Standing tall at 141 feet above Wittman Field is AirVenture's newest and tallest, and most useful structure, a new air traffic control tower, and no one could be more proud of it than Wanda Adelman, air traffic manager for the Lake District, which includes Wisconsin and parts of Illinois and Indiana.
Adelman volunteered for years to be an air traffic controller for the AirVenture show, but was never selected, so it was a special thrill to realize that along with her appointment as manager of the Lake District, came the job of managing the Wittman Field tower during AirVenture.
The new tower cab's height and location have eliminated blind zones that existed for tower controllers at the end of Runways 9 and 36 at prior shows. "We can see airplanes all the way through the approach and landing on every runway now, and can also watch them taxi into position for takeoff, finally," says Adelman.
Sixty-four controllers work in teams of four during the show to keep aircraft moving safely in and out of Wittman Field. "Training takes place the week before the show," says Adelman. "We send them aircraft recognition cards and we try to team up rookie controllers with experienced veterans."
The show would not happen without them, and now they have the tools they need to make the show even safer.