NORWOOD — Traffic-load statistics at Norwood Airport, one of the busiest of its size in the country, may reflect nearly 600,000 takeoffs and landings this year.
A long-needed traffic-control tower will go into operation, thanks to a rare instance of Federal-state cooperation in an air safety project.
Everyone around the airport has had his fingers crossed because the figures have been climbing steadily but, beginning Wednesday, the pressure will be off.
Arnold Stymest, airport manager, said the Norwood field has been eligible for years for a control tower under load criteria set by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“The thing we were most afraid would happen just happened in February,” Stymest said. “Two small planes collided but, fortunately, nobody was injured.
‘This was a decisive factor in the decision by the FAA in Washington to approve a cooperative proposal made by the State Aeronautics Commission.”
Normally, the FAA is responsible for the erection of air control towers where needed, and for the supply of personnel.
Despite the obvious need at Norwood, this was out of the question because of a lack of federal funds. So the state proposed to spend $33,000 out of pilot-plane registration fee revenue to purchase a portable tower— if the FAA would agree to supply traffic controllers.
Funding problems were still a factor, but they were solved when the FAA decided it would be possible to man the tower by a redistribution of personnel.
The state had suggested that controllers at the Nantucket and Hyannis airports, both of which log light traffic loads in Winter, could be reassigned to Norwood.
Washington approved the switch, clearing the way for state purchase of the radio-equipped mobile tower delivered to Norwood Friday.