Author Topic: Tower and Approach Controllers  (Read 8434 times)

Offline Acey

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Tower and Approach Controllers
« on: March 14, 2006, 07:05:41 PM »
At Toronto, are the approach controllers in the tower on the field are at a different facility?  I know at some major airports in the States there are separate approach facilities for several airports like SoCal, Washington D.C., and New York.  I was wondering because it seems that there is a need for constant communication between tower and approach controllers, so it would make sense for the final approach controllers to be in the tower.


Offline dave

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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2006, 08:24:50 PM »
Here it is handled by minimum separation rules and telephone intercoms.

Offline JetScan1

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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2006, 08:44:17 PM »
>> At Toronto, are the approach controllers in the tower on the field are at a different facility? <<

The Toronto Approach controllers are located in the Toronto Area Control Center (ACC). The same building as all the Center controllers, it's located in a building beside the Tower.

I couldn't post a link, so here is the whole article from

Toronto Operations

NAV CANADA's services in Toronto are provided by two separate units located at Lester B. Pearson International Airport (LBPIA).

Toronto's Area Control Centre (ACC) is one of seven ACCs across the country providing service to aircraft flying in controlled airspace within Canada, as well as uncontrolled airspace. Toronto ACC provides coverage to approximately 145,000 square nautical miles. This airspace is divided up into eight distinct specialty areas, further divided into small parcels of common airspace called sectors. The ACC has a Traffic Management Unit, responsible for ensuring that traffic flow does not exceed capacity by instituting specialized traffic management techniques, and a Flight Planning Section, processing over 3000 flights plans a day.

The Air Traffic Control Tower in Toronto provides control services to aircraft and vehicles on the ground, and to arriving and departing aircraft within a seven-mile radius of LBPIA. One of forty-three towers, NAV CANADA's newest facility opened in November 1998, and was planned and built at a cost of $17.2 million. The tower, strategically located in the centre of all runways, is 65.4 metres high and provides 360-degree visibility of all operating surfaces.

Both facilities are equipped with some of the most advanced, state-of-the-art, technology tools. The Integrated Information Display System (IIDS) supports ten air traffic control applications, using proven windows technology. These PC-based systems are fully integrated onto flat touch-screen displays for use by controllers, with an electronic flow of data (Extended Computer Display System - EXCDS) replacing the use, in some specialties, of paper strips in tracking aircraft flight plans.

The first of its kind in North America, a voice switching and control system (VSCS), with touch-screen technology, is used in the tower to control communications with aircraft and between controllers, as well as other ground-based services dealing with aircraft. It will become the standard voice switch for NAV CANADA's air traffic control facilities across the country.

To enhance safety in the busy radar environment, NAV CANADA has developed NARDS (NAV CANADA Auxiliary Radar Display System). This independent radar back-up system provides continuous radar and flight information in the event of an interruption to the main radar processing system, where non-radar control was previously required.

Tower controllers monitor ground movements at LBPIA using ASDE, Airport Surface Detection Equipment. Two new ASDE towers have recently been installed in the north and south fields of the airport, featuring a runway incursion collision avoidance system and improved imagery enhancing the ability to identify movements on the ground as well as arriving aircraft.

A Radar Data Processing System Situation Display (RSiT), developed to serve as

NAV CANADA's newest radar situation display, is currently being installed in the ACC. Included with RSiT is a suite of software tools that increases efficiency, safety and situational awareness and provides controllers with current radar and flight data information.

Since 1963, the volume of air traffic at LBPIA has increased by about 370 per cent. Growth is forecast be close to 60 per cent from 1996 to 2011. Through increased operational efficiency NAV CANADA will serve the increasing levels of air traffic and future development plans to increase airport capacity.

Along with the installation of state-of-the-art technology and equipment, NAV CANADA's Toronto operation has undertaken numerous initiatives, in collaboration with the airlines and the airport authority to improve customer service through increased efficiency, capacity and safety.

NAV CANADA, in cooperation with its clients, has recently initiated High Intensity Runway Operations (HIRO) to increase efficiency and maximize capacity at LBPIA. HIRO focuses on minimizing runway occupancy time for both arriving and departing aircraft, consistent with both passenger comfort and safety.

Over the past two years, Toronto Operations has participated in the North American Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM) initiative. CDM promotes information sharing between the airlines and air traffic control. Through an increased awareness of system constraints, both service provider and system user can make timely collaborative air traffic decisions.

In November 1999, Toronto Operations made the transition from its existing Ground Delay Program for LBPIA to Flight Schedule Monitor (FSM), a primary tool used by NAV CANADA and major airlines in dealing with situations of constrained airport capacity or conditions that lead to a ground hold strategy. FSM users benefit from a common situational awareness and have the ability to evaluate and improve strategies used for dealing with cancellations, delays or irregular operations, leading to increased system efficiencies.

NAV CANADA is also taking advantage of the Flight Management Technology already in aircraft to standardize routes and minimize the need for communications between air traffic controllers and pilots on final approach. On a trial basis, a Pilot program approving arrival routes into the onboard Flight Management System, is now provided electronically to air traffic controllers.

NAV CANADA, the country's provider of civil air navigation services, is a non-share capital, private corporation with operations coast-to-coast providing air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

Offline Acey

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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2006, 08:52:50 PM »
Thanks a lot for the information.

Adrian :D

Offline Tomato

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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2006, 10:33:48 AM »
Wow, thanks for the article!  :)  Pictures?  heh...   :)

Offline tyketto

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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2006, 01:17:19 PM »
To be honest, it depends on how the airspace around a facility is set up.

You mentioned SOCAL, Washington, and NY. Those are fairly obvious, especially when it comes to how complex the airspace is. NORCAL is the same way, because of how complex it is as well (with NCT covering SFO/OAK/SJC/SMF/SCK and everywhere inbetween.

On the other hand you have an ATCT (Air Traffic Control and TRACON), in which they are combined in the same building. different areas of it, but the same building. KLAS has this, and it is a very busy Class B. OMA is a infinitely less busy than LAS or NCT/SCT, but has their facilities separate. OMA has just a tower, but R90 TRACON is at Offutt AFB (OFF), and controls everything there in the Class C. LNK is less busy than OMA, and has an ATCT.

So it really depends on the airspace and how it is used. I don't know what the breakdown of it is between separate facilities and ATCT, but it totally depends on the complexity of the airspace.


Offline CntrllrATC

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Tower and Approach Controllers
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2006, 07:50:15 PM »
ATCT stands for Air Traffic Control Tower, it may have radar for approach control services or it may not. TRACON stands for Terminal Radar Approach Control and can be co-located in the Tower below the Tower Cab or in a seperate building altogether  :-)


Offline Pygmie

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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2006, 09:49:26 PM »
==> Wow, thanks for the article!  :)  Pictures?  heh...   :) <==

There are tons of pictures in the .pdfs on the NAV CANADA site, but here's one that I was able to find of the EXCDS system in use at most of the major airports, and all the centers, around Canada.  This system takes A LOT of the verbal coordination out of the picture, and lets controllers focus on controlling traffic and talking to the aircraft rather than talking/coordinating with the surrounding tower/terminal/low/high controllers.

EDIT:  Hmm, picture not linking, but it will work if you just copy the link