Sunday, August 03, 2008

To The Tower

Ann has been working at the airport control tower for awhile as a college intern. She now has a student job in the flight controller training simulator. Friday, Marilyn and I took her up on her offer for a tour.
We worked our way to the top going through the "tracon" where controllers guide aircraft that are some distance from the airport. There are no windows in the tracon room since there is nothing for them to see guiding planes many miles out. Ann then took us to ground control. This is where the windows are.
Ground control gets the planes out and to the runway and off. Although not so busy at noon, I imagine this is the really stressful job at 8:00 am. We watched the activity for awhile. I didn't see any planes roll into each other so apparently they were doing a good job.
Next, it was down to the simulator where Ann works. The large wrap around screens display an image of the airport as seen from the control tower. Ann's job is to act as a pilot while the trainee gives instructions. She responds as a pilot and operates the simulator to have planes taxi and take off in response to the trainees instructions.

At the end of our tour, I asked Ann if anyone ever stood outside at the base of the tower, looked up, and yelled "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair". She said "no, only you".