Early Tuesday morning, a milestone was reached at the New Panama City Beach – Bay County International Airport Site. The capping of the control, a significant accomplishment in airport construction, was completed with nary a hiccup.
Dozens of workers, all using video camera cell phones to capture the event, lined the fenced perimeter to take a marked occasion in a very long process. Two huge cranes on either side of the 50 ton metal frame slowly raised the cab the 150ft to the top of the control tower.
It hovered under perfect blue skies before being bolted down atop the tower to be glassed in at a later date. While the whole event lasted a half hour or so, it was simultaneously the apogee to years of work and the crowning of Northwest Florida new king. If all goes according to plan, the new airport will be one of the signature southern airports, providing vacationers easy access to the “World’s Most Beautiful Beach” as well as low cost flights for residents. Seeing the control tower in place gave the airport a sense of tangibility, an air of “this whole airport-and-panama-city-beach-transformation thing is really going to happen, huh?” The ceremony was quite a thing to behold.
I asked Jeff Dealy, KBR’s program manager for the project, how many times in my life would I get to experience an event like the capping of the control tower. He smiled and said, “Once.”