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Gabreski Airport Tower Faces Closure

U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop says if sequestration deadline is not met, the tower will close.

The FAA tower at Gabreski Airport could shut down if federal cuts are allowed to go into effect on March 1, according to statement issued by U.S. Tim Bishop's office late Friday afternoon.

According to the congressman, the cuts, known as "sequestrian," would force the closure of the tower at the Westhampton airport, which is run by Suffolk County and is home to the 106th Rescue Wing.

Sequestrian would pull $600 million from the FAA's coffers and would not only effectively shut down Gabreski's tower, but also towers at 100 other airports across the county, Bishop said.

Under the cut, the 1,453-acre Gabreski airport, said Bishop, would convert to "non-tower" operations at all times, meaning that pilots would be solely responsible for the safe operation of aircraft.

Currently, the tower operates with air traffic control guiding pilots during daytime hours only.

"Gabreski airport is a vital resource both for general aviation and for the homeland security mission of the 106th Air Rescue Wing, and closing the tower could result in delays and potentially unsafe conditions in the air, especially during inclement weather and high aircraft volume," said Bishop, who is urging the House of Representatives to prevent the cuts from going into effect.

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In recent years, the 69-year-old airport has come under scrutiny with area residents complaining of airplane noise; however, Anthony Ceglio, the airport manager, has assured residents that wind is to blame and the airport now features a complaint section on its website.

In addition, the county has given more authority to the Gabreski Airport Conservation and Assessment Committee to address the noise and the possibility of additional aircraft flying in and out of the facility, as the airport will soon house a 433,000-square-foot economic hub that is under construction.

The airport has also seen a 35 percent drop in use over the past year, according to a report by Ceglio. 

To find out what Anthony Ceglio had to say about the possible tower closure, click here.

Jerry Shanley February 23, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Chicken Little perhaps. Our beloved Federal Government just can't seem to figure out how to cut $85 billion out of a $3 trillion dollar budget. So maybe Sheltair, Mr. Malloy or the Rechlers should pay to operate the tower. Or maybe those bridge operators who sit in the towers at the Beach Lane and Jessop Lane bridges in the dead of winter could get a couple of radar screens and do double duty. PLEASE!
New Guy February 23, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Bishop along with all of my other so called elected officials should stop spending all of us into oblivion. The folks under the flight plan must be happy. Here's an idea cut 10 - 15% from every single thing in the budget, this way no one can complain.
Scott Jeffrey February 23, 2013 at 04:21 PM
How about all of congress and senate take a pay cut, they don't seem to accomplish anything anyway.
Blake Conway February 23, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Representive Tim Bishop (D) receives his marching orders straight from the Obama Administration's propaganda machine. Scare his local constituants into pressuring Congress to cave on more tax hikes and out of control spending .I find it ironic the Obama Administration is attempting to blame sequestration, an Obama bill, and it's consequences (which are both greatly exaggerated, and misrepresented, on the Republican controlled Congress! Tim Bishop should not forget that his foremost responsibility is to his constituancy, not the tax and spend fear mongers in Washington. Perhaps we should remind him come the next election!
Hbjoker February 23, 2013 at 05:56 PM
maybe bishop and the rest of the elected crooks should chip in and pay their own way (medical, pensions, travel etc.........) if the founding fathers were alive to see how these crooks run our govermnent they would be sicked, close it down it is not needed
cbg February 23, 2013 at 06:19 PM
If this tower is closed the whole place should close. The homes in the area should not be in danger. Close the whole place down.
oonald February 24, 2013 at 03:21 AM
It's all George bushes fault. Lol oh you dems. A small military is a weak military, and the layoffs will begin, Obama is doing such a great job, oohhhh yea he'll still have a job and so will useless Tim bishop but you democrates voted them both back in. So enjoy the pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I remember the c-130's and the fighter jets flying over my house in tiana shores in the early 70's when I was a kid. And the f14's and a-6 intruders from Grumman airport made you feel proud to be an American. And now massive military cuts, more lost jobs NOT GOOD
Robert Caccavalla February 24, 2013 at 03:47 AM
I have owned an operated Two success full service FBO's. One on Gabreski From early eighties to early 2001.Which included an FAR. Part 135 Commercial charter operation, and active flight school. In addition I had the tower Contract at Gabreski for a wile as well. It is my opinion as a Airline transport pilot familiar with this situation. The Air Gard will probably operate the tower or operate a remote mobile tower for their operations at the least, As for any other activities. I believe the operations can be safely conducted without the tower. There is much to much confidence place on the presents of a tower. There is a systemic flaw that provides an UN-abided belief, resulting in the assumption of a tower as a definitive measure of safety. This has proven to be false. Constant vigilance and traffic separation is the Pilot and aircrews responsibility, and is a common practice at much busier airports that do not have a tower. The method of compiling activity at the airport is somewhat specious as well.
Robert Caccavalla February 24, 2013 at 04:06 AM
One important matter pertaining to Airports and their operations. Just about all airports of more than one runway Have been removed from private hands. They are now owned, and maintained by Government municipalities. At the expense of taxpayers. When compared to privately owned airports of equivalent size they are a failure. As much as this should come as no surprise. There are some that would try and contest this. The airports should stay removed from the tax rolls and be allowed to be owned and operated by the industries who know something about them. But there seems to be an issue when it comes to allowing growth and stability lately?
oonald February 28, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Well said Jerry, I always wondered what those bridge operators did all winter long. Boats go in the water in may and go out in sept so for 8 or 9 months in the winter they must open the bridge for the ducks; It's really not funny what a waste
Rick Hoyt March 02, 2013 at 07:55 AM
Tim, always with the veiled threats, show us real leadership, announce you will be introducing a bill-to cut all politician's pay by 15% - legislative,executive, judicial, and the "fourth branch", the propaganda ministry-cough whorestream media, and will be paying for your own healthcare, since you're into shared sacrifice and all.

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