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Thread: ATC for Oshosh

  1. #1

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    ATC for Oshosh

    I have been flying into Oshkosh, as well as Fon du Lac and flying some of the shows for years. One good thing, almost without exception has been the controllers. First of all they actually sound like they may be having a good day or at least expect to. And that they even, hard as it is to believe, seem to actually like airplanes and even pilots, and that's not the case at many other airports.

    The way they give instructions is calm, but if necessary insistent, and sometimes it has to be that way with the large number of planes coming into Oshkosh and the multiple types with often different needs and different pilot abilities. At so many other airports they speak so fast the you don't always catch the meaning, or they become nervous and confrontational. I was listening to a lady at Fisk who wanted a canard type to do a 360 for spacing and repeated it twice and still calm, said "do it right now, give me a right 360 for spacing." They are mostly the same way at the runway when it can be intense when one plane is landing long, the next on the green dot.

    I wonder if they do a lot of extra training just for Airventure?

  2. #2
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Don't know, but the procedures are pretty well established after several decades. Unlike your normal tower, each runway at Oshkosh gets three controllers for arrivals. Two are spotters (typically with binocs) and one is the talker. For departures at most times, there are controllers on the ground near the runway ends. Of course, ground movements are handled by volunteers. But yes, they are good at handling the idiots (better than I would be).

    I remember this exchange:

    BO: Bonanza 123 on 4 mile final for 36.
    TWR: Bonanzas, you're where?
    BO: Three mile final.
    TWR: Are you familiar with the NOTAM and the RIPON/FISK procedure?
    BO: No, what's that.
    TWR: (Sigh). OK, just continue in. Cleared to land 36L (I guess he figures it's easier to just get him on the ground than to have him try to guess his way through Ripon)
    BO: Which one is that.
    TWR: It's the big one with the numbers on the ends and the dotted line down the middle.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    BO: No, what's that.
    TWR: (Sigh). OK, just continue in. Cleared to land 36L (I guess he figures it's easier to just get him on the ground than to have him try to guess his way through Ripon)
    BO: Which one is that.
    TWR: It's the big one with the numbers on the ends and the dotted line down the middle.
    I know this would be difficult to manage, both from a PR perspective and from an administrative perspective, but I really wish they'd start handing out a certain special phone number to people who very clearly did not read the NOTAM, or otherwise decide that they are too important to follow well-established procedures, or otherwise demonstrate that they shouldn't be in control of an aircraft. Maybe that doesn't result in any actual punitive action, perhaps a mandatory training session or something. It dumbfounds me that people fly like this.

    Here's hoping that guy busts a TFR or something. Maybe teach him a lesson on actually preparing for a flight.

  4. #4
    Low Pass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Don't know, but the procedures are pretty well established after several decades. Unlike your normal tower, each runway at Oshkosh gets three controllers for arrivals. Two are spotters (typically with binocs) and one is the talker. For departures at most times, there are controllers on the ground near the runway ends. Of course, ground movements are handled by volunteers. But yes, they are good at handling the idiots (better than I would be).

    I remember this exchange:

    BO: Bonanza 123 on 4 mile final for 36.
    TWR: Bonanzas, you're where?
    BO: Three mile final.
    TWR: Are you familiar with the NOTAM and the RIPON/FISK procedure?
    BO: No, what's that.
    TWR: (Sigh). OK, just continue in. Cleared to land 36L (I guess he figures it's easier to just get him on the ground than to have him try to guess his way through Ripon)
    BO: Which one is that.
    TWR: It's the big one with the numbers on the ends and the dotted line down the middle.
    Bonanza. Not Cirrus?
    Bryan

    Houston

  5. #5

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    Overheard on the scanner. "Tower, can you give me the general direction that Fon Du Lac is from Oshkosh, I can't find it on the map."

  6. #6
    MEdwards's Avatar
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    This was the first year I heard somebody on the Rwy 36 landing freq who was apparently just beginning his OJT. Every time he said anything, another voice (one of two) would either correct it or restate it differently. You could also hear in the background the other two apparently talking to him while he was transmitting. I guess everybody has their first time on the mic, but if he was the first Oshkosh controller you ever heard, you wouldn’t have been impressed. A departure controller Thursday morning was not great either. “Line up and wait” sounded like “llyupt.”
    I stress these were aberrations. The vast majority of ATC people at Oshkosh are excellent. The presentations at their union’s tent on the grounds were good too.

  7. #7

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    We had dinner with a (2019) rookie controller that is a friend of my (also a controller but not at OSH) son-in-laws. All controllers get a very long day's education and co-ordination training on Thursday prior and that as a rookie, their only hope is that they have a good idea of the entire set up by the end of the week. He said that basically when in the tower, the person on the microphone simply repeats whats being spoken to him by the two controllers standing on each side of him. There's just too much going on for one person to see it all and take it all in at once.

    Having flown there 2 hours a day, every day, for 8 years now myself, I can hear the rookies grow into the positions and think they All do a fantastic job!

    Happy Landings

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