...Crippled Resources Struggle To Regain Footing...

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As aircraft from the military, Civil Air Patrol and Coast Guard Auxiliary, not to mention dozens of media helicopters, flocked to disaster scenes in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, the FAA had some disasters of its own to cope with. Katrina did serious damage to numerous FAA installations, leaving controllers with little to work with, and, in some cases, nowhere to work from. "In Gulfport all the navaids were destroyed and the tower is uninhabitable. There was damage to other towers, as well," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told AVweb Wednesday. Three major TFRs have been established over New Orleans, the Mississippi and Alabama coasts and in many areas affected by the storm, operations are limited to rescue and relief aircraft for day VFR only. Three major airports were open for public use: Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Lake Charles. Brown said Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans was down to a single runway (01/19) with day VFR operations only and is only being used by relief aircraft. The other runway was flooded. New Orleans Lakefront is flooded and closed. A major radar site was knocked out, wiping out radar coverage below 10,000 feet. Communications sites were also wrecked and there is a limited number of radio frequencies available. Military controllers are helping the FAA maintain separation but, for many aircraft, it's see and be seen. "Portions of the Houston Center area are VFR only," Brown said.