My flight school requires their students to take a tour of the airport control tower (the school’s building is conveniently right next to the tower) – which is just totally cool! Walk around inside? Yes, please!
We started in the uppermost windowed area. I know them as “Fairbanks Tower”. I never realized there was so much space up there! And that VFR flights are handwritten on slips of paper… so ‘quaint’ when surrounded by all the computers and stuff. IFR flight ‘tickets’ are dropped down the chute to the radar room….mm. Wouldn’t have guessed that. I absolutely loved the 360 degrees of windows. I wish I could have gotten a picture. We were rushed out though because there was a firefighting practice scheduled to start.
The radar room was pitch dark except for the wall of glow-y displays. I know them as “Fairbanks Departure” and Fairbanks Approach”. It is both intimidating and comforting to know that someone in that tower is watching my transponder blip every time I fly.
So very proud of my fellow ERAU friends that work in ATC. You have so much knowledge rattling around in your head!
After the tour, I was scheduled to fly – but the 150 was still in the hangar for its 100 hour maintenance (my mental picture of plane engines has been greatly improved by seeing everything under the cowl both today and yesterday. And we’re getting a working compass, yay, haha). To make it up to me, I got the offer to wait around for the private pilot student who was going up in the piper arrow. “Would you like to go?” “Uh, YES!”
He was practicing landings for his upcoming first solo flight. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to sit back and watch someone else fly. Watching so many landings has made me feel more comfortable with the fact that soon, I’ll get to do it all myself.