Groundbreaking ceremonies were held last month for a new control tower for Ohio’s Port Columbus International Airport, home of Executive Jet’s operational headquarters and customer service center. The FAA said the tower is the first of its type in the nation. Unique features include a 16-sided cab that provides a viewing area interrupted by only three structural columns, allowing a 120-deg span of clear vision between the columns.
Another innovative design feature is that the more than one-inch thick and tinted glass of the cab will be angled 30 deg to reduce glare. The angle of the glass also helps it to stay cleaner. Maintenance of cab equipment can be conducted from behind and under control consoles, minimizing disturbances to working controllers.
The new tower is considerably taller than the current 48-year-old facility, with the base of the cab of the new tower at approximately 195 ft agl, or 21 stories, compared with just 95 ft for the current tower cab. The new, 603-sq-ft cab will hold nine controller positions, compared with just four controller positions in the current 347-sq-ft cab.
Current staffing is 46 controllers, six supervisors and nine management staff for both the tower and the tracon. In addition, there are 23 airways facilities specialists who maintain the equipment in the tower and in the field. The FAA said the current traffic count in the Columbus area does not justify any change in these numbers, despite the increased capacity of the new tower. “However, the traffic count could eventually result in an increase in staff,” an FAA spokesperson explained.
Construction is expected to take 14 months and will be followed by installation and testing of ATC equipment, expected to take an additional 20 months. Total projected cost (with ATC equipment installed) is about $23 million.