With NAV Canada reviewing seven towers for possible closure, including Sault Ste. Marie, Sault College is hoping to keep it.
There are lots of reasons why this tower is important if you ask around the aviation program out at the airport.
“Airspace here is very complex, especially right here next to the united states,” said Greg Farish, Chair – Aviation Technology for Sault College. “The complexity of U.S. airspace with the tower allows our students to cross the border because they stay in a controlled zone, if the tower disappears then it’s very restricted airspace.”
With over 150 students and a dozen aircraft, as well as a Ministry of Natural Resources base of operations, the airspace can be very busy. Sault Aviation alone set an aircraft movement record for their program in December.
According to Farish, this is the closest control tower for 300 miles (482 km), without it they would have to fly to southern Ontario or Thunder Bay for that experience.
Sault College President Dr. Ron Common echoed Farish.
“We certainly want to continue to have a controlled airspace here when operated by a NAV Canada and the and the tower,” said Common. In the absence of the tower, then what is provided as an advisory service rather than controlled airspace, we want our students to be exposed to controlled airspace and we are right along the American border.”
The review is still currently underway by NAV Canada, Follow Sault Online for more information as it becomes available.