Author Topic: Introduction to Controlling: Tower - Dealing with IFR Aircraft  (Read 2407 times)

AsharK | EAS-5500

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Introduction to Controlling: Tower - Dealing with IFR Aircraft
« on: September 15, 2018, 05:11:12 PM »
Hey everyone! Today we will be talking about the Tower Controller. Now, this position really fluctuates in difficulty, depending on the amount of traffic you have and whether or not they are IFR, VFR, Arrivals, Departures, etc. Sometimes its really easy and sometimes it gets mind-boggling.

Today we will be talking about:

- Runway Configurations
- IFR Departures
- IFR Arrivals
- Wake Turbulence
- Go Arounds

Now the first thing the tower controller does, Before talking to any aircraft, is to figure out the active and inactive runways. If you are controlling on FSX, you can either use the normal radar or LittleNavMap. LittleNavMap will be explained in a later post.

Anyway, to figure out the active and inactive runways, you want to take the current wind, found on the top right of the FSX Radar Screen, and find all the runways, at the airport you are controlling. Lets take KMDW for example. Midway has 5 Runways. The 22s, 4s, 31s and 13s.

Now let's just say that the wind is 190 at 12. Looking at all the runways at the airport, you want to find the least difference between the wind heading and the runway headings. If the runway has 1 digit so for example, Runway 4R. You would add a zero BEFORE and AFTER the 4. So the heading for Runway 4R will be 040. If the runway has two digits then you would add a zero AFTER the two digits. So take Runway 22L, the heading for Runway 22L would be 220. So if we look at KMDW and all the runways available, we need to first, find out the headings for each runway.   

Runway 22 L & R - 220
Runway 4 L & R - 040
Runway 31 L & C & R - 310
Runway 13 L & C & R - 130

(not exact headings ^)

Now to figure out the best runway to use depending on the wind, you must find the difference.

If the wind heading is larger then runway heading:

(Wind Heading) - (Runway Heading) = Final heading

If the runway heading is larger then the wind heading:

(Runway Heading) - (Wind Heading) = Final heading

Runway 22 L & R: 220 - 190 = 030
Runway 4 L & R: 190 - 040 = 150
Runway 31 L & C & R: 310 - 190 = 120
Runway 13 L & C & R: 190 - 130 = 060

In this case, the more favorable Runway would be Runway 22 L & R. This is because it is the smallest number / difference. This is to make sure that the aircraft has the biggest headwind that there is to better slow the aircraft down.

Now its not like your limited to one runway. You can have different types of configurations. 1 for VFR and 1 for Arrivals & Departures. 1 for VFR, 1 for Arrivals and 1 for departures. Maybe even all VFR and arrivals & departures on only 1 runway. You have to take into account not only the wind but also the amount of aircraft you have, the number of runways you have available, the direction / heading each runway faces, the size of each runway and the limitations on what aircraft can land on a runway depending on length, etc. In the end, it is your choice on which runways to use. But try to take EVERYTHING into account. Not just the Wind.

When giving a takeoff clearance for an IFR aircraft. You need to follow this outline:

<CALLSIGN>, traffic (if any), weather (if any),  fly heading (###), wind (###) at (##), runway (##), cleared for takeoff.

Example: AAL123, B738 on 5 mile final, fly heading 270,  wind 190 at 12, runway 22L, cleared for takeoff.

Depending on current conditions such as aircraft on final, severe weather conditions, you would either include or exclude "traffic" and "weather"

To assign a heading to an aircraft, you have to look at many things such as the SID and direction of flight. If the aircraft is flying towards the west then you don't want to be giving him 130 or 060 as that is towards the wrong direction of flight and completely pointless. Instead you want to give him 270 or 250, etc. But it also depends on the SID.

Looking at this hybrid SID, if the aircraft is departing Runway 36R at KCLT, you would want to give him a heading of 025 IF they are flying this SID. Because if you look after the end of 36R, eventually the aircraft should turn to the right to heading 025. In this case, you should give the aircraft heading 025 on departure.

Your heading should be reasonable. It should not make the aircraft turn around and pass the airport. It should be towards their direction of flight. Towards their first way-point on their route. There are many many things that go into headings. It depends on Standard Operating Procedures and blah blah blah. Just pick a heading that is reasonable. If anything, just give the aircraft Runway Heading. That is probably the best thing you can do then give a heading that might cause other issues when the aircraft is dealing with departure or another radar controller.

As a tower controller. YOU CANNOT GIVE RADAR VECTORS. You are not a radar controller. You cannot get a IFR aircraft onto final. That is the job of the Approach Controller and / or the pilot. On Final, the aircraft should contact you between 5 -10 miles out. The pilot will request a landing clearance at that time. The outline to give a landing clearance is as shown:

<CALLSIGN>, <AIRPORT> Tower, number # following <A/C TYPE> (IF following another aircraft), caution wake turbulence (IF wake turbulence is a factor), weather (if any), wind ### at ##, runway ##, cleared to land.

Now there is a lot that goes into this. Whether or not the aircraft is following another aircraft. Weather or now wake turbulence matters. Lets break it down:

We have AAL123 behind another aircraft type B738 on a 3 mile final. Wake turbulence is NOT a factor.

Example: AAL123, KMDW Tower, Number 2 following B738 on 3 mile final. Wind 190 at 12, Runway 22L, Cleared to land.

Maybe that B738 infront of AAL123 is a B772 and AAL123 is a B738.

Example: AAL123, KMDW Tower, Number 2 following B772 on 3 mile final. Caution Wake Turbulence. Wind 190 at 12, Runway 22L, Cleared to land.

If you have an aircraft that needs a landing clearance and he will be landing AFTER a aircraft takes off from the same runway. You should put the traffic advisory after the clearance itself.

Example: AAL123, KMDW Tower, Wind 190  at 12, Runway 22L, Cleared to land. B738 departing prior to your arrival.

If wake turbulence is a factor.

Example: AAL123, KMDW Tower, Wind 190 at 12, Runway 22L, Cleared to land. B772 departing prior to your arrival. Caution Wake Turbulence.

Now the most simple of the clearances, when nothing is an issue.

Example: AAL123, KMDW Tower, Wind 190 at 12, Runway 22L, Cleared to land.

To decide if wake turbulence is an issue, you have to look at the aircraft type of the two aircraft. The aircraft types are split up through category. Small, Large, Heavy and Super.

If a lower class is behind a higher class, wake turbulence is a factor. If a small aircraft is behind a large aircraft, wake turbulence is a factor.Same goes for anything else such as a Heavy behind a Super. The wake turbulence factor is greater as the classes get more stretched. If an small is behind a Heavy, wake turbulence is more of a factor then if it was a small behind a large. As long as there is somewhat of a wake turbulence factor, you have to advise the pilot. If the 2 aircraft are the same class, wake turbulence is not a factor.

When either you or the aircraft calls a Go Around, you have to give him a heading, altitude and then send him to departure.

Outline: <CALLSIGN>, Fly Heading ###, Climb and Maintain <ALTITUDE>, Contact Departure on <FRQUENCY> (or "Monitor Unicom on 122.8")

Example: AAL123, Fly Heading 200, Climb and maintain 3000, Contact Departure on <FREQUENCY>


Example: AAL123, Go Around, Fly Heading 200, Climb and maintain 3000, Contact Departure on <FREQUENCY>

You want to send the aircraft to the Departure Controller. If there is no radar controller online, you must send the aircraft to Unicom. Replace "Contact Departure on <FREQUENCY>" with "Monitor Unicom on 122.8"

Example: AAL123, Go Around, Fly Heading 200, Climb and maintain 3000, Monitor Unicom on 122.8

Once again, the heading should be a reasonable heading. It should get the aircraft back into the arrival area. It should not be some wrong way of flight UNLESS there are aircraft flying in one direction or departure or arrival. In that case you want to give a heading that will remove and conflict capabilities. Somewhere easy for the radar controller to get the aircraft back into the arrival field. Not a heading that could cause conflict with other aircraft or mess up the radar controller. It should not be a heading going completely the  opposite way in which case the aircraft has to cross over the airport again or near the airport.

For the Altitude. That will depend on what SIDs your using other small things such as the height of objects around the airport, etc etc. Usually, just take the altitude off of a SID that you are using and use that as the Go Around altitude. Such as for the KMDW 4 departure, the top altitude is 3000. You would give the aircraft 3000 as a Go Around Altitude. BUT, sometimes it's even better to increase or decrease the altitude by lets say 1000. Instead of 3000, you could use 4000 to maintain separation from Departures and Go Arounds. IF THERE IS A RADAR CONTROLLER ONLINE, you MUST FIRST Coordinate with them before issuing such altitudes.

That's about it for IFR Aircraft when your controlling Tower at a airport. There are many other things that I have not went over but those are advanced things for another day. Next time, we will be talking about VFR aircraft and how to deal with VFR in different types of airspaces. Have a good day everyone! See you next time!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 05:24:37 PM by AsharK EAS-5589 »