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Tinker’s new state-of-the-art air traffic control tower opens

A group of people cutting a ribbon

A May 5, 2021, ceremony marked the completion of a larger, taller and more advanced air traffic control tower meant to provide better management of airfield operations at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Cutting the ribbon are, from left, Col. Paul Filcek, 72nd Air Base Wing commander; Midwest City Mayor Matt Dukes; Oklahoma State Sen. Brenda Stanley; Del City Mayor Floyd Eason; Luke Holland, legislative director in the office of Sen. Jim Inhofe; and Lt. Col. David Friedel, 72nd Operations Support Squadron commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by April McDonald)

Man speaking at podium

During a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 5, 2021, 72nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Paul Filcek said the new air traffic control tower at Tinker Air Force Base is “among the very best in the Air Force.” The tower now houses a new simulator facility, includes an improved hardened shelter, and is equipped with new fire safety measures. (U.S. Air Force photo by April McDonald)

Two airmen in a simulated environment

Air traffic controllers can train in the simulator facility of the new air traffic control tower at Tinker Air Force Base. The tower was officially opened for business in a May 5, 2021, ribbon cutting ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by April McDonald)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The new air traffic control tower, which stands as a landmark on the Tinker Air Force Base flightline, is open for business.

The 72nd Air Base Wing held a ribbon cutting ceremony May 5, 2021, to officially open the larger, taller and more advanced tower.

“This tower transforms the flying business on Tinker Air Force Base,” said Col. Paul Filcek, 72nd Air Base Wing commander. “The air traffic control team performs magic under a lot of pressure. Now we’ve given them the tools they need to do that in world-class fashion.”

Lt. Col. Dave Friedel, 72nd Operations Support Squadron commander, said his Airmen are happy to have the state-of-the-art facility.

“The control tower cab is about twice the size of the old one, so it has more room for the controllers to spread out to do their job, and better interact with one another,” Friedel said. “It gives us room for growth.”

The 140-foot-tall facility provides air traffic controllers with up-to-date air traffic control technology, improved flightline visibility and upgraded safety measures. In addition to structural improvements, the tower now houses a new simulator facility, used to train air traffic controllers. The tower also includes an improved hardened shelter and new fire safety measures.

Oklahoma State Sen. Brenda Stanley said the new much-needed tower keeps Tinker viable. “That is our bread and butter here in District 42,” she said.

Luke Holland, legislative director in the office of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, said the senator could not be more excited about the tower opening.

“What this shows is how important Tinker Air Force Base is to the Air Force because the Air Force does not happen without Tinker,” Holland said. “With the new tower, you are ready for the new projects that are coming here, whether it’s sustaining the KC-46 or the B-21.”

The old tower, commissioned in 1971, is scheduled to be torn down later this year.