Are there any regulations the FAA has ruled to get into a Control Tower? Do people need any special kind of security clearance? Are there forbidden items or other special rules?
I'd also want to know if there's a way for non-pilots (your average civilian Joe) to get into a Control Tower.
I've arranged tours of two control towers (a class D and a class B) and a TRACON without any issues. I was only required to provide proof of US citizenship, from what I remember.
You must turn OFF (not airplane mode) cell phones before entering the tower or active part of the TRACON.
It is still possible (and in my experience not that difficult) to get FAA tower tours (and sometimes even TRACON or Center tours), though you should be reasonable in your expectations here -- You are probably NOT going to get a tour of the tower at JFK or LAX.
The FAA used to actively encourage pilots with an instrument rating (or pursuing instrument training) to sign up for ATC facility tours under a program called "Operation Raincheck" -- This program is still running, though it's been substantially scaled back (Poke around on the FAA Safety Team's SPANS system, or sign up for notices in your area and keep a sharp eye out. Tours usually have a very limited number of slots available, and they fill up fast!).
(As an example of how quickly the slots fill up, when N90 (New York TRACON) last had a Raincheck event it was full within a few hours of being announced. No, I didn't get a slot.)
At towered GA airports - particularly ones with a lot of flight training - you can also contact the tower directly. The printed AOPA Airport Directory has facility numbers in it but that's a little out of date. You can also get the phone number from Flight Service, the local FSDO, or ask the tower/ground controller for the number if they're not too busy.
When you call the facility explain that you're a pilot/student pilot and would like to arrange to tour the facility (and if possible shadow a controller). They will usually ask for your name, address, airman certificate number, and a few other things to run a check and get approval to let you in to the facility. You will also be expected to have government issued photo ID with you when you show up.
My experience arranging a tour of our local tower was extremely pleasant - they are happy to do the tours and let you shadow a controller, and I even got to pick their brains about some peculiarities in local procedures.
It's a great educational experience, and I would recommend it for any pilot/student pilot.
As @voretaq7 says, getting tours of LAX of JFK towers just won't happen unless you happen to fly for an airline with a base there and/or are good at persuasion. I've tried to negotiate a tower tour with the supervisor at LAX on short notice but he did indicate if I had a lot of lead time they might have been able to work something out.
The easiest way to get a tour in my experience is just to call and ask for someone to talk to to request a tour. I've been in the tower cab at EWR, AUS and CRG and in the Austin TRACON. All of those were arranged with a phone call, a social security number and proof of citizenship (all post 9/11). It helps to mention you are a pilot and want to see how things work on their side.
Typically the tower guys are going to want at least one of you to be a pilot and they'll want more lead time if you are bringing a group. They'll also probably want to verify citizenship for everyone ahead of time and you'll want to be up front if you have an non-US people in the group just so they don't get surprised when you show up and they ask for passports or other ID. Bring donuts.
I have also toured the San Angelo, TX FSS. For those guys I was already on field and just called the briefing number and asked if I could walk over. They were happy to have us (I had a student with me).
If you want a tour of any facility, just call. They'll tell you what they require and how and when the tour will happen and who you can bring.
Are there any regulations the FAA has ruled to get into a Control Tower? Do people need any special kind of security clearance? Are there forbidden items or other special rules? I'd also want to know if there's a way for non-pilots (your average civilian Joe) to get into a Control Tower.
I enjoy tracking air traffic at my local KORD. I listen on LiveATC and use my private virtual radar setup to get "real-time" traffic info. I understand which instructions need to be read back... special departure frequency by tower. Once tower clears aircraft for take off and hands them off to departure controller they use "departure" frequency to read back instructions. It is typically different from standard departure frequency. The only thing that is not clear is if there is any rhyme or reason for which aircraft gets this special departure frequency and which doesn't. As pointed
Can an airport not eligible for an FAA tower and controllers choose to fund their own air traffic control tower? Can that airport require pilots to taxi, approach, land, and take off according to their tower's instructions? If so, are there requirements for the controllers in terms of certification, or can they hire anyone they deem suitable for their airport? Do they have to coordinate with the FAA or air traffic control system in some special way?
I'm very interested to learn if there are (m)any (major) (commercial) airports that have runways further away from the terminal(s) than Schiphol's Polderbaan. Which airport is "in the lead" in this respect? The northern end of the Polderbaan, the last runway to be constructed, is 7 km (4.3 mi) north of the control tower, causing taxi times of up to 20 minutes to the terminal. [...] Newest runway, opened 2003. Located to reduce the noise impact on the surrounding population; aircraft have a lengthy 15-minute taxi to and from the Terminal. Wikipedia
be phased out? Seems unlikely due to airspace security issues alone. But are there any other reasons to keep radar coverage? ...Based on the reading I've been doing of FAA's Next Generation Air Traffic Control (NextGen) plans, I've been wondering if and how radar systems will continue to be used for ATC as NextGen rolls out? Questions include: Is it correct to assert that radar coverage will effectively become a less precise, backup only, data feed? I am suggesting this because my understanding (which could easily
When flying on a long-haul airliner flight in economy, often you find it very hard to fall asleep (at least I do). However, when off cockpit duties, they still have to get rest so that they are able to control the aircraft without being exhausted and collapsing on the controls when they are on duty. Are there are any specific methods of helping pilots to gain the rest required on board an aircraft? Has there been any studies about the effectiveness of these?
If conditions at a towered airport are not IFR, can pilots request a special VFR clearance? For example, at a Class D airport, ceiling 1300 broken, 10 sm visibility is technically too low to remain in the pattern (assuming a 1000 foot AGL pattern and maintaining at least 500 feet below clouds), yet it is not IFR. With a Special VFR clearance, the pilot would be able to maintain a 1000 foot pattern and remain clear of clouds. If the pilot requests SVFR, will the tower grant it?
Piloting an aircraft, if skydivers cannot jump on a flight, what should I take care of when landing? Are there any special recommendations which should be taken into account?
So the answer in my mind is "of course pilots can fly circling approaches at non-towered airports" (seriously, I could swear that I've done it before, but then again I can't think of any specific examples....). That is, until I ran across this little tidbit in the Air Traffic Control Order while researching another question: 4-8-6. CIRCLING APPROACH a. Circling approach instructions may only be given for aircraft landing at airports with operational control towers. So then the question becomes, why do they have circling minimums at non-towered airports?? No tower here. ATC
Provided an aircraft with a fly-by-wire system, there are basically two possible choices when it comes deciding how to let the pilots interface with it: rate control / attitude hold: a deflection of the stick will command a certain rate, releasing it will make the system maintain the current attitude. See the Airbus Normal control law. direct control: a deflection of the yoke will directly translate to a deflection of the surfaces, mimicking the "old" mechanical control setup. It is my understanding that this is the design choice of Boeing in its new aircrafts. I do not wish to discuss