Galena's Edward G. Pitka Airport is in danger of losing its instrument landing system, visual approach slope indicator, automated weather observation system, high intensity approach lights, and sequenced flashing lights. The Air Force is proposing to turn over or decommission those systems once its base at Galena closes as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Act. The FAA has indicated that it does not plan to take over operation of the systems. No local weather or altimeter settings would be available - only a remote altimeter setting. "Galena and the Yukon River villages rely on aviation for year-round transportation to other parts of Alaska - there are no roads to this area," said Tom George, AOPA Alaska regional representative. "These changes would have a devastating impact on the area, which would lose access to commercial transportation and shipping services, and lower safety for general aviation pilots." AOPA will be commenting on the proposal and encourages members to do the same before the April 30 deadline. This is the second time this year that the FAA has announced its intention to shut down weather information and instrument approaches at an Alaskan community.
March 23, 2007