There are two different types of training done by the IFATC Training Team: Local Training, and Radar Training. Local Training is the first type of training an IFATC candidate will go through in their IFATC career. They’ll be trained on the basics of ground and tower management with a focus on pattern work and inbound integration.
Depending on the trainer, local training can cover three different scenarios: single runway, parallel runway, and intersecting runway operations. Once a trainee demonstrates proficiency in local traffic management, they will be passed off to their practical test.
Below are the 10 best local training airports based on my personal experience as a trainer, in no particular order.
Single Runway Airports
- NZAA. Auckland is a great airport to get started with the basics. With a pretty straight-forward layout where things mostly flow in one direction, it’s really helpful to get the basics of ground management, as well as basic sequencing. Lots of nearby airports make it easy to work with basic inbounds as well.
- RCKH. Kaohsiung is probably the best for the basics, in my opinion. It has a simple layout on the ground, making it ideal to teach basic ground management, like simultaneous pushback conflicts. With only one runway, it’s an easy place to demonstrate the basics of sequencing and pattern work.
Parallel Runway Airports
- KAUS. Austin is a great airport to introduce parallel runways. With a decent ground layout for taxi and pushback conflicts, as well as plenty of surrounding airports to spawn in and fly inbound, it’s a great introduction to parallel runway usage.
- KDAL. In case KAUS isn’t your cup of tea, KDAL is a great substitute to KAUS. It offers the same teaching environment, with the exception of having inbounds being more consolidated.
- KFAT. Fresno is a commonly used location among trainers, and it’s also frequently seen on tracking threads. While KFAT’s ground layout may not be the best to test and practice ground awareness, it’s a great airport to work with inbounds and pattern work, as well as transitions.
- KFLL. Fort Lauderdale is another well-balanced airport. It may not have too many opportunities for ground incursions, and the potential inbound airports aren’t too overwhelming either. It’s a great “middle ground” for trainees during the parallel runway stages.
- KLCK. Rickenbacker is another personal favorite. With an elevation of 744ft, KLCK is one that can really test a trainee’s transition abilities; not everything is at MSL or below 500ft MSL! Ground incursion opportunities are also aplenty, and there’s no shortage of spawn points for inbounds, making it a great opportunity to really test traffic management with parallels.
Intersecting Runway Airports
- KPNE. Northwest Philadelphia airport is a small GA-focused airport that’s a great introduction to intersecting runway operations. With one runway that’s more GA focused and another runway that caters to smaller jets, it’s a great way to test management of GA and jet aircraft in the pattern, as well as learn how to use intersecting runways simultaneously.
- KALB. Albany airport is the jack of all trades for intersecting runways, in my opinion. It serves as a perfect balance for ground management and intersecting runway pattern management, along with inbound integration.
- KTTN. Trenton Mercer is a great airport to use for focusing on integrating inbounds in an intersecting runway layout. With very few spawn points on the ground, it’s all about perfecting the management of planes in the air.