For Immediate Release

Release No. AWP-5 03-00
November 3, 2000
Contact: Jerry Snyder
Phone: (310) 725-3580

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony at 1:00 p.m., November 09, 2000, for a new and enhanced airport traffic control tower at Grand Canyon National Airport. Guest speakers will include Bill Withycombe, the Western-Pacific regional administrator for the FAA and Raymond Gunn, acting deputy supervisor for the Grand Canyon National Park.

The airport directs commercial air transportation, general aviation and Grand Canyon tour aircraft in about 187,000 operations per year. The new tower will enhance aviation safety and increase efficiency with new state-of-the-art equipment. New radios, digital voice recorder, and voice switching systems will be installed in a 525 square foot cab, well nearly three times as much working space as the current tower offers.

Frequent summer thunderstorms regularly knock out power to the facility. New backup power generators will allow the control tower to continue operating independent of external power supplies. The new facility will also be equipped with the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) for automatic monitoring of changing weather conditions. Much to the delight of the tower staff an elevator will be installed to deliver people to the new conference and training rooms and to the cab, which rises to 126 feet. Over twice as tall as the current tower, and more centrally located, the cab will provide a better view of the runway for controllers. It will also be easier for pilots to locate the tower in poor weather, because a beacon will be mounted on the top of the tower where none exists now.

For safety reasons the ceremony will be held about 100 yards from the prospective tower site. The press is welcomed to attend. Guests should enter through the first airport gate and continue straight past a stop sign where airport staff will direct you to parking.