Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TSS Images

I shot some pics today inside the TSS so you folks can get a close-up of what it looks like. Click any of the photos to view the full-size versions.

TSS Panorama Shot:
A full overview of one of the four identical TSS labs. Here's what's you're seeing, from left to right:
  1. Don, one of our Instructors
  2. Local's radio touchscreen panel (past John's left shoulder)
  3. D-Brite radar display (hidden, in front of John)
  4. ATIS / weather informa display
  5. Airport lighting control system
  6. Monitor position's radio touchscreen panel (past Inga's left shoulder)
  7. Ground's "binocular" display (peeking out past Inga's right shoulder)
  8. Ground's radio touchscreen panel
  9. Ground's stripbay, in front of her radio panel
  10. Jim, another one of our instructors
  11. Ghost pilot's dual-monitor control station

John and Inga getting ready:
You're supposed to be in your assigned lab five minutes before the scheduled start time. This gives you a few minutes to rip and stuff strips, plug-in, and get your station organized.

The view from the monitoring position:

Kevin working Local.

This shot clearly shows:
  • The D-Brite radar display.
  • The yellow runway crossing stick (the "Idiot Stick"). When Ground coordinates with local to have an aircraft or vehicle cross an active runway, Local keeps that stick as a reminder that one of his runways is currently unusable for landing or departing aircraft. After the runway is clear, Ground tells Local: "Runway crossing complete [runway #] at [taxiway]". Local then hands the stick back and the runway is back in use.
  • Wake turbulence timers, a pair of them. One is for 2 minutes (Heavies) and the other is a 3 minute timer for intersection takeoffs (Small-plus, Large, and Heavies).
  • The strip bay. Some people choose to use the stripholders, others don't. I personally prefer to use them since A) they're used on the PV and B) they simply feel more "controller-esque" than having a bunch of paper strips floating around.
Me working Ground
In this shot, you can see:
  • Ground's "binocular" display monitor in front of me, zoomed in on a pile of debris that used to be a C172. It was the last run of the day and my instructor got goofy, spontaneously ordering the poor little C172 to self-destruct. The proper phraseology for this is - no joke - "Cessna 123, you have disobeyed and will suffer the consequences!" BOOM! :)
  • Lighting control panel for the airport.
  • My pad, with a bunch of VFR strips pre-formatted on it for quick-draw action.
  • The pile of discarded strips that invariably collects as the problem wears on.

Things to Study

A friend from Miami Dade just asked me a very good question via e-mail, and I figured I'd answer it here since it's very pertinent. He's heading to the academy pretty soon and wanted to know the following:
Figured now would be a great time to ask you if there was anything you wished you studied more prior to going to the Academy. I've been hitting the AIM and been trying to learn plane types and characteristics, but I'm almost afraid of opening the 7110.65 and learning something the wrong way.

Anything I should study? Or should I just make sure I know the ATB and relax?
I would say relax for the most part. Most of the things you use will be pounded into your head over the course of three weeks of Academics. However, there's a few things that you can brush up on that will save you studying time while you're here.

Aircraft Categories
This is very, very important for you to know in order to work your traffic effectively. Along with aircraft types, knowing and using your Cat I, Cat II, and Cat III Same Runway Separation (SRS) will allow you to move your traffic as quickly as you possibly can. If you've gone through CTI school, you've likely learned the 3000 foot, 4500 foot, and 6000 foot SRS rules.

For instance, let's say you've got a Cessna Citation 500, a Cessna 310, and a Cessna 172 ready to go at Runway 28R. You clear the Citation to go. He's airborne by the time he's 6000 feet down the runway, so you clear the C310 to takeoff. As soon as the C310 is airborne and past the 4500 foot mark, you clear the C172 to takeoff. Congratulations - you got rid of three departures in probably under a minute.

Memory Exercises
Your short term memory needs to be as honed as it can be. How you do this is of course very subjective and changes from person to person.

One thing that I found worked was reading license plates while driving (phonetically of course) and trying to remember them a few minutes later. You can also try remembering what kind of car and what color it was. For instance, Chevy Cavalier, Blue, and AR2991. Try remembering a bunch of different cars, and then going back to earlier ones.

I don't know how to quite describe it, but when an aircraft calls you up, you need to remember the most pertinent information and decode it. For instance, you may get a call such as: "Academy tower, Learjet 112VZ is over 7 miles southeast, inbound for full-stop with information Hotel. We are parking at Spartan Aviation." In your head, all you need to retain is:
  • Learjet
  • 112VZ
  • Spartan Aviation
Personally, I translate it to my pad in the following format: "LJ 112VZ (S)". This gives me the type of aircraft, the callsign, and where he's parking in a simple code. I've gotten to the point where I don't need to write down where they're coming from - I just remember it.

Speech Exercises
You need to speak clearly first, and quickly second. If you mumble, stutter, or slur, your "Runway 28R, cleared to land" could (and has been) interpreted as "Roger, holding over McDonalds Bridge". If you have access to some Speech recognition software like Dragon Naturally Speaking, I would practice with that so you can work on your enunciation and pronunciation.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm writing a separate post discussion the voice recognition on its own.

Wake Turbulence Rules
Wake turb will kick everyone's butt. Learn the rules as well as you can. I've discussed Wake Turb. before and I'm not going to go into it again. Suffice it to say that it can make or break your PV.

Aircraft Types
The Academy Airport is a crazy place, where 747's mix it up with Cessnas. Its 10,000 foot parallel runways see many kinds of aircraft with many variances in their performance. The aircraft in the simulators perform pretty realistically - you can ask a Cessna 172 to turn off at the first taxiway, but good luck trying to get a 777 to stop in under half of the runway's length.

While it's easy to generalize similar aircraft, you need to pay attention to their specifics. For instance, in today's problem, we had a Gulfstream V inbound who was operating under VFR. All of the other corporate jets - Lears, Falcons, Sabrelinerss - fall under the Small or Small-Plus categories. However, the G5 is a LARGE. As such, you need to issue wake turbulence to any Small or Small-Plus aircraft landing behind it. Naturally I didn't, so I got a verbal smack on the wrist from the instructor.

Here's a pretty complete list of the aircraft we see at Academy Airport, both in the Tabletop labs and the TSS/EDS. I'm sure I missed a few here or there, but I guarantee you all of the following are used here at Academy.

  • Airbus A300 (H/A300)
  • Airbus A310 (H/A310)
  • Boeing 727 (B727)
  • Boeing 737 (B732, B734, etc.)
  • Boeing 747 (H/B744)
  • Boeing 757 (B752, H/B753)
  • Boeing 777 (H/B772)
  • Dehavilland Dash 8 (DH8)
  • Douglas DC-9 (DC9)
  • Douglas DC-10 (H/DC10)
  • Fokker F100 (F100)
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (H/MD11)
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-80 (MD80)
Single Engine Prop (Cat 1):
  • Beechcraft Bonanza (BE35)
  • Cessna 172 (C172)
  • Cessna 182 (C182)
  • Piper Cherokee (P28A)
Twin Engine Prop (Cat II):
  • Aero Commander (AC68)
  • Aerostar (AEST)
  • Beechcraft Baron (BE58)
  • Beechcraft Duke (BE60)
  • Cessna 310 (C310)
  • Cessna 421 (C421)
  • Piper Navajo (PA31)
  • Piper Seneca (PA34)
Corporate Jets:
  • Cessna Citation 500 or 550 (C500, C550)
  • Challenger (CL60)
  • Falcon 2000 (FA20)
  • Gulfstream V (GLF5)
  • Learjet (LJ35, LJ45)
  • Sabreliner (SBR1)
Military and Helicopters:
  • Bell UH-1 "Huey" Iroquis (UH1)
  • Boeing F-15 Eagle (F15)
  • Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon (F16)
  • Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker (H/C135)
  • McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender (H/DC10)
  • Coast Guard Sikorsky HH-60 Jayhawk (HH60)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

TSS Labs: Simulator Overview

There's a lot to write about the TSS labs, so I'm just going to break it into separate posts. In this one, I'm going to cover the physical side of it, i.e. what it looks like and how it works.

The academy has two different types of Tower simulators:
  • TSS: A full-size tower simulation system, there are four located in adjacent rooms at the Academy. Each system consists of 5 projection TV's that form a 180 degree view. Each room has a very spacious and complete console featuring strip bays, desk lights, runway light control panels, D-brite, a separate "binocular" computer monitor for the ground controller, and other displays and equipment. Due to its size, it really does make you a "swivel head" since you physically have to keep your head moving and scanning.

    One thing that's cool is that you can actually stand up in the TSS. Some of the rooms have a podium available so you can stand in front of the console and keep your pad handy, while still being able to see the D-Brite.
  • EDS: Physically smaller in terms of hardware and display, the EDS simulators run the same software as the TSS but are designed to be compact. All six stations are located in one room and use four LCD monitors per station. They are functional, but obviously not as immersive as the TSS. Both the EDS and the TSS run the same problems with the same aircraft, so both are valuable training tools.
Arrangement: For both types of labs, you will be plugged in with an instructor by your side, one each for Local and Ground. In the TSS, you will also have a ghost pilot in the room who will assist when the voice recognition goes awry (that's a whole 'nother post right there). In the EDS, you rely solely on the voice recognition, although some of the instructors know how to manipulate the computer system in case something goes wrong.

For the gamers out there, the graphics aren't that great. I'd say Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000. FS X blows it clean out of the water. Those of you who know me know that I design maps and models for games as a hobby. I could whip out one of those aircraft models in no time using Maya and Photoshop. They're very basic.

However, the models are more than adequate. 777's look like 777's, Cessnas look like Cessnas, etc. They do the job.

Audio: The computer's voice is very digitized and some specific words are more difficult than others to understand. One neat thing about it is that it superimposes an aircraft's engine sound behind the voice, so just by the sound of the engine you know more or less who's calling. The light singles will have that piston rumble, the corporate jets a high-pitched turbine whine, and the airliners usually have nothing.

Schedule: There are seven runs per day, with a 15 minute break in each run. Typically, you will work in the TSS for two of those runs, once on Local and the other on Ground. The rest of the runs will be on one of the EDS stations. In the course of a day, there's a strong possibility that you will be paired up with a classmate more than once. Who that is exactly changes on a day-to-day basis, so by the time you're done you've most likely worked alongside the majority of your classmates. In addition, sometimes you'll be paired up with a certain instructor for multiple sessions. That can be a blessing and a curse. More on that later.

Anyways, I'm tired right now. We just came off a week of night shifts and my body's resisting the whole "getting up at 5:15am" thing. More will be coming shortly.

Upcoming TSS posts:
  • Instructor roulette
  • Voice recognition and artificial intelligence (or complete lack thereof)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Comments Welcome!

I don't have a hit-counter on here, so the only way I can really track views (as far as I can see from spending a while hunting through the admin options) is by comments.

So... speak up, speak your mind, and ask questions! This blog is as much for you as it is for me, so let me know if there's anything you'd like to know or if there's anything that needs more explanation. And if there are any errors, feel free to point them out.

We're just starting our TSS/EDS simulator time here, and there's a lot to write about. I would like to get some photos to illustrate what I'm talking about, but haven't had a chance to snap some.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 22-23: IFR Labs

Friday and Monday we did our IFR lab session using the Tower3D system. This kind of threw us all out of whack for a bit, since it's a totally different type of operation than the VFR tower. It's different not in what you're doing (moving airplanes from point A to point B and keeping them separated) but how you're doing it.

There are certain rules that need to be followed:
  • In the IFR scenarios, you can't see anything at all out of the tower windows, so you have to visualize everything in your head. As a result, both Local and Ground rely heavily on position reports from the aircraft. You also need to know the airport layout like the back of your hand.
  • All aircraft are radar-separated, meaning you can use either minutes or miles to separate them. If you have a smaller aircraft taking off behind a heavy, for instance, you have to have either four or five miles or 2 minutes.
  • You can not position and hold an aircraft on the main arrival runway (28R in this instance, since it has the ILS). However, you can do it on 28L.
  • You need to protect for your missed approach course. Therefore, if you have an aircraft landing on 28R and you want to bang someone out on 28L, you have to give the aircraft on 28L a divergence of 30 degrees. So in this case, you'd give the 28L departure heading 250. This steers him clear of the missed approach course.
  • Aircraft characteristics play a huge role in these scenarios. There is no "maintain visual separation" obviously, so if you're going to bang out a Falcon jet 30 seconds after a lowly Cessna 172 takes off from the same runway, you'd better be sure to give him a divergence heading of 15-30 degrees. Otherwise, he'll fly right up the Cessna's tail and give him an aluminum backrub.
  • We also worked a couple VFR-on-top and Special VFR aircraft.
I actually had a lot of fun with this, especially on Ground. It reminded me of some kind of chess game, where you have to imagine everything in your mind and visualize what your aircraft/opponent is doing. All you need to work the aircraft are your imagination, your radio, and your strips. I even asked at one point if we could turn off the monitors (they were basically white anyway).

Ground Control Examples:

For the sake of example, let's say we've got a C172 that's at Spartan Aviation. We want to taxi him to Runway 28R, which is at the opposite end of the airport. We'll taxi him there via the main parallel taxiway, Bravo, and along the way he'll have to cross Runway 16.

^ The Cessna will taxi out to Bravo via Golf.
^ When he reports he's on Bravo, that's our cue to coordinate the Runway 16 crossing with Local.

Ok, we've got our permission to cross from Local:
^ He will cross Runway 16 and continue taxiing to Runway 28R.
^ Taxiway Echo parallels Runway 16 on the opposite/far side from where he's coming. Therefore, when he reports that he's across Echo, we know for a fact that he's also clear of Runway 16.
^ Also, when he reports that he's across Taxiway Echo, we know that the intersection of 28R and Echo is now clear. 28R/E is a major runway exit point for the larger twins, corporate jets, and smaller airliners, so it's important that we know it's clear in case we have any arrivals.

So we've got our Cessna plugging along on Bravo. Before he reaches the end of Runway 28R, he'll have to cross Taxiway Delta followed by Taxiway Charlie.
^ Once he reports that he's past Charlie, we know that both intersections 28R/C and 28R/D are clear for arriving traffic.
^ Once he's past Taxiway Charlie, the only thing in front of him is the intersection of Runway 28R and Taxiway Alpha, which is where he's going to takeoff. We can go ahead and switch him to Local at that point.

Local Control Examples:

^ He reports rolling, so you can start the 2-minute mandatory wake turbulence timer.
^ He reports airborne, so you can start the 3-minute mandatory intersection departure wake turbulence timer.

^ He reports touchdown, so that way you can taxi someone behind him across to 28L.

^ He will turn off the runway when he can and report that he is off the runway (so you can now use it for aircraft behind him)
^ He will report on which taxiway he is located.
^ This satisfies the 7110.65 requirement that the Local controller must advise the Ground controller of the aircraft's position when the runway is not visible from the tower. In this case, if the aircraft is off of 28R on Echo, you'd just write "28R/E" on the strip and slide it on over to Ground.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weekend 5: Rodeo Time!


A few of us went out to Citywalk again. I wasn't all that thrilled about it this time around. The more I think about it, the more I realize that these kinds of places are the reason I don't go to clubs much. Just too many fake people with too much attitude and too many beers in them. And, FFS, if you're a 250 pound girl getting busy with your girl friends on the dance floor, please avoid simulating doggy style in front of others while wearing spandex.

We mostly shot pool and hung out. Overall I had a good time, but I don't think I'll be heading back there again.


We'd heard about the infamous Club Rodeo from several other people in the class who'd been there. This is a place where:
  • There is a real-live bull riding ring, with live bull-riding every hour from 10pm to 1am. Yes, no joke. And no, it does not smell like manure.
  • You can ride the bull yourself if you like, as you long as you "bring your own chaps". No joke either.
  • People line-dance to anything - hip-hop, country, whatever. If it's music, it will be line-danced to.
Crazy? Sure. Good time? Hells yes! It's a great atmosphere, where everyone is very laid back, the dress code is "come as you are", and the music is banging. There were people in cowboy hats and boots, but most people were in regular street clothes. The place is pretty huge, with an upstairs and downstairs section, and of course the bull-riding ring towards the back of the club.

Here's a video I took during the first bull-riding session of the evening:

Some pics from the place:


A quiet day to recover from all of the craziness from the previous two days. Kelly came by, we went shooting (again, LOL), and afterwards we went to eat at On the Border. Man, I love that place. $10 buys you a huge meal, unlimited tortilla chips with salsa, and a soda - and you have enough to take home and have for dinner (which I did). Best deal in town. There's five of them around here within 25 miles, while back home they're few and far between.

When we got back, I introduced her to the Nintendo Wii. I could see she was really skeptical at first, but after a few matches in tennis, a good round of bowling (She beat me! Holy crap!), and some intense boxing she was really into it. I took it easy on her since she was just learning and it can be frustrating when you're trying something new out and keep getting your butt kicked. However, next time, the gloves come OFF! :)

Today's Note:

I miss Reggaeton. I would never have thought that I would say that, but man, recently I've been craving that good ol' Dem Bow beat. For those that don't know, Reggaeton is Latin American urban music. It melds a solid dancehall rhythm, Latin american instrumentation, and rapped "Spanglish" lyrics. It's very club friendly music with a lot of the songs being raw and dirty. It's absolutely ubiquitous in Miami, but it's absence here is shockingly conspicuous. So, after I got home from club Rodeo, I downloaded a bunch of reggaeton music from Daddy Yankee and Ivy Queen.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Week 4: Pictorial Extravaganza

I took a bunch of pictures this week around the academy this week, especially around the Tabletops for ol' time's sake.

I also shot some of the Tower3D sims, which are miniature versions of the full-scale TSS sims we'll be going into next week. Tower3D doesn't have voice recognition, so all aircraft are operated by ghost pilots who sit in the back of the room. While I prefer real people to computer voice recognition, the drawback to this is that some of the ghost pilots can get confused since they're handling so many planes. However, I overall felt that the Tower3D offers a more realistic experience, since the planes and vehicles move at a more realistic pace.

Anyways, on to the pics.

First up, two panoramas I shot. Click to view the (very very large) full-size images. Dial-up beware.

Panorama of a Table Top Lab:
Tower3D Setup:
To explain what you're seeing, the visible equipment and items consist of:
  • LLWAS (Low Level Wind Shear Alert) touch display, currently showing 0900 on the clock
  • D-Brite radar touch display
  • 4 monitors combined to create one single view
  • Note pad (under monitor 1)
  • Stack of blank VFR strips (below where monitor 2 and 3 meet)
  • Yellow Runway Crossing Memory Aid - the famous "Idiot Stick" that Ground uses to coordinate runway crossings with Local
  • Duplicate LLWAS touch display for Ground (currently showing time 0900 and wind 240 @ 15)
And now some normal photos (also click to view full-size):

Tabletops in action:

Just to give you a little breakdown, the two identical TT labs are setup as follows:
  • 1 student and 1 instructor working Floor Ground (the two guys sitting).
  • 3-4 students plus 1-2 instructors working Floor Local (everyone standing on the floor)
  • 3 students plus 3 instructors in the tower cab (Local, Ground, and Flight Data)
  • 1 ghost pilot who reads clearances for Flight Data (not visible - they sit at a desk directly behind the photo's viewpoint)
  • 1 Lead or Assistant-Lead Instructor who watches over everything from the raised desk at the far wall (below the three white posters)
Tower3D Overview:
Joanna and Crystal, 2/3rd's of the "A-Team":

The other 1/3rd, thinking about what he's going to do next.

As our instructor says: "Don't think. It hurts the team." :)

My Ground OJT Evaluation form:

I can't win. Yesterday, I did really well on Ground but the guy told me to slow down and relax (I was a bit hyper). Today, I do that... and get told to "act quicker". LOL.

Lastly, I got bored at the end of my very last Flight Data run of my time here. All of my clearances were amended, read, and dispersed. Figuring that I would never get another shot at it, I asked the instructor if I could try something.

Well, here's the result. See if you can figure it out, LOL.

Day 21: Tabletops Be Gone!

We finished up Tabletops today!

Over the past seven days of it, we've done six runs (with two variants of each run) for a total of 12 different problems. They start off pretty easy, but by problems 6a and 6b you're moving some pretty good metal. Lots of wake turbulence, military departures, LLWAS calls, runway 34 departures and arrivals, helos, etc.

For the last run (problems 6a and 6b) you're evaluated using an OJT (On-the-Job-Training) form like you would be at your facility. It really ups the ante and lights a fire under your butt to do well. The form is more or less a checklist of sorts, and also features an area with the comments.

I gotta say that I rocked on these last two Ground and Local runs. Ground just keeps getting better and better. For Local, my low point was yesterday, and today was my highest high so far. It was great. Traffic calls, wake turb, etc. Cool stuff. I kept ahead of the traffic for the most part, though I'm still having a little trouble remembering to clear the TnG's early enough.

Day 19-20: Almost Done With Tabletops

Getting close to the end. Today was the second-to-last day of Tabletops. Tomorrow can't come soon enough.

For problem 5, I got double-teamed by these two old codgers for instructors. Usually, you get one instructor with you, but today I got a bonus one listening in on me. Both were apparently having an extremely bad day because they let me have it. To be perfectly honest, this was my worst run of all of them. I didn't keep up enough with the traffic, made some dumb mistakes, and lost sight of who was who at some points. However, most of the instructors are pretty easy going. They will tell you "Listen, here's where you screwed up and you really need to work on A, B, and C. At the same, you're doing really well on X, Y and Z." They're usually constructive and firm, kind of like a parent - I guess they want to build you up rather than break you down. Regardless, I always tell my instructors to do what they have to do and say what they have to say - I can take it.

However, these two gave me a real talking-to the likes of which I've never experienced. I've never served in an armed force, but I think at this point I can relate to what a private feels like when he's "dressed-down" by a drill sergeant. It got so bad that at one point my regular instructor, who was overhearing the "debriefing" from across the room, had to step over and stop them.

I screwed up. There's no doubt about that. I made a couple of stupid mistakes which caused a chain reaction that had me stressed and frantic, trying to put the pieces together. However, I do not feel I deserved the talking-to I got. I've heard stories of students quitting on the spot because of these kinds of talk-downs. I now believe them. I'm pretty confident in my abilities to do this job, and after that 10 minute dressing down I can see how that door would look pretty inviting. Thankfully, instructors like them are the exception, not the rule.

Here's where I screwed myself up:
  • Ground sent me a FedEx 727... and he didn't catch that the bloody thing had an EDCT time (Expect Departure Clearance Time). So I've got this 727 who can't go anywhere for another 5 minutes, but he's blocking the entrance to runway 28R. So.... in an effort to get him out of the way, I taxied him over to Runway 28L. No big deal.

    However, by the time the clock closes in on his EDCT time, I had two touch and goes in the pattern, plus another aircraft. TnG's count as intersection departures, so when the large takes off you need to have 3 minutes between when the large/heavy goes wheels up and when the TnG crosses the threshold

    So, by putting this 727 on the left (instead of taxiing him on the runway, turning him right at Charlie, and putting him back on ground) I created a problem for myself because I now had to extend everybody who was in the pattern to create that 3 minutes.

  • The BIG one: I had a Bonanza waiting to depart from Runway 28R at taxiway Charlie. A large/heavy had just taken off, so he needs the 3 minute delay since he's taking off from an intersection. So, trying to get my traffic out without any undue delay, using taxiway Charlie I cross him on over to Runway 28L.

    I have two Touch and Goes in the pattern. One of them is already on base, another is coming up on the midfield. However, the Bonanza's a small and he's got plenty of time if he moves quickly. I went ahead and cleared him for takeoff.

    However, I said:


    ...instead of...


    I have this image burned in my mind of the instructor who was handling the departures reading back "Runway two-eight left, cleared for takeoff" and then taxiing the freaking Bonanza towards the departure end of the runway. There is a reason for this: the TSS computer simulator, if you don't give it the intersection it is taking off from, will taxi the aircraft to the runway threshold and start from there. This is why you say "...Runway Two-Eight Right at Charlie" or whatever intersection.

    However, what pissed me the hell off was that in 6 days of tabletops and dozens of times where I'd heard other students make that mistake and not give the intersection, this was the first time I'd actually seen the instructor do it. I had to send the TnG Cherokee around, I had to send to send the TnG Baron around, and I had to cancel the takeoff clearance for the Bonanza. It totally screwed my pattern because I also had some arrivals coming in that were entering the pattern from the south, and now I had spacing issues.

    I just hate the inconsistency, which is to be expected when you're working with 30 different instructors from 30 different backgrounds. On the very next run, I was working on the floor and the guy working local made the same exact mistake. So, I'm here, holding this airplane at 28L at Charlie, and I ask the floor instructor (a different guy than before) if I should taxi him to the runway end and then take him off. The instructor says "Oh, don't worry about it. Just take him off from the intersection." Gee, it would have been nice to have you on the floor last run...

    Let's just say I won't be missing any more intersection departure calls...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tribal Beats

I was bored tonight, so I recorded a short 8 bar loop using the new percussion instruments I've bought since I've been up here. I've never recorded live drums before, so it was cool to get a little experience in that. Also, it's nearly midnight here, so I really can't pound on them as much as I'd like.

Here's the recording I made tonight. The original one was about 15 seconds long, so I just looped it four times inside this MP3 file:

Click to listen to the Tribal Music MP3 file

Below are the instruments that I've bought while I've been up here, from left to right:

Darbuka: A Middle Eastern drum that's got good range and is very portable and light. I picked this little aluminum one up at the local Guitar Center for $25.00. It's been a lot of fun and great for relaxing. It's got a nice "pop" to it that allows it to cut well through the mix. I would eventually like to get a Doumbek (a larger variant of this type of drum) but that'll be some time from now.

Buckskin Drum with Beater: I picked this up at the Red Earth Festival from a Taos Pueblo drum maker. I was not intending to buy another drum, mainly because I would have to find a way to transport it home. But once I heard this one, I had to have it. It's got such a beautiful warm tone, and due to its irregular shape you can get a lot of different tones out of it depending on where you strike it.

The guy who makes and sells these is amazing. All of his drums are created straight from the trunk of a tree, so each is unique in its shape and sound. The actual drum surface is buckskin, which is carefully attached to both sides and tied using an intricate series of knots. He had a photo album showing how the hides are prepared and how the drum itself is assembled. Very impressive stuff. He had several people coming up to him and telling him how they'd bought one of his drums 10 or 20 years ago and were still playing it.

He had a drum there that was literally 6 or 7 feet wide. Someone tried it out while I was there and it sounded like thunder rolling in across the plain. So very cool.

Shaker: A small handmade shaker which I picked up for $10 from the same guy who made the drum I purchased. It's wood and (what appears to be) sewn buckskin. I have no idea what it's filled with, but it sounds very nice and organic. (It'd make a great baby rattle too, LOL)

5-Hole Flute: The flute was also bought at the Red Earth Festival, this one from a Cherokee vendor. It's in the pentatonic scale, but it doesn't relate to any standard music "key". These kinds of flutes are traditionally called "love flutes" because they were originally used by Native American men to court women. It's a very simple flute, but I want to get a bit better at it before I even think of recording with it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pad Management 101

With all the modern technology available to air traffic controllers, it often surprises people that one of the most powerful tools at their disposal is a simple notepad and a simple pen. A good controller can lose his radar, his traffic management tools, and just about everything else that's plugged in and still work traffic so long as he's got:
  • His eyeballs
  • His memory
  • A working radio
  • A pen and notepad
The purpose of this notepad is to keep track of essential information regarding your traffic. Every controller has a different system for doing it, and there is simply no wrong way or right way to do it. However, some ways are definitely better than others. As you progress through the training and get broken in on the labs, you'll start to realize what the better methods are.

For instance, let's say Cessna 889PT calls in 7nm south with information Juliet, requesting full stop. I reply and tell him to enter left base, Runway 28L. He enters the pattern, and I clear him to land. Afterwards, he turns off and I switch him to ground.

When I first started, I was writing something like:

C172 | 889PT | 28L | J | 7S √

Makes sense, right? He's an arriving (↓) Cessna 172, call sign 889PT, he's going into Runway 28L, he's called in ATIS Juliet, he's 7 miles south, and he's been cleared to land (√). All important information, right?

WRONG. That's a ton of extraneous information and a ton of writing. Your eyes need to be outside the windows, not inside staring at paper. The more you're scribbling, the less you're controlling.

The system I'm using now was given to me by an instructor on Friday morning. We were talking in the Tower3D lab and I mentioned that I was trying to nail a process down, and he went ahead and passed on his "tribal knowledge" that had been taught to him by a controller 30 years ago.

The principle is this: You divide your pad up into two columns, one for the runway closest to you, and one for the runway furthest to you. You then list the aircraft under whichever runway you've assigned them to. What you write on the pad is minimalist. You do not use the pad to sequence, you do not use it to control. It is just there as a reminder for critical information that you need.

So here, let's break down our runways and replay the scenario:



That's it! Three digits/letters in the correct column is all you need. Everything else is irrelevant, or can easily be drawn from memory.
  • You don't need any arrival ↓ marker since it's obvious by the fact that A) you should remember talking to him and B) any departures would have their own strip handed to you by the Ground controller.
  • You don't need his ATIS code; you just need to confirm he has it on initial call up.
  • You've told him to enter the pattern for 28L, so you don't need his location since you'll know where he'll be coming in.
  • You don't need the first two letters of his name, unless there's another aircraft in the pattern with a similar call sign.
  • As for his aircraft type, you don't need to put it down so long as you can remember it as "CESSNA 9PT" or "CITATION 2BZ" However, if you get busy or need something to jog your memory, you can always use an abbreviation for it, such as "72 9PT" (with "72" being short for "C172"). Other examples include:
    • 28 = P28A = Piper Cherokee
    • 35 or BZ = BE35 = Beech Bonanza
    • 77 = C177 = Cessna Cardinal
    • 31 = C310 = Twin Cessna 310
    • 58 = BE58 = Beechcraft Baron
    • 60 = BE60 = Beechcraft Duke
    • KA = BE90 or BE20 = King Air or Super King Air
    • BJ = Beechjet
Ok, so this system works great for the two parallels and for "full stop" aircraft. But what about Runway 34? What about after they've landed? What about Touch and Goes? Well, let's tackle those.

Runway 34/16: If an aircraft calls in and we put him straight in to 34 or 16, we need to think about where the first conflict lies. For instance, if you clear a guy into 34, the first intersecting runway he'll hit will be Runway 28L. If we put him into 16, it'll be Runway 28R. That dictates under which of the two columns he'll go.

So, let's say we have another aircraft (Cherokee 288PM) arriving from the south and he requests 34. We do this:


72 9PT

28 8PM (34)

We put him down just like 9PT, but now we add 34 to the right and circle it. Now we know that he's coming in to 34, and we need to make sure that 28L is clear first, followed by 28R. As you can see, it's still minimalist. Pure, essential information, placed in the right spot.

Ok, so 9Pt touches down and turns off the runway. 8PM follows right after, coming in on 34. You switch both aircraft to Ground. How do you indicate that they've successfully landed and are now on Ground frequency?


72 9PT

28 8PM (34)

Just line them out! They're done, bam, gone, out of your hair. You can effectively forget about them once you push them over Ground.

But then, Cessna 424KB calls 7 miles east, inbound for 3 touch and goes and a full stop. You clear him to touch and go, using 28L as well. How do we format this?


72 9PT

28 8PM (34)

( 72 4KB )

  • You circle 4KB's callsign, indicating that he's doing touch and goes (you know, running laps around your runway). That way you can look at your pad and instantly tell who your T&G-ers are.
  • He indicated that he wants 3 touch and goes. What you're going to do is, as you clear him for each T&G, you're going to draw a "\" slash below his callsign. Once he touches down, powers up, and lifts off again, you'll draw a "/" over that slash to make it an "X". This indicates that the loop has been closed and that you'll need to clear him for his next T&G.
So, let's say he's already done one touch and go, and you've cleared him for his second. Your pad should look like:


72 9PT

28 8PM (34)

( 72 4KB )
X /

So, good ol' Cessna 4KB is done for today and wants to land. You clear him to land, he touches down, you switch him to Ground, and you're done with him. At that point, your pad should look like:


72 9PT

28 8PM (34)

( 72 4KB )

All aircraft have been landed and cleared from your frequency.

And that's it for today! As you can see, it's important to use symbols and shortcuts to keep things clean and organized. However, the most powerful tool of all is simply your own brain and your short term memory.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend 4: Shooting and Studying

First off, I'm sorry for not posting a lot about the tabletops. I will get to it this weekend. There's just been a lot to absorb and it's been a rollercoaster ride.


Kelly and I went shooting again today. Stress relief! I really feel my accuracy is improving. Hell, the first shot of the day was a bullseye! (It all went downhill after that, LOL...)

I got to shoot Kelly's .45 caliber Springfield 1911 too. Man, that thing is comfortable. It's a round twice as big as the Makarov's, but the recoil felt half as much. I guess that's what you get when you compare a $165 military sidearm (my Mak) against a $700+ piece of mechanical art.

Me shooting my Makarov:

Kelly laying waste to her target:

"Eyes and ears" are so stylish...


We've got the CTO test (Control Tower Operator Certification Exam) coming up Thursday, so it's time to hit the books. Joanna and Kelly came over today for a while. Matt O. was supposed to show but never did.

The CTO exam study guide is pretty intense. It covers a lot of things that we never explicitly covered in the academic portion of our training. In fact, a lot of it comes out of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) and the Airmen's Information Manual (AIM) used by pilots. As a pilot, some of it was review, but for someone who's never taken the FAA written exam I would highly recommend cracking open FAR's or taking a look at the AIM. If you've had at least the private ground school, you should have a leg up on things.

Common things that are covered in there include:
  • Emergencies and bomb threats
  • Air space restrictions and types
  • Instrument procedures and approaches
  • Loss of radio contact
  • Administrative stuff like facility ratings and eligibility
  • Aircraft categories
  • Wake turbulence
After Joanna showed up, we moved back inside and did a bunch of runs on the paper airport. We had a good time with it, getting our phraseology down and coming across unanswered questions to bring up with our instructors. It was a lot of fun, since we were more or less goofing around with it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Days 15 - 18: Tabletop Madness

I can't think of any way to describe the Tabletop experience other than a roller coaster ride.

The ascent: The academics are your foundation, showing you what the tools are. You know the labs are coming, so you try to absorb as much as possible. The days to the labs countdown and you're eager to get going, while still apprehensive about putting all of this information into action.

The big drop: The track drops away from your feet and you feel yourself falling helplessly. Your first day or so in tabletops will be the hardest. You will feel like you're being shotgunned with all kinds of feedback from the many different instructors. You will be told to do things 18 different ways by 18 different people, and some will tell you in a nice way, and others will irritate the hell out of you.

...and now back up: Whee! We're in a loop now, and we're feeling the wind on our face. The fear is gone and now we're enjoying the ride. Things are clicking now. You're making your wake turbulence calls. You're issuing traffic. You've had a one or two go-arounds and one or two "cancel takeoff clearance!" moments, but so far you're feeling good.

That's where I'm at now. The first few days were rough. However, on my last two tabletop runs I feel like I nailed it. I had two of the strictest, cockiest instructors on each of those runs, and they were pleased with my performance.

Several things continue to be a little bothersome, like wake turbulence advisories (not the actual 2 minute wait, but the advisories for landing aircraft of any wake turbulence issues) as well as the "Idiot Stick". I've gotten much better with the latter, but sometimes I get busy and forget to get or give that stick back so the runway's operational again.

For those who haven't gotten to the academy or who are still in Academics, here are some observations I've made about what to do/not do:
  • DO SOMETHING: If you see a situation developing, act! Tell someone to go around, extend downwind, etc. Take action and take control. You're in training to be a controller, not a spectator. The lab instructors hate it when you just sit there and watch things come apart. Analyze, decide, and ACT.

  • Justify Your Actions: Be able to explain everything you say and do. Your instructor's not exactly going to be thrilled if you told an airplane to do something "because you felt like it" (even if that's truly the case).

  • Plan Ahead: Don't just focus on what you have in your jurisdiction now. Try and get the picture of what's coming. If you're Local, keep an ear out for what Ground is doing and how many strips they're working with. A lot of those are coming your way. If you're Ground, keep an eye on how many airplanes are in the pattern, what type they are, and what runway they're going to.

    For instance, if you're on Ground and you see that Local's got got a Delta 757 who just called over the Final Approach Fix, a Cessna 172 landing on Runway 34, and a Bonanza who was doing touch and goes that just called for a full-stop, that's three airplanes you're going to be talking to very shortly. Try and get Local (if they're not too busy) to talk with them and see where they're parking. Just from the aircraft types, you've got at least one figured out: the Delta's going to the terminal. The other two will be going to either Falcon / Spartan FBO's or to the Main Ramp, so keep in mind if they're going to the main ramp you'll have to coordinate a crossing. If they're going to the FBO's, then life's easy - "TAXI TO SPARTAN AVIATION VIA GOLF" or "TAXI TO SPARTAN AVIATION VIA HOTEL". Bang, done.

    In other words, think ahead and keep your options open.

  • Be Patient: Not only with yourself, but with your classmates. If you're trying to get an airplane off the runway at Taxiway Delta, and your ground controller puts someone nose-to-nose with them for an intersection departure, don't get mad. You're both learning.

    Use it as as lesson for:
    1. Resolving a situation quickly and effectively.
    2. Learning how to better coordinate. For instance, after that, you can tell your ground "If there are anymore intersection departures, put them out through Charlie so they don't nose-to-nose."

  • Learn to Bite Your Tongue: Some of the instructors are very nice and very positive. I look forward to working with them. Others... they want you to do things their way, say things their way, and ONLY their way - no matter what anyone has told you. Just humor them.

  • Pad Management: The sooner you learn to manage your notepad, the better. I assure you that you will get 15 different ways of managing your pad. Find one that works for you, and keep it as simple as possible. I'll write more on this later.

  • Make Idle Chatter: I don't mean tell your life story and distract yourself from the traffic. However, chatting with your instructor during a lull in the traffic can help you relax and clear your head.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 14: Warm Up

Today's Lessons:
  • Block Test #5
  • Comprehensive PV Written Exam
  • Tabletop Orientation
Today we finished the last tiny bit of the academics. Block Test #5 was as standard as the others - no surprises there. The Comprehensive PV, however, was 100 questions long and covered everything we've learned from Day One. I did well with an 88 on it. The highest score I heard was a 91, and there were a few that were lower, down into the 70's. It's a lot of material, and a lot of the questions dealt with stuff that is not operational in nature (i.e. stuff that just needs to be memorized rather than material that can be "worked out" via common sense).

Then, we moved on to tabletop orientation. It was a rough start, but we worked through some problems and got a feel for how best to flow with it. We did get our scheduling, so we can see how much time we're going to be getting on each position.

Here's basically how the scheduling works: There are two tabletop labs, Room 124 and Room 163. We also have two stations of Tower3D setup in our classroom. Every day there are 7 "runs" - a.k.a. run-throughs of individual problems, which usually last around 40 minutes. For each run, you are assigned one of the following positions:

FD = Flight Data (Both Tabletop and Tower3D)
GC = Ground Control (Both Tabletop and Tower3D)
LC = Local Control (Both Tabletop and Tower3D)
FLC = Floor Local Control (Tabletop only. You hold the little planes up around the table and make airplaney sounds.)
FGC = Floor Ground Control (Tabletop only. You taxi the little planes on the surface of the table and also make airplaney sounds.)

There is a number preceding each position that lets you know what room or station you will be working in. An example of a daily schedule of 7 runs:
124GC | 124FLC | 163FLC | 2FD | 124FGC | 1LC | 163FLC

If the preceding number is 124 or 163, you're in one of the aforementioned tabletop labs. If it's a single digit, you work that position at a specific station in the Tower3D lab. It's pretty straightforward, and they try to make it so that everyone gets an equal amount of chances. Nonetheless, you should contrast and compare with others to make sure that everyone's on the same page.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekend 3: Saturday and Sunday

Saturday: Native American Festival

I'd been looking forward to this for a while. I'm very much into exploring and learning about different cultures and their different aspects - music, art, food, etc. This was a pretty unique experience, I must say. It wasn't very organized, but it was interesting nonetheless, seeing and hearing bits of the Native American culture.

Here's the video I cut from it:

Sunday: Nothing much.

Quiet day at home. Studied for the tests tomorrow, both the Written PV and the Block V test.

Weekend 3: Friday

Man, I had a pretty active weekend this time around.

Friday Night: Burger Time

A bunch of us had made plans to hit the Oklahoma Redhawks Minor League baseball game tonight. Kind of a class deal. I really felt like getting out of the house and checking out something new and different, so this hit the spot. Plus, at $6 a ticket, you can't beat the price! The weather was pretty crap, so only 7 of us made it out there: Me, Blake, Emily, Matt, Stacy, Joe, and Raul.

While we were standing around by our seats, waiting for the game to start, this guy comes up to us and asks for four volunteers to be part of the inter-inning entertainment. Turns out he wants us for a McDonalds "Build a Burger" contest. Basically, you split into two teams of two, put on hamburger bun suits, one person lays down on either 1st base or 3rd base, and the other person proceeds to pile a bunch of foam "ingredients" on them. Emily and Stacy said yes pretty quickly. I said "screw it" and signed up, and was then joined by Matt, making it a 2 vs. 2 girls vs. guys thing.

At the middle of the 3rd inning, we met the guy up by the concession stand and he led us down into the bowels of the stadium. We ended up just inside the Redhawks' dugout, which was pretty cool. The guy proceeds to give us the "strategy" for this ridiculousness. Matt and I concur that, since he's tall as hell and can run fast, he'll be the "runner" and I'll be the one who goes out and lays out on the plate.

Attack of the Burger People:
So, we all put on our bun suits, don our "mentally challenged" crash helmets, and head out on to the field. Emily and Stacy head out to 3rd Base while Matt and I rush over to the 1st Base. We put on our bun suits with a quickness, and just as we finished putting them on, we hear the announcer going "Go!!!!". Matt and I look at each other, look at Emily and Stacy (who are hauling ass to 3rd base), and we bolt to the 1st base. I flop down, Matt piles all the ingredients on, and swan dives on top. Freaking ridiculous. It couldn't have taken more than 10 seconds.

Blake shot a funny-as-hell video of it from the stands, which I posted on YouTube:

After that stupidity, we stayed at the game for maybe a 1/2 hour more and then headed out to this club called Citywalk. I got over the "club thing" years ago (I spent a good part of my formative years on South Beach, either going to clubs or playing at them in various bands) but this place was pretty cool. It had a lot of different rooms, playing a lot of different kinds of music. And for those who aim to get hammered, they had nickel beers in the bottle, with the first one free after you pay the $10 cover.

We had a hankering to play some pool and the tables upstairs were taken, so we moved into the piano bar downstairs. It had one empty table, so we racked up and started shooting away. And man, do I need practice. The good thing was that, well, most of us sucked. The only one who knew what he was doing was Joe. All I can say is that I hope we can all vector airplanes to their destinations better than we can smack billiard balls into pockets.

Joe the Pro:
Definitely a cool night. It was good to hang out with some different people and do things out of my regular comfort zone (and if dressing up as a hamburger in front of thousands of people is in your comfort zone, please seek help...).

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Day 13: Headsets!

Today's Lessons:
  • Visual Operations
  • IFR Arrivals and Departures
  • Tabletop Orientation
We finally finished academics today. Everyone is relieved and eager to get going in the labs.

As a bonus, we also received our headsets. I'm definitely starting to feel that "controller vibe" now. I've seen all of the previous classes walking around with their headsets slung around their necks. Now it's our turn.

The last two academic lessons were pretty straightforward. IFR Arrivals and Departures covered both radar and non-radar techniques for arrivals and departures. There's a lot of "busywork" involved with the IFR's, including getting a release prior to takeoff and delivering rolling reports for each departure. Also, in a radar environment with successive departures, you need to fire them off with at least 15 degrees of divergence to provide separation. For the nonradar portion, it's good to brush up on the 1 minute / 2 minute / 3 mile rules that govern how you space your departures out.

Visual Operations focused on using visual techniques in an IFR environment. Visual approaches, visual separation, contact approaches, special VFR, VFR-on-top, etc. Each has their own specific requirements as far as weather goes, and all still need to take into account aircraft performance, route of flight and wake turbulence.

Visual Separation is kind of an inside joke with controllers it seems, and a very powerful tool at the same time. By telling an IFR aircraft about another aircraft and telling him to "MAINTAIN VISUAL SEPARATION" you're taking the separation duties largely out of your hands and putting it in the hands of the pilot. He can fly circles around the other aircraft, and it's not really your problem. When your Conflict Alert's screaming bloody murder and your supervisor walks over with a "WTF is going on?" look on his face, you can just throw up your hands and say "I had visual!"

Today's Note: Someone made a comment that the headsets they gave us are a little cheap-feeling. They're not as far as I'm concerned - they're very lightweight and unobtrusive. I looked the model up on the Plantronics site. This is the one I (and most of the other people in the class) selected: As you can see, it's over $130.00. They also offered us an over-the-ear one but I thought this might be more comfortable over long periods. Also, I think the in-ear design makes for better clarity.

Day 12: Home Stretch!

Today's Lessons
  • VFR Depatures (Continued)
  • Runway Incursions
There's an energy in the classroom now. We're getting close to the end of academics, and people are anxious to be done with the "book learnin'" stuff. I know I am.

There's been a lot of information shotgunned at us over the past couple weeks. It's really concentrated, and we really do need the breaks every 45 minutes to an hour so we can stand up and clear our heads. After a while, it becomes hard to stay awake and keep absorbing. I estimate that, for the 8.5 hours we're there every day, around 2-3 hours of that is spent on break or lunch. At first I thought it was excessive (yeah, yeah - how can someone have too many breaks?) but as the days wore on it got tougher to keep sharp and fresh.

Day 11: Feeling Positive

Today's Lessons
  • Block Test IV
  • VFR Arrivals
  • VFR Departures
If there's one way to sum up today's lessons, it would be "positive control".

Here's an example: Cessna 172PT calls in from the Spartan Aviation FBO. Now, you could tell him "CESSNA 172PT, TAXI TO RUNWAY 28R" and just leave it at that. However, that opens up a can of worms, since he could get to 28R from a million different directions. He could go via taxiways Golf-Bravo-Alpha... or Hotel-Juliet-India-Charlie-Bravo-Alpha... or.... you get the idea. And when you've got landing traffic or traffic coming out of the terminal, there's a very good possibility you could wind up nose-to-nose. On top of that, that clearance was a straight "taxi to runway XX" clearance, meaning he can cross anything along the way - including active runway 16. Big no-no.

Instead, use positive control. You're the controller. You are in control. So, you know...control!

It's a longer transmission, but it leaves no question for either you or the pilot as to where that aircraft should be going. He's going to head via Golf, turn left at Bravo, and hold short of Runway 16. Once he gets clearance to cross, he will proceed to Charlie, turn right, and hold short of Runway 28R for an intersection takeoff. It leaves out any mystery, and allows you to plan ahead.

Practical Exercises

We did some scenarios today on the board, which allowed us to explore different options for getting traffic in and out of our airport.

I think one of the strongest things you can develop is a sense of timing based on aircraft speed and performance. To be successful in this job, you need to have a good understanding of what each airplane's performance envelope is and what kind of speed they will be flying at during different phases of flight. This will help you anticipate more and gauge how much time you have to get an airplane in or out.

Here's an example:
You've got: 1) A Baron holding short of 28L who just called ready for takeoff, 2) a Cherokee N8PM abeam the numbers on downwind for 28L, and 3) another Cherokee N8DS that just called in 6 miles east, inbound straight-in for 28L as well.

Ok, for starters, both Cherokees are slow-movers. The one on downwind is probably making around 80-90 knots, and the one 6 miles out is probably at 90-100 knots. Let's round them to 90, which gives us a distance-per-minute of 1.5NM. The Baron, as a twin, is signifigantly faster.

At 1.5NM per minute and 6 miles away, Cherokee N8DS will take 4 minutes to reach the airport, so he's barely even a factor unless we really screw something up. So we back-burner him for now and turn our attention back to Cherokee N8PM on downwind and our twin-engine friend, the Baron. Cherokee 8PM has to fly 1 mile past the runway threshold to intersect the base leg. Then he has the base leg itself, which is another mile. Then the final leg - 3 miles total. That gives us 2 minutes.

Armed with those 2 minutes, we go "BARON 123, ACADEMY TOWER, TRAFFIC CHEROKEE ON DOWNWIND, RUNWAY 28L, CLEARED FOR TAKE OFF." Out the gate goes the Baron - he's wheels up and gone. Since we're oh-so-confident in how many minutes we have, before the Baron even begins rolling we can call N8PM: "CHEROKEE 8PM, ACADEMY TOWER, TRAFFIC, DEPARTING BARON RUNWAY 28L, RUNWAY 28L, CLEARED TO LAND."

At the point when 8PM is turning final, 8DS should be at least 2 minutes behind him. At this point, you can go ahead and clear him to land. "CHEROKEE 8DS, ACADEMY TOWER, NUMBER TWO BEHIND CHEROKEE ON FINAL FOR RUNWAY 28L, RUNWAY 28L, CLEARED TO LAND."

Voila! Problem solved. When 8PM comes in over the threshold, he'll have a whole 3 miles between him and the Cherokee behind him. This meets the 3000 foot Cat I separation 6-fold. And, we didn't have to delay the Baron at all.