Runway changes proposed for Crystal Airport
Crystal Airport has about 41,000 small planes take off or land each year. Flight instructors say it's ideal for new pilots.

"It gives students the opportunity to learn how to operate on a complex situation, but in a safe environment," said George Felix, a flight instructor and member of Gopher Flying Club, which is based at the Crystal Airport.

But changes could be on the way for pilots who fly in and out of Crystal Airport. That's according to a draft of long range plans by the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

MAC is proposing closing two runways, one a paved runway and another that is grass. According to flight instructors, the change could make it tough for airplanes designed to land on turf.

"The problem is that it becomes difficult to take off and land for those aircraft on hard top if the wind is not exactly perfect," said Felix.

Pilot Aaron Baruch has been flying for 12 years. He says removing the two runways would give pilots fewer choices.

"I think it’s vital to the airport to have as many active runways as possible, with different wind directions, different types of links and runways," Baruch said.

The MAC draft leaves one southeast/northwest runway and one northeast/southwest runway at the airport. Removing the two runways clears the way for MAC to get rid of FAA controllers in the tower and replace them with contractors. One of the runways would be converted into a full-length parallel taxiway.

MAC officials say the proposed changes will simplify the airport and make safer. MAC is looking for public input. A hearing will take place, Thursday, Sept. 29, from 5-8 p.m. at Brooklyn Park City Hall.

Sonya Goins, reporting



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