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Wed, May 12, 2004

Pilots Demand Tower At Georgetown

Midair Collision Was "Wake-Up Call"

As the FAA investigates a midair collision at Georgetown Municipal Airport (TX), pilots who fly in and out of Georgetown are pointing fingers at the city itself. They say the town had a chance to split the costs of building a control tower 50-50 with the FAA and failed to do so.

"It's kind of a wake up call, we feel, to the city of Georgetown," said Texas Aviation Association President Jay Carpenter. "That there's a certain price that needs to go for air safety."

The price is even lower now, according to Georgetown Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis. "Now it's a 90/10 grant. It's actually better that we waited because the city would end up only having to put in 10 percent of the cost of construction of the tower," he told KXAN Television News.

The Sunday midair occurred on short final, when a Diamond DA-40 (file photo of type, above) collided with a Giles 202 (file photo of aircraft involved, below).

"I was just fixing to land and all of a sudden he hit my left wing and just run over me," DA-40 pilot John Middletown told KXAN.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating. "Our emphasis here is not to find or assign full blame for the accident what our emphasis here is to trying to find out what we can do to improve safety," said FAA investigator Gary Stamper.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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