Local airport works to prevent accidents - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Local airport works to prevent accidents

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August 28, 2006

Valdosta - A recent airport construction project in Lexington could have created confusion for the pilot of that Comair flight that crashed yesterday.  That may have led to his attempting to take off from the wrong runway.

Constructions projects are common at airports, so how can such accidents be avoided in our airports?

About 250 passengers pass through the Valdosta Airport every day.  Airport officials are constantly working to prevent a crash.  "It's very rare, "says Airport Director Bob Holliway.  "Its much safer to fly today then it is to drive our of this airport."

He sees that all commercial pilots coming into Valdosta are well trained, know the airport, and its runways.  He says, "The pilots should be very familiar with the air field, there are signs marking runways and taxi-ways so that problems like this don't occur."

But safety doesn't stop with the pilots.  "We have the tower operations.  The fights are properly cleared, and they make sure the flight plans are filed properly."

Grover Eggleston has been running these towers for 41 years.  He assists pilots when taking off and landing.  "The runway most aligned to the wind is the one we use," he says.

Airport officials are also in the process of expanding the runway.  "It's still in progress, the paving work is all completed.  It's out to 8,002 feet," Holliway tells us.  The runway expansions are expected to be completed by early next year.

Holliway hopes these steps and precautionary measures will keep his pilots, planes, and customers safe.

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