Tucson: Tucson International Airport (TIA): News

TIA Tower gets a lift- just in time to turn 50

At 11 stories and 119’2” it was the third tallest skyscraper in town, and the only one with neon letters spelling out TUCSON down its side. It was the air traffic control tower at Tucson Municipal Airport, and it was hot!

Red neon ran along the four corners of the building. White and blue neon spelled out TUCSON and welcomed everyone who landed in the patch of desert that boasted a population of 100,000.

It was modern, enclosed and had an elevator. Compared to the original tower perched on a wooden frame on the tarmac in front of the three hangars on the west side of the airport, it was first class.

The Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) celebrated its 10 th anniversary with the opening of the $535,000 Tucson tower on October 18-19, 1958. TAA also staged a banquet to join the Arizona Air National Guard in its dedication of a new $2.5 million facility. The 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard had established temporary quarters on the north side of the airport in May 1956.

Fifty years and 11.6 million operations later, the Tucson International Airport (TIA) tower is a treasured architectural icon that features state of the art navigation equipment and an experienced staff of controllers that guide air traffic 24 hours a day.

TAA will celebrate the 50 th anniversary of the TIA tower on Saturday, October 11, 2008, with a community open house.

In anticipation of the big Five-O, the tower is getting a repaint starting next week. Look for cranes and workers from Riddle Painting on the tarmac for the next few weeks. Just in time for a very special birthday party that includes a color guard and fly over by the Arizona Air National Guard at 11 a.m.

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