At the request of the Haitian government, the FAA dispatched a portable, temporary control tower to Haiti Jan. 21 to assist with aircraft operations at Port-au-Prince International Airport. The tower was transported aboard a large, chartered cargo aircraft and it took about 48 hours for FAA technicians to install and prepare it for service.
“We are all grateful for the incredible effort put in by FAA employees who have worked around the clock in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to help relief supplies and emergency responders arrive quickly and efficiently,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.
The portable tower is 44 feet long, 13 feet high and 8 feet wide, and weighs about 25,000 pounds. It comes with two diesel-powered generators and supporting fuel tanks, plus tools and other support equipment for installation and maintenance. The FAA uses this tower and others like it to support airports where existing towers are out of service after a disaster, like a major hurricane.
Controllers providing terminal air traffic control services have worked outside at a folding table, using military radios to handle about 160 flights a day. The airport’s control tower was rendered unusable by the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. Tower controllers provide service to arriving and departing flights in the immediate area of the airport and serve as ground controllers for movements on the airport surface.
Besides air traffic employees, the FAA has an airports division team on the ground to inspect and evaluate the physical condition of the runway as it handles a high volume of heavy military transport and cargo aircraft.
For more information: FAA.gov