I live in friendship heights and I drive out to Manassas to fly specifically because it has a tower. I flew up to FDK about a month ago on a Saturday to pick up a friend and it was a total sh*t show up there. The winds were favoring 30 but it was being used for multiple glider ops so it was effectively closed to other traffic making 23 the more "active" runway. There was a guy flying a gyrocopter with no radio off taxiway delta right next to 12-30. There were multiple helicopters hovering in the big triangle in the middle of the field. You had a citation jet and a baron shooting the ILS to 23 while 4 or 5 other small piston singles were in the pattern. As we flew out other planes were approaching the airport with no radio calls until almost in the pattern. It was a mess. FDK will definitely benefit from a tower.

Posted by: jbatt01 | September 29, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

You guys go ahead and fight about whether an improvement in safety will cause a drop in traffic-what I want to know is, which Federal Contract Tower contractor will the tower operations be awarded to? I'm interested in working there!

Posted by: jdub54 | September 29, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the earlier post, I fly out of KFDK most weeks. With flight school operations, private pilots, corp jets, heli's, gliders and Mr. Gyro (who by the way does have a radio) its a very busy airport. I welcome a tower, its not hard to work with, it makes it safer, gives jobs to a few more Americans, helps the local flight school prepare students in a more the complex environment that they will encounter sooner or later and makes KFDK a significant destination.

Who knows maybe we will get bigger jets in, buying fuel and spending cash in the local economy.

The ladies and gentlemen that work at and for KFDK have done a great job in securing funding from the FAA for this project.

Well done and thanks, as I for one will be very happy to call Frederick Tower.

I dont think that all this is pork, or if it is its a sandwhich not a banquet!

Posted by: Bartman3 | October 1, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

This is long overdue. Frederick is a zoo. I don't know why, but it seems there is a higher concentration of pilots who refuse to use the radio or listen on the radio, and every Saturday it seems like a lot of people who insist on practice ILS 23 approaches without any regard to the pattern. Frederick did this to themselves. If they were more orderly and followed the rules then a tower wouldn't be necessary.

Posted by: martinajess | October 1, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

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