With April now well underway, the realisation has dawned that a proposal to erect a leaning control tower at Wellington Airport in New Zealand is not an April Fool’s Day joke.
The proposed tower has a lean greater than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is designed to lean into the prevailing northerly wind (and Wellington can be windy) at an angle of 12.5 degrees.
The first problem the proposal struck was it’s timing: it was released on 31 March 2015. News of it surfaced on 1 April – which meant it was widely dismissed as a April Fool jest.
It’s no joke. Airways New Zealand has lodged an application with Wellington City Council for the nine-storey, 32-metre-high airport control tower, at the southern end of the airport. The cost would be NZD 18 million. That’s about AUD 18 million, now the currencies are virtually at parity.
The proposal may have hit a snag. New Zealand’s Airline Pilots Association (NZALPA) air traffic control director Jon Brooks expressed concerns about vision. He told Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper the proposed leaning tower would restrict controllers’ lines of sight to certain parts of the airfield.
In contrast, the existing 58-year-old tower, which stands on a hill at the western side of the airport, provided a clear view of the whole airfield, Brooks said.
Written by : Peter Needham in Paraparaumu, New Zealand