Wisconsin Pilots - Be Aware!
By ANN Contributor Rose Dorcey
A quiet Wisconsin airport is becoming the state's second busiest
as the Professional Golf Association's (PGA) 86th Championship
comes to nearby Whistling Straights Golf Course in Kohler (WI).
During mid August, nearly 450-daily flights operations are expected
at the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (KSBM), and that means a
lot of changes to the surrounding airspace.
According to Gary Dikkers, Airspace Specialist with the
Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Bureau of Aeronautics,
Milwaukee's Mitchell Field leads the State of Wisconsin with
580-flight ops (take-offs and landings) in terms of average daily
operations. 450-operations at Sheboygan will put them right behind
Milwaukee. "Since Sheboygan has no tower, this has become a huge
logistics operation," said Dikkers.
Though Dikkers admits that he has worked on the project for
months, he said he had no idea how big of a deal it is to bring a
PGA Championship to town. In addition to the PGA Championship, two
major Road America events at nearby Elkhart Lake (WI) are also
taking place. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected.
Because of all this, the FAA set up a mobile air traffic control
tower, in effect from August 7 - August 16, 2004. Temporary tower
airspace, a four-mile radius from the SBM airport, up to and
including 3200' MSL, went into effect to accommodate the
significant number of aircraft traveling to Sheboygan.
"Generally, a major PGA event like this is held near a city that
already has an air-traffic control tower," Dikkers said.
Air traffic controller Mark Hyde is the FAA Tower Chief at SBM.
His usual day job is second in charge at Mitchell Field, but the
position at Sheboygan offers a chance to do something a little
different from his daily routine. Hyde chose from the best
controllers from the Green Bay (WI) and Milwaukee airport towers
who volunteered for a position in Sheboygan.
The FAA published a Special Traffic Management Program (STMP) in
anticipation of the increased air traffic in the area. The STMP was
implemented to enhance safety and minimize air traffic delays at
airports in the vicinity of Sheboygan. Special departure procedures
are in place at Sheboygan that includes pre-taxi reporting points.
The reporting points are depicted as Red Tee, White Tee, and Blue
Tee and are indicated on signs at the airport.
Another ground concern at Sheboygan County Memorial was the need
for an Airport Rescue and Fire-fighting (ARFF) vehicle. Normally
the Sheboygan Falls Volunteer Fire Department provides fire and
rescue service, but with the amount of air traffic expected, an
on-sight full-time rescue unit and crew became necessary.
Oshkosh Truck generously loaned a $500,000 four-wheel drive
rescue unit to the Sheboygan County Airport. Wisconsin Department
of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi presented a plaque
from Governor James Doyle to Oshkosh Truck officials and employees
for the firm's generous contribution. Oshkosh Truck is recognized
as a world leader in the manufacture of heavy-duty specialty
vehicles for fire-fighting and other purposes.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect for the area
over the Whistling Straights Golf Course, located north of the
Sheboygan airport on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Heavy helicopter
and blimp activities can be expected over the golf course. Pilots
are reminded to avoid the golf course area when flying in the
region. Be sure to call your local flight service station for the