Welcome back to the third edition of the infinite flight steam blog. Today we will be talking about air traffic control with our special guest Tyler Shelton through the use of an interview format. Tyler is an Air Traffic Controller with 10 years of experience, a retired USAF veteran, and the ATC Community Manager at Infinite Flight. His ATC career began in the U.S. Air Force and has since held ratings at several facilities, both domestic and abroad, to include deployed locations in the Middle East, Goodyear Federal Contract Tower, and currently Harrisburg International ATCT, an FAA facility in Harrisburg,PA providing tower and radar services. His roles at Infinite Flight include the management of the Infinite Flight ATC (IFATC) program responsible for providing ATC services to the expert server. In addition, he facilitates community engagement through support of events, media content, and the management of programs like feature requests and livery selections.
Thank you for joining us today Tyler.
John: How did you get into air traffic control?
Tyler : Following two years in college studying music, I decided to change career paths. My goal was to find a military job that would best translate to the civilian world. I chose Air Traffic Control and specifically pursued The United States Air Force based on the fact that they provide the same level of training , experience and certifications as the FAA. I enlisted for 6 years , earned a Control Tower Operator License, and was able to use that to advance beyond the military and into the world of civilian Air Traffic.
John: What is some of the technology that you use while at work.
Tyler : One of the key tools used daily by controllers at the terinmal level is the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System ( STARs). This like many other radar display softwares, is a constantly evolving program that allows us to safely and efficiently manage our airspace with the ability to see weather, automate air traffic functions internally and externally, as well as see critical aircraft and airport data. STARs has continued to receive upgrades based on controller needs. One feature somewhat recently introduced is a final monitor that recognizes the required separation necessary on final and color codes traffic to depict adequate spacing, compression, or an imminent loss.
Photo credit : Collin’s aerospace
Another piece of technology worth mentioning is the Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE) , a ground radar designed to increase situational awareness for ground controllers, as well as presenting key aircraft and flight plan data. This system has reduced countless runway incursions, wrong surface landings, and potential losses of separation.
John: What is the future of ATC and the technology used?](https://infiniteflight.com/joinatc)
As various runway and movement area incidents earn national attention, notably the Aus event between an arriving FedEx and departing Southwest aircraft, the FAA will likely continue to invest in ASDE-X ground radar for all commercial airports throughout the country. Currently there is only this ground radar available at 35 airports, most of which are your major core 30 HUBs. This leaves countless other complex, high volume, airports vulnerable to similar surface errors due to a lack of additional oversight and redundancy.
John: For those aspiring to become Air Traffic Controllers how would they do that and what are some world of advice that you would give.
Tyler: Explore the various paths to ATC and find the one that works for you! While the FAA places high value on prior experience through the military, this lifestyle won’t be a good fit for everyone. Explore Collegiate Training Programs ( CTIs) at colleges throughout the country or simply apply to a no experience bid posted by the FAA several times per year on www.usajobs.gov . Above all get out to your local facilities for a tour! We’re always happy to show you around and help you take a look through our lens to see if this career field is right for you.
John: Does Infinite Flight have ATC and can you tell us more about it?
Infinite Flight offers ATC two ways! Any user has access to control the skies of the Training Server. This, is a great place to familiarize yourself with the interface, interact with other pilots, and apply the knowledge found in our ATC manual. Introduction | Infinite Flight.
Users can also join IFATC, a group of highly-qualified Air Traffic Controllers that provide global ATC services on the Expert Server. Once the requirements are met, you can enter our recruiting program which takes you through a series of evaluations, one of which is a multiple-choice knowledge exam, the other a practical to observe your ability to manage a basic traffic pattern. Once successfully completed, users will gain access to an exclusive Discord server, have an opportunity to progress through a structured rank system, control anywhere in the world with hundreds of other certified controllers and have fun.
Breeze Airways is an American low cost airline that commenced operation on May 27th 2021. The airline planned to offer point to point flights from smaller secondary airports such as Norfolk International and Akron Canton but has since added some major airports such as Orlando. For its launch of operation the airline ordered 60 Airbus a220-300 aircraft on Jul 17th 2018. To help speed up the time to launch they leased several Embraer e-195 and e-190 jets for shorter flights. On April 26th 2021, breeze ordered an additional 20 a220-300 aircraft. The first one was delivered on October 26th 2021. Currently their fleet consists of 20 a220-300 with orders for 60 more, 10 ex Air Canada e-190 and 6 former Azul and Air Europa e-195 jets. Some current destinations include Huntsville, Phoenix ,los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Ana, Hartford, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Louisville, Portland, Las Vegas, Syracuse, and more.
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