Uncharted Tower Causes Confusion

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Despite a NOTAM, a remark in the ATIS and signs in the terminal building, a few pilots including some locals have attempted to land at the Easton/Newman Field Airport (ESN), in Maryland, without a clearance from the new control tower, which opened Nov. 15. Airport Manager Mike Henry told AVweb that controllers monitor the airport's common traffic advisory frequency to herd approaching aircraft that are not talking to the tower, which does not yet have a radar feed from the Potomac TRACON (terminal radar approach control). Henry said a pilot based at ESN recently landed on Runway 15 while the tower was working traffic on Runway 4. Fortunately there was no incursion, but the pilot did get an official slap on the wrist, according to controllers.

The tower won't appear on any charts until Feb. 14, when the Class D airspace kicks in. Right now the airport is Class G at the surface but FAR Part 91 requires pilots to establish two-way communications with any control tower regardless of the airspace it's in. A source at the FAA's National Flight Data Center told AVweb that the chart update could be delayed if any operational problems arise over the next few weeks. If so, Easton would continue to be depicted in magenta with a note that the airspace is Class D by NOTAM.