Airport antenna to help prepare for 'next generation of air traffic control'


Oct. 25, 2010 at 5:25 a.m.

Change is coming to help the Victoria Regional Airport prepare for the future.

The Victoria County Commissioners Court on Monday approved a lease between the county and ITT Corporation to locate a new antenna at the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration requested to build the 80-foot antenna as part of the "next generation of air traffic control," said Jason Milewski, managing director of Prautes Corporation, which oversees the airport operation.

Such technology allows air traffic to speak autonomously, without the pilots, he said, and allows them a better glimpse at other aircraft flying even beyond the visual range.

An antenna would typically cost more than $2 million, but the county won't have to pay anything, Milewski said. The FAA only asks for a 25-by-25 location to set it up.

"We like free. Free is good," Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi said, chuckling along with the commissioners.

The structure will go in adjacent to the airport's commercial terminal, Milewski said, and the estimated completion date is two to three months after the lease approval.

"The lease is approved," he said. "We're moving forward."

Also during the meeting, Victoria County was awarded the gold Leadership Circle Award from the Texas Comptroller's office.

The award comes from the county's push toward financial transparency online, said Michelle Luera, program specialist with the comptroller's office.

Victoria County scored 14 out of 15 possible points, for items such as posting budgets, financial reports, contact information and more online, according to paperwork from the comptroller's office. The one-point deduction came for the category that evaluated "creative use of charts or visual images to make data more understandable."

Pozzi thanked the county auditor's office and information technology department for their help in earning the recognition.

Only 20 percent of Texas' 254 counties have received the award.

"We are very proud to be among them," Pozzi said.



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