3 Local frequency tips from 3 of experience

April, 22, 2021 by

As I am now nearing 3 months of controlling local frequencies, I have spotted many efficient techniques and methods a local controller could use to not only expedite the service but to make the controller’s life easier. Local frequencies, Ground, Tower and ATIS, are the most frequently controlled. It is fun controlling hubs daily and using tips I will be sharing below makes the experience much better.

Tip 1: Anticipated Separation

Anticipated separation is a good way to get aircraft out quickly. This technique is simple and should be always used when controlling local. Aircraft speed plays a big part in this method, incorrectly judging spacing and speed can lead to this going wrong.

3.2.3 — […] anticipated separation should also be taken into account, especially with departure / departure sequences. If the first aircraft is already rolling, ask yourself how long it will take the second aircraft to line up on the runway and commence their take-off roll. If the assumption can be made that the first aircraft will be airborne, then you can save yourself the extra command and just clear the next aircraft for take-off, however consideration should be given to the expected climb speed of the preceding aircraft (see 3.1.1 above).

I have used this method many times at hubs, and it should be utilised especially when there is one runway solely for departure. Line Up and Wait is also useful tool, however both methods should be used in together when possible.

Tip 2: Line Up and Wait Commands

Line Up and Wait commands are incredibly useful because it gives the controller a few options. However, when using this the controller must be pro-active and completely aware of their surroundings. One good time to use it is when there is tight spacing between ARR/ARR (Arrival/Arrival). Once a plane crosses the one holding short, it is a good idea to have the aircraft holding short, line up and wait. This is will expedite that aircraft’s departure as the controller will be prepared to have them takeoff once exiting aircraft vacates the runway.

Another way to utilise Line Up and Wait is when there is a lot of departures waiting and the controller is trying to expedite departures. As a plane lines up and seems to be beginning to takeoff, you can Line Up and Wait the plane holding short so that they are ready to depart. This makes life easier because your departures can be sent out quicker.

Tip 3: How to do Runway Crossings efficiently

Runway Crossings at hubs can be incredibly stressful, therefore the controller must logically begin to cross arrivals/departures especially when using a runway for both departures and arrivals. One of the ways I like to help relieve this bottleneck by crossing pilots in groups. You must ensure the airport layout would allow you to hold several aircraft. If so, wait until there are about 2-3 aircraft holding short of the runway and expedite their runway crossing.

This is highly efficient because crossing in groups allows you to not worry about runway crossings as much, it is a good way to keep the airport running smoothly. Do not be scared to hold a few plane shorts, it is about quality not quantity.

Kedz is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He an IFATC specialist.