I am opening tower control at Chicago Rockford international airport for ATC practice please feel free to come by and do some pattern work to help me practice my ATC skills your feedback is always welcome.
I am flying the generic 737-700. There are many points for improvement:
You many want to change the pattern direction (you told the aircraft to make right traffic) so that the traffic doesn’t conflict with departing traffic
When clearing me for the option, you do not need to state what traffic I need to go afterwards. We already know what way of traffic we go to (from the takeoff clearance). Only state that when changing the direction of the traffic.
The issuing for the clearance for the option is way too late. It should be issued at early downwind.
It was unnecessary to tell us to go right downwind, base, etc. as the pilots know how to do a pattern.
That said, those are easily fixable. Good luck!
Thanks i’m new to the ATC so i’m not very good with the commands. I will try to improve on those thanks for the advice.
Hello there. You need to work on spacing. You wanted me to extend downwind when I was 4NM away from the traffic on final. Besides, you should really not use those commands (eg. Call my base etc) for spacing pattern aircraft, they’re better used to create space for departures or to deconflict traffic on multiple runways. You could clear for the option much earlier than you did. Your sequencing is very good. No need to give pattern entry when an aircraft is remaining in the pattern you just assign direction. You only do this once, no need to say left or right in the clearence unless you’re changing direction or its a runway change or new inbound for t&g. You’re exit runway command is slow, try queuing up the exit runway command ahead of the plane landing, it saves time.
Best wishes G-MAN
Ok I will work on those as well thanks for the help.
P. S. I forgot, your transition altitude was too high. To calculate transition: Field Elevation + 1500 ft (pattern traffic altitude) + 1000 for vertical separation.
Yeah I realized that after I issued it my bad
Hey there, here are my comments:
- One: this applies for the entire session. Don’t give aircraft that are remaining in the pattern pattern instructions every time they take off and are on their way back to land again. It’s excessive and not proper procedure. You’ll only need pattern instructions for aircraft remaining in the pattern if they request a runway change, or a runway change is issued.
- Two: you did well with the initial pattern instruction for when I requested a change to runway 19. However, right after you told me to enter right downwind, you then told me to enter left downwind, which didn’t really make sense. You then told me to enter left base, which also didn’t make sense. Remember: right downwind leads to right base, and left downwind leads to left base. Don’t give conflicting instructions because that confuses everyone. You also didn’t need to tell me to turn base; pilots are pretty good at judging when they need to turn base, so excessive pattern instructions will only slow down your work process, especially at busy airports.
- Three: good job on giving me a traffic direction for runway 19 since it was a new runway. However, right after you cleared me for the option and to make left traffic, you told me to then enter the right downwind. This was again, another conflicting instructions that was also unnecessary (as mentioned in the first point).
- Four: good call on having me extend downwind.
- Five: when I say that I’m on final (or any other position) for a full stop, you only need to say “roger.” You do not need to re-clear me to land. Clearing for the option covers it (it covers touch and go, full stop landing, low approach, etc.)
- Six: when an aircraft says they are departing a certain direction, assume they won’t be coming back. Don’t jump ahead and give them a pattern instruction because they haven’t called inbound, and they aren’t in the pattern (in which case you won’t need a pattern instruction in the first place).
- Seven: your transition was waaay to high. It was beyond your airspace, and it was just simply way too high of an altitude. The general rule of thumb is the airport’s altitude above sea level (which is 742ft for KRFD) plus 2500 feet (1500ft is where jets do patterns, plus the 1000 feet vertical separation). So, in today’s case, you only needed to issue a transition at 3,500 feet. Remember: tower’s airspace is 5000feet from the airport altitude (so at KRFD it’s 5742 feet which we can round up to 6000 and 5nm. If an aircraft fulfills either one of those categories then they don’t need to ask for a transition or contact you.
- Eight: good job with the pattern instruction and sequencing on my call for inbound.
- Nine: the extend downwind for G-MAN wasn’t needed. He was 4nm from the aircraft ahead. The standard separation is 3nm and 1000 feet vertically.
- Ten: You didn’t need to tell me that you’ll call my base; place trust in your pilots! It’ll help destress and declutter your work.
- Eleven: again, no need to re-clear me to land when I announced a full-stop.
- Twelve: your exit runway commands could be a bit sooner, as well as your clearances (those did improve later on in the session). Exit runway commands should be given when an aircraft is at 70kts, and I would suggest giving clearances when an aircraft is just entering the downwind (this is for pattern, regular ops are different based on situations). That said, there’s no set rule for when to give clearances, but the sooner the better so pilots aren’t left uncleared when they’re on short final, and so you don’t forget about them later on.
Here are the main things I think you should work on:
- When and how to use pattern instructions.
- Transition altitudes.
- When to issue clearances and exit runway instructions, as well as speed.
- Make sure you don’t give conflicting instructions.
That’s all from me. There’s definitely some things that need improvement, but you’ll get there. Let me know if you have any questions or want me to clarify things.
Thanks the wrong downwind was a mistake I meant to give you left downwind the first time but pressed right and the transition is definitely something to work on. Thanks for the help really appreciate it.
I will stop by!
Sorry I just closed but I will have one tomorrow
No worries, you’re just starting out so don’t stress about it too much. I’ll be glad to help with any further questions you may have, as well as one-on-one sessions just to practice the basics here and there. Feel free to reach out if you need/want!
Thanks will do sometime
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