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Making the Skies Over Southern California Safer

October 26, 1986

Regarding your article on general aviation (Oct. 19):

General aviation safety in the Los Angeles Basin can best be improved with a better allocation of airport space and resources. Here's a practical, fair, and politically workable approach for the Orange County area:

First, move the present reserve activities at Los Alamitos to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Second, move all single-engine aircraft and all small twin-engine aircraft under 5,000 pounds from the Long Beach and John Wayne airports to Los Alamitos. Third, close Meadowlark Airport in Huntington Beach and move aircraft there to Los Alamitos. Fourth, move the General Aviation District Office from Long Beach to Los Alamitos and establish a Federal Aviation Administration control tower and Flight Service Station there. Fifth, replace the military instrument approach with a civilian system.

This consolidation of general aviation activities, and their separation from commercial operations, would provide increased safety and convenience to both groups. A Flight Service Station improves flying safety by providing detailed weather information and face-to-face weather briefings and flight planning. Now, pilots receive brief summaries by phone, which is not adequate. Flying safety also would be improved because highly incompatible operations would be kept separate.

In addition to better safety, communities around the John Wayne, Long Beach, and Meadowlark airports would have reduced air traffic congestion. Communities around Los Alamitos would benefit from reduced noise and risk and also from increased business. Pilots moved to Los Alamitos would obtain better maintenance and support from the small businesses that would set up there.

Yes, this plan is bold and would take a lot of work and hard compromising to pull off. Either we get innovative or we have more tragedies.

STEVEN MYERS

Irvine

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