Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Bankstown Control Tower Visit

Justin has been kind enough to email me the photos I was bitching about earlier. Apparently my email address kept bouncing back, so if you've emailed me in the last couple of days, please try again, my ISP has been a touch unreliable.

After climbing about nine flights of steps (one of our number succumbed to altitude sickness as a result,) we finally reached the tower. It gave us a new perspective. This is the perch from which the controllers look down on us pilots. And I do mean look down on us pilots.

Interesting to put some faces to voices. Granted this was a Sunday, but I didn't expect them to be quite so casual. Slobs.

NB - I have the highest degree of respect and esteem for Air Traffic Controllers.

In the far distance is my parking spot.

A busy and expensive part of the field. None of these aircraft are moving, by the way.

If the view isn't good enough the controllers can even climb higher. This one is Justins favourite. He intended it to be a photo of the 2RN radio mast. Instead he got a nice one of a ladder.

The Office. We managed to gain entry as student pilots by being jolly well behaved and bringing donuts. Beer and donuts are the key to a controllers heart. We got to ask some questions and talk to the controllers about what they can see, what they do, etc. I asked a question which I knew would fire up the controller, but it simply had to be asked. I asked "what stupid things do we students do that annoys you controllers?"

The senior controller rounded on me and I could see specks of foam begin to eject from the corners of his mouth. After giving me a lecture on the correct etiquette for radio telephony usage, I can report that the thing that gives controllers the tomtits more than anything else are;

pilots overtalking each other,
pilots continuing into the GAAP without reporting because the frequency is too busy,
and, pilots getting into difficulties and not informing the tower.

It was a question that had to be asked, however uncomfortable it might be, as all student pilots have at one time or another have done one or more of those things. I'd go so far as to say that the last two crimes are more likely to be committed by experienced pilots than students.


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