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Columbus AFB opens state-of-the-art air traffic control tower

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AETCNS) -- Columbus AFB officially opened a new, seven-story air traffic control tower Sept. 8, making the base the owner of the most advanced air traffic control facility in the Air Force.
Gen. William R. Looney III, commander of Air Education and Training Command, and Maj. Gen. Teresa Marné Peterson, Air and Space Operations deputy chief of staff, were on site to assist Col. Stephen W. Wilson, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, with the ribbon cutting of the $5.2 million project.

"Our new facility enhances mission effectiveness of troops, provides a quality training environment and will help prevent potential safety hazards," Colonel Wilson said. "All of which is critical when you consider the nature of our business - we train professional military aviators who are expected to make mistakes when learning how to fly."

The new tower is 30 feet taller than the previous facility, has three times more floor space in the tower cab, and features upgraded communications panels, airfield lighting controls and light guns.

The tower is collocated with the base's new radar approach control facility, which opened in January and replaced Columbus Air Force Base's 40-plus year-old RAPCON.
"Columbus Air Force Base has upgraded from 1960s buildings and equipment to state-of-the-art air traffic control facilities," Colonel Wilson said. "These upgrades will allow us to continue to safely conduct specialized undergraduate pilot training as well as future missions for the foreseeable future."
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