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Air tower has ground-level view

The old control tower at Albert Whitted Municipal Airport still works fine. It's the ladder leading up to it that's the problem, said air traffic manager Kendall Kiefling. The metal stairs are rusting, officials said, making them unsafe. So Monday, air traffic controllers began using a portable tower until repairs are made. That will take between three and six months, Ms. Kiefling said.

The new tower, a mobile model used in emergency situations, doesn't tower at all but sits at ground level.

Ms. Kiefling said the temporary tower's lack of height does not affect controllers' ability to survey airport traffic. "Visibility is just fine," Ms. Kiefling said. "We haven't had any problems yet."

Kiefling said the orange-and-white striped mo bile tower, which belongs to the Federal Aviation Adminis-

tration, will be used while new stairs are being built for the old tower.

The mobile unit can accommodate up to four controllers, which is more space than the airport will need except when training is being conducted, Ms. Kiefling said. A small trailer is beside the tower for use as a break and training room.

The tower was brought here from Oklahoma City and the fully equipped tower _ which looks like the top of the old tower _ needed only to be supplied with 220-volt electrical current.

Workers dug a ditch and ran cables to it, Ms. Kiefling said.