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Security Assured at Oberlin Air Traffic Control

Friday, October 26, 2001 at 1:31 PM

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The head of the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control center in Oberlin has made a public statement designed to reassure residents about security at the facility. 90.3 WCPN's Karen Schaefer reports.

Karen Schaefer- The center is located just three blocks from downtown Oberlin. According to the FAA’s website, it’s the busiest air traffic control operation in the world. In addition to controlling Cleveland airspace, the center facilitates traffic along the main east/west corridor between New York and Chicago.

Last week the Oberlin News-Tribune published an editorial expressing concerns about the safety of local residents. This week the manager of the air traffic control center, Rick Kettell, wrote a letter in response. In his letter, Kettell says that on September 11, the Oberlin center was ‘intimately involved’ with Flight 93, one of the airplanes high-jacked by terrorists that later crashed near Pittsburgh. He says an evacuation of the center that same day was a precautionary response to a small aircraft circling the area.

In his letter, Kettell takes pains to reassure area residents that the Oberlin air traffic control facility - one of 21 in the U.S. - was never and is not now a target for terrorist activities. He says heightened security precautions at the center include vehicle searches and more guards and lights at the gate. Kettell expresses the solidarity of FAA employees with area residents.

But newspaper editor Kathleen Koshar says it’s the first response to any inquiry she’s had from the facility in 13 years. The Oberlin FAA has not responded to WCPN’s requests for an interview. Karen Schaefer, 90.3 WCPN News.

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