Wednesday, June 27, 2007

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)

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