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Sat, Apr 28, 2007

AOPA Urges Public Hearings On SoCal Facilities Consolidation

FAA To Combine Palm Springs Radar With San Diego

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has sent a letter to the FAA urging a delay in the agency's plan to combine the Palm Springs radar functions with the San Diego facility until public hearings can be conducted.

"Our position is that it's important to get users input before any changes are made in the air traffic system," said AOPA spokeswoman Kathleen Vasconcelos.

The FAA is considering nonradar flight approaches into and out of Palm Springs after 9:00 pm, instead of the current curfew of 11:00 pm. The change would affect eight commercial flights.

The AOPA has expressed concerns the June 7 consolidation will cause delays and reductions in services.

"We understand the FAA intends to remote services from Palm Springs at nighttime and provide these from Los Angeles Air Traffic Control Center," the letter states.

"There are concerns that these combined actions could create unintended impacts on General Aviation, including delays and a reduction in service at numerous airports in Southern California, including Palm Spring International Airport. To address these and other questions, the FAA should hold public meetings prior to moving forward with its consolidation plan. This will assist the affected pilot community and allow the FAA to fully explore the impact that the Palm Springs TRACON consolidation will have on aviation safety and operational efficiency.

"Because of the importance of these public meetings, the FAA should delay its planned consolidation until such meetings take place and all of the issues surrounding the issue are resolved."

The FAA, which has cited unspecified cost savings as reason for the relocation, did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Palm Springs' The Desert Sun.



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