JDA Identifies Risks If W.K. Kellogg’s Control Tower is Closed

A safety risk assessment (SRA) has identified potential high, medium and low risk hazards for aircraft using W.K. Kellogg Airport (BTL) if the airport’s control tower had been closed by the Federal Aviation Administration because of sequestration. JDA Aviation Technology Solutions (JDA) performed the assessment and published its results today in a Safety Risk Management Document (SRMD).

Substantial data exists regarding the value of air traffic control towers for safe flight operations, In general, the risks associated with loss of an air traffic control tower are significant and some cannot be mitigated.  In fact, an FAA analysis of the National Transportation Safety Board database shows that mid-air collision occurrences increase 56% from a towered to non-towered environment. The benefit of the monitoring of situational awareness provided by air traffic controllers is especially important to general aviation to prevent safety mishaps. 

In response to the proposed closure of 149 federal air traffic control towers the city of Battle Creek, MI,  commissioned JDA, a leading Safety Risk Assessment (SRA) authority  to assess the risks associated with  closing the air traffic control tower.  The SRA completed on April 25, 2103.

 “The SRA provides us with a professional and FAA-prescribed methodology to assess the risks associated with closing an air traffic control tower (ATCT) at a high-activity, large general aviation airport such as W.K. Kellogg Airport.  Because of the large and diverse tenant base at BTL, combined with complicated airfield geometry, we have a very complex operating environment that undoubtedly requires air traffic control tower services to operate safe and efficiently.  The SRA demonstrates this need and will be a valuable addition to our tool box to maintain ATCT services for years to come” stated Larry Bowron, Transportation Director, City of Battle Creek.

“Conducting a Safety Risk Assessment should be standard procedure whenever major changes in equipment or procedures occur, not only to identify and mitigate any potential safety issues that may result, but to protect against potential liability should an accident occur after those changes. I believe the JDA team, with collectively more than 1,000 years of FAA, NTSB and industry experience in providing aviation safety services, is best positioned to perform that service,” said Joe Del Balzo, JDA’s CEO.

The SRA identified 60 preliminary hazards and 10 major hazard categories that were assessed for risk severity and likelihood.  The risk assessment resulted in three High Risk, six Medium Risk and one Low Risk hazards.  

A copy of the SRMD may be found at: BTL SRMD Air Traffic Control Tower Closure Final Report

About JDA - For more than 15 years, JDA has been a leading aviation industry consultant, delivering innovative solutions for aviation client challenges in safety, compliance, certification, obstruction evaluation, technology infusion and expert witness support.

JDA offers a wide range of certification and operations-related services and products including technology transfer, new carrier certification, obstruction evaluation, safety-based manual systems, ATOS Conformance Audits, Virtual Safety Offices, Crisis Management, and Safety Management Systems.

The company’s client base includes many of the leading aviation and aerospace companies and airports in the country including American Airlines, Republic Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, Sentient Flight Group, Frontier Airlines/Lynx Aviation, Lehigh Valley Airport, Houston Airport Systems, Sundance Helicopters, , Parker Aerospace and PHI, Inc.. JDA also represents ESCO, which manufactures and installs the Engineered Material Arrestor System (EMAS), the FAA certified breakaway-concrete surface installed at the end of runways to provide overrun protection.   


For additional information on JDA Aviation Technology Solutions visit JDA’s website at www.jdasolutions.aero or call 301-941-1460 to arrange for a private briefing.