I’ve had a few fun (crazy) experiences during my time as an IFATC. One of the most memorable was before I was an Officer (radar-qualified). While most controllers liked to have Approach present to organize traffic, I remember loving controlling busy airports without approach. I always found it exciting to use all of the 360 commands, extension instructions, etc.
Just after the launch of update 20.1, traffic was extremely high. I was controlling MROC Tower, Ground, and ATIS with @Balloonchaser on the newest frequency, Center. After he left his post a few hours later, each aircraft that was initially organized in a nice radar pattern turned to the cone and bolted. There was a sudden rush as everyone wanted to be the first one there to avoid delays. This was probably the first time I truly experienced heavy traffic without a radar controller and I absolutely loved it!
Image of Inbound Traffic and 360s
I think the main reason why I liked controlling without Approach was that I was in charge of the organization of traffic. That is most likely why I enjoy controlling Radar so much – you’re not just sequencing and clearing, you’re vectoring. The most memorable part of being in IFATC has got to be my radar training with the legendary @TaipeiGuru – I’ll never forget a moment of it. Taipei is one of the kindest people around here and is an amazing teacher. He got me hooked on radar.
However, I was never a huge fan of terrain. I never learned to love the vertical aspect of radar controlling until @ShaneAviation and I started challenging each other. We would give each other tasks like vectoring into Innsbruck but without planning, etc. Shane and I are both very competitive, and there was no way I’d be able to complete his tasks without learning to love terrain. Now, if you know Shane, you know he’s the King of Aspen. Not once have I ever seen him skip the chance to control at KASE.
Shane and I have had very exciting sessions at Aspen. Sometimes, you’ll get eight aircraft in the air but you’ve got to hold them until you get departures out. Controlling there requires a different level of communication – you almost have to know what the other controller is thinking without asking because there’s not always time for asking. Only crazy controllers control at Aspen since only crazy pilots fly in and out. I’ve never not had a crazy session there and I’m sure Shane would love to tell you about his!