WA Senator Urging FAA Not to Close Air Traffic Control Towers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WA Senator Urging FAA Not to Close Air Traffic Control Towers

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- NBC Right Now following up on the future of more than 100 air traffic control towers across the country, including a few in our region.

A bipartisan group of seven U.S. Legislators, including Maria Cantwell (D-WA) are asking the Federal Aviation Administration to rethink it's decision to close 149 air traffic control towers across the country.

The lawmakers want the FAA to identify lower priority spending, rather than going forward with the closures.

Right now, the towers, including the one at the Yakima Air Terminal, will begin shutting down on June 15th. And local aviators say safety is going to be compromised.

"We have pilots that have never flown around a non-towered, and so they're having to deal with those things," said Cindy Fahsholtz, president of the Washington Pilots Association.

She says air traffic controllers typically dictate things to pilots like maintaining separation between aircrafts, and keeping track of traffic patterns. So, once controllers are gone, it'll be up to pilots to do that.

She says every pilot learns how to fly without a tower, but since many have never done it, it's something that could lead to problems.

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