Letter: Pilot-in-training dismayed by airport closure
I was shocked and disappointed when I read the article by Teri Cadeau about the immediate closure of the Silver Bay airport (“Silver Bay airport closes,” June 9 News-Chronicle).
As a pilot in training, I am aware of the inherent and dynamic dangers of flying along the North Shore, notably fast-changing weather, wind and foggy conditions.
As noted by another pilot in the article, the safety concern of distance between airports is of a critical nature. The closure of Silver Bay will further degrade small plane aviation — dramatically, I fear. It seems foolish of the State and municipality to have allowed this condition to persist. I implore the State, FAA and Silver Bay to find a solution and keep this important resource available for the flying public. The short-notice of the closure has stranded planes with difficult relocation issues to overcome.
I challenge all to consider, in addition, the consequences to the flying public, tourist economy, vitality of Silver Bay and surrounding communities and develop a sustainable plan to get the airport back online ASAP. Many small communities have faced and overcome the same challenge. There is real value in having a small airport resource for the public, emergency/safety personnel, commerce and tourism that is being overlooked.
Let’s consider what other small communities have done to maintain and keep their airports open; Solon Springs, Wis., comes to mind. Please don’t continue a trend of losing all our small, community-owned and operated airfields. Silver Bay is very important to us as an emergency location, and destination along the North Shore corridor.
As for this “almost” pilot, I can hardly think of flying up to Grand Marais without the option of another airport between there and Two Harbors. The risk seems too great!
Hovland and St. Paul