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234 HELICOPTER AIR SERVICE PROGRAM I urge your committee to continue to support these pioneering helicopter carriers so that they may continue to grow and find their just place in our national aviation system. Senator MONRONEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Downes. You not only are a good referee but you would make a good sports announcer, because you can really keep up with this fast-moving pace that the committee is trying to hit late this morning. We will receive the manual of the airline schedules for Chicago Midway Airport. I believe that is not very voluminous, is it? Mr. DOWNES. There is a tremendous amount of detail in it. Senator MONRONEY. We will receive those for the committee files, and not include them it the printed record, because your statement is very illuminating and very cogent. May I ask about Meigs Field? What is the runway length there? Mr. DOWNES. It is 3,945 feet, and, due to displaced threshold, about 3,400 feet, effective, in round numbers. Senator MONRONEY. The threshold is on the approach? One approach is over the lake, isn't it? Mr. DOWNES. Both approaches are over the lake, although the one from the north is displaced about 750 feet, if I remember correctly, due to the fact that the Chicago Park District has a line of trees along an approach to one of its buildings, and their esthetics demand that these trees be there. Senator MONRONEY. Getting to the point quickly, what is the chance of lengthening that to 5,000 now if Federal funds were available for half? Mr. DOWNES. This is part of our master plan, and I believe included in the National Airport plan, to lengthen the runway to the south, Senator, to some 5,500 feet. Senator MONRONEY. You might find a very revolutionary approach if the DC-9 goes as well as I think it will go. It will be able to land and take off with plenty of margin in the 5,000-foot runway, which could put your DC-9 flights from mid-United States or from Florida or from probably either point on the west coast or the east coast into Chicago. If that were true, it would really make necessary your helicopter service between downtown and the transfer to other lines out of O'Hare. Mr. DOWNES. It will make it even that much attractive. Senator MONRONEY. You may have not one airport, as you have now, practically, but you might have O'Hare and Midway both in operation. Mr. DOWNES. That is a possibility. Senator MONRONEY. It is a part of your master plan but it has not yet been funded? Mr. DOWNES. It hasn't been funded. Senator MONRONEY. How long would it take you to build, if it were funded? Mr. DOWNES. It would cost a fair amount of money, Senator, because of the fact that the water is about 30 feet deep there. This means expensive cofferdam construction. Senator MONRONEY. Why do you have to always build a dirt and masonry runway? I have seen airports that cross such highways on bridges. Thirty-foot pylons with the load factor not being too heavy to sustain, it seems to me you could build them as reinforced concrete bridges.
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