12/11/2017 While so much attention has been focused on the impacts of the Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, there’s no news at Santa Barbara Airport (SBA), where operations have been normal. Many members of the community have, however, wondered if the smoke and nearby fire activity have impacted airport operations.
Like much of Santa Barbara County, SBA has experienced intermittent power outages. However, critical systems at the Airport are all supported by back-up generator power, which automatically initiates in the event of a power outage.
Decreased visibility from smoke does impact recreational flying, however, larger jet aircraft are all equipped to fly in decreased visibility, whether it be low clouds, or in this instance, smoke from nearby fires. Current wind patterns in the area also are not abnormal for commercial aviation and pose no operational issues.
Santa Barbara’s air traffic control tower has struggled with some staffing shortages, however, the tower receives air space support from other nearby air traffic control facilities in order to avoid any impacts to arrivals or departures from the Airport.