Critics Want Proof of Savings to Move TRACON

FAA says moving Boise's air traffic system to Salt Lake City will save $2.5 million over 25 years.

Griffin also takes issue with parts of the FAA cost analysis that project it would cost $670,000 to replace equipment in a Salt Lake City TRACON every 10 years, but $2 million to replace the same equipment in Boise.

"Equipment is equipment," Griffin said. "What's the difference if you replace it in Salt Lake City or in Boise?"

The FAA will have more than the controllers and elected leaders to deal with Wednesday.

Michael S. Pape , president of the Idaho Business Aviation Association, which represents corporate pilots and other industry members, said he expects his members will come from as far as Sandpoint to oppose the FAA plan.

"I see nothing but bad news coming out of this," Pape said.

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce has called for area business to show up and oppose the plan, too.

Tim Griffin, who operates Jet Stream Aviation, a Boise-area flight school, plans to be at the meeting to argue in favor of the Boise TRACON.

One of his flight instructors, Danny Anslinger, said moving the TRACON would slow the certification process for students who must learn how to perform an opposite-approach landing -- a technique where planes approaching from the east coordinate with the Boise TRACON on a maneuver that allows them to land quickly by ducking beneath aircraft that are departing toward the east.

The alternative is to circle the airport and get in line to land, which adds to operating costs.

Without the Boise TRACON, fewer opposite-approach training flights will be allowed, Anslinger said, resulting in a slowdown in small-plane traffic at the airport.

Griffin, no relation to the air traffic controller, worries that will spell trouble in the future.

"We need to stop this, if we're going to continue turning out safe pilots," Griffin said.

Copyright: The Idaho Statesman -- 7/05/06>>

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