Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Expect nothing...

...That way you'll be ready for anything."
- Takeshi Kovacs, Broken Angels by Richard Morgan

This a short tie-in with my last post, Learning on the Run.

A couple of weeks ago on a quiet IFR morning, my instructor was working the main Pensacola Regional airport sector, with all but 1 of the other sectors combined into it. All-told, it was about 3/4 of our entire facility's airspace. Whiting NAS, the scope bank all of my training had been on, wasn't open yet, so my instructor asked if I wanted to monitor while he worked. I said "sure", went out to grab my headset, came back in, and my instructor says "Okay, you're working the traffic."

So, there I was, working an airport I'd only studied, using approaches I'd never cleared anyone for before, giving vectors that I'd never used, and working real honest-to-God airliners loaded with lots of people on board. Obviously my instructor was plugged in with me and coaching me along, but it felt very strange at first. After a while I got a much better feel for the differences in speed and flow.

Here's a segment of the recording from that morning, off of

A couple notes:
  • If you're familiar with LiveATC, you know that a lot of their audio sources cycle between different frequencies at a facility. The feed for us cycles between our main Pensacola Regional airport sector, our Pensacola NAS sector, and the Pensacola Regional tower. I cut out the transmissions from the other sectors. That's why you'll never hear me clear some of the aircraft to land, as the feed had cycled to the other frequencies while I did that.
  • I trimmed all of the dead air out of it (if you like to listening silence, well, sorry).
  • The original recording takes place over about 30 minutes. We don't have that much traffic at that time of the morning, but because I cut out the dead air and the time spent on other frequencies it sounds a lot busier than it was.
The aircraft, in order of appearance:
  • Coast Guard Auxilliary
  • EGF855: American Eagle regional jet (probably an ERJ145 or CRJ200)
  • Citation 78CK: Cessna C550 corporate jet
  • Buck 312: Navy T-6 Texan II trainer
  • ASQ769 (pronounced "Acey"): Atlantic Southeast Airlines CRJ200
  • GFT9151: Gulfstream International Beech 1900
  • Flight Express 101: Cessna 210
  • Cirrus 38BK: Cirrus SR22


Joseph said...

that's great, thanks for putting that up for us to hear!

geez, you sound like a real controller on there, heh

Brian said...

Congrats Mark! I was going to ask you if the Pensacola scanner on covered your area. Sounding very professional, and its good to hear your voice on there.


Wicked Penguin said...

Thanks Brian. I do think I've got a bit of William Shatner going on in that sessio as far as my voice speed goes, LOL.

"Acey. One. Six. Three. DescendAndMaintainFourThousand!" :)

bbarto said...

Just found your blog from a reference on "The Main Bang" blog. I appreciated your comments and discussion of your ATC training. I'm not in ATC myself but have worked on FAA projects for the last 20 years.

Your writing is good and it was refreshing to find a blog with decent grammar and lack of spelling errors! Keep it up!

BEB said...

You sound good. I knew you'd turn out to be pretty solid! Only thing I'd say is that I think your speech rate is a bit too fast, with not enough clarity.

Then again, the approach world is a bit different than centers, and I didn't hear anyone missing any transmissions you made... so just take it as food for thought.