An admittedly dumb question

It says in this story that the sequester may close Stockton’s airport tower. I was surprised to learn this does not entail termination of any flights. 

On the contrary, Stockton becomes an “uncontrolled field,” where planes may legally take off and land without an air controller’s guidance.

So — dumb question — what do we need the tower for? Why fund 11 federal employees and the rest of the operation? Doesn’t the legality of uncontrolled fields suggest that the number of (presumably high-paid) tower employees could at least be reduced?

It’d be interesting to see data from other uncontrolled fields in the U.S. Are they sites of perpetual mid-air collisions and carnage? Or do small airports with light traffic manage just fine without Uncle Sam?

Just asking.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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