Atc

October 26, 2010

Across the airwaves: Tips from controllers

How can ATC help you deal with challenges like mountainous terrain or congested airspace? And how much weather-avoidance assistance can controllers really offer? Air traffic controllers from around the country will be on hand at AOPA Aviation Summit Nov. 11 through 13 in Long Beach, Calif., to answer questions from pilots and offer advice on effective radio communication.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) will host a series of educational forums in the Convention Center and mini-forums at Controllers’ Corner (Booth No. 1219) in the exhibit hall to allow pilots and ATC to meet face to face and have more in-depth discussions than what’s appropriate for busy frequencies. The expanded offerings this year will provide insight into local airspace issues, weather considerations, and how to avoid miscommunications that could compromise safety.

For a better picture of how the National Airspace System works, pilots can attend the forum “Tips from Controllers: Navigating the NAS” on Thursday, Nov. 11, or Saturday, Nov. 13, at 10 a.m. NATCA Director of Safety and Technology Dale Wright will moderate a panel discussion with controllers from around the country about how weather impacts routes, how traffic management initiatives are used to increase efficiency, and more. Wright will take a closer look at ATC’s role in weather-avoidance in a mini-forum Nov. 11 at 1:15 p.m., discussing how the tools and capabilities can vary at different types of facilities and how to communicate effectively with ATC in order to put safety first.

Southern California has some of the most challenging airspace in the country, but local controllers will explain the ins and outs of operating in the area—and how ATC can help—in the forum “Tips from Controllers: Southern California Focus” on Friday, Nov. 12 at 11:30 a.m. They’ll also be available to answer questions in mini-forums in the exhibit hall Nov. 11 and Nov. 13 at 12:30 p.m.

Poor radio communication can lead to confusion and has even played a role in accidents. In the mini-forum “Takeoff to Touchdown: From the Controller’s Perspective” on Nov. 12 at 1:15 p.m., attendees can learn what pilots and controllers can expect from each other and get expert tips for improving their radio communication. Presenter Leanne Martin of Kalamazoo Tower will take a lighthearted approach to controller/pilot miscommunications in the mini-forum “Aviation Pet Peeves” on Nov. 12 at 12:30 p.m. and Nov. 13 at 1:15 p.m. The friendly banter between “Pete the Pilot” and “Clive the Controller” reveals simple techniques for clarifying the dialogue on both ends of the transmission. —AOPA ePublishing staff