Watertown airport plans for surge in aircraft landings before solar eclipse

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Watertown airport plans for surge in aircraft landings before solar eclipse

WATERTOWN — Imagine flying into the Watertown International Airport just for the solar eclipse and then flying away when it’s over.

That’s what some people are doing to view the total eclipse in Watertown on April 8.

And if it’s a clear day, the airport could get busy, said Grant W. Sussey, the facility’s manager. Between 100 and 150 small planes and jets could touch down for the eclipse at the county-owned airport in Hounsfield.

“If it’s a rainy day, they’ll go where it’s sunny,” he said. “If it’s sunny, they’ll come here. Unfortunately, it’s a same-day decision.”

Some pilots also could fly above the clouds to watch the eclipse, Sussey said.

As of last week, 65 planes with 130 to 150 people have registered to land at the airport for the eclipse, but that number could skyrocket if the weather cooperates.

In 2017, airports that were in the direct path of the last solar eclipse in the United States were busy that day.

As the days get closer and the weather forecast is more definitive, more solar spectators will decide to land at the airport, he said.

Sussey expects pilots from all over the United States — and possibly around the world — to land at the Watertown International Airport for the eclipse.

“I think it’s very exciting to host the eclipse viewing,” Sussey said.

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