FAA brings mobile air traffic control tower to Key West
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repositioned the fully-equipped tower to provide air traffic services for all of the aircraft operating in and out of Key West that are supporting the relief and recovery of the isolated Florida Keys in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
The FAA also has temporarily located many of the tower’s controllers closer to the airport to reduce lengthy commutes.
In addition to the mobile tower, the FAA has brought a trailer to the site to support the tower controllers with an air-conditioned break room and lavatories.
Before the tower arrived, controllers were managing air traffic at the airport from a small tent.
As controllers started working the radios in the new mobile tower at Key West this morning, the FAA was making plans to pack up another mobile tower it airlifted to St. Thomas last week and temporarily relocate it to a safer mainland position in advance of Hurricane Maria.
The tower will remain on a military C-17 until the storm passes and will immediat
ly head back to St. Thomas after the storm. The FAA also has been supporting the Florida recovery effort by authorizing drone operations around the state to aid rapid damage assessment.
To date, the FAA has authorized 173 drone operations for the area damaged by Hurricane Irma, and 121 of those are still in effect.
The primary authorized drone operations are supporting power and insurance companies. ■