APNewsBreak: FAA to examine airport towers after lightning strike injured traffic controller

The Associated Press

In this Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 photo, the control tower at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, in Linthicum, Md., is seen. A lightning strike on the tower, which also injured an air traffic controller, is prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to examine hundreds of air traffic control towers nationwide, the agency told The Associated Press. Officials will be looking for problems with the systems that protect the towers from lightning strikes. (AP Photo/The Capital, Paul W. Gillespie)

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The FAA is also working on replacing the tower itself. The agency said in 2013 that officials had begun preliminary planning for a new tower at the airport, and the FAA has a program in place to replace aging facilities. On average, air traffic control towers are 26 years old and in many cases, they do not meet today's building requirements, the FAA said in a 2013 budget document submitted to Congress.

As for the assessments of other towers, it is not clear when those will begin. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said they are now in the planning stages. Assessments of older towers and towers at airports where there is a lot of construction will likely take priority, and once the assessments are completed, the agency may need to request additional money to do repairs, Lunsford said.

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