Laughlin Named Busiest AF Airfield in 2011

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Stealth_81, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    http://www.laughlin.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123286780

    This was interesting to me because DS is at Laughlin starting UPT next week. It is hard to imagine nearly 1000 aircraft operations daily with student pilots. The teamwork and dedication of the controllers to their job must be fantastic!

    Stealth_81
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Laughlin's airspace is extremely busy. They divide it up pretty well though. For the T-6 students, they standardize almost all the radio calls, for brevity. It works well, and there is only a minimal amount of chatter and little confusion.
     
  3. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That volume is pretty standard for a training base in any service. Cairns AAF is similar, though the vast majority is R/W. They take most of the cerebral work off the controllers in those situations by utilizing a highly structured corridor system for arrivals and departures for VFR aircraft and SIDs for IFR traffic.
     
  4. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Of course, the differences in departure / arrival timelines between the T-1 / T-6 and R/W does make the deconfliction problem a little easier.

    Our training a/c are moving around the immediate airspace at 200kts with cllimb / descent rates over 1000 ft/min, while your controllers can just ask you guys to hover in place :biggrin:.
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yeah, you're right. That's how it works. :rolleyes:

    If only helicopters could climb/descend at over 1000 ft/min....
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    The Cairns tower definitely gets busier than the T-6 pattern. At least Laughlin split between tower and the RSUs. Laughlin frequencies got busy, but Cairns gets almost stupid at peak hours.

    Both get busy. In T-6s, I hated getting thrown in the VFR entry "washing machine" of constant breakouts or multiple cases of "break point, straight through." At Cairns there are a lot more options, but the traffic flow gets a bit more complex.

    You are going to get complicated situations anytime you deal with that much traffic. Both solutions seem to work for the aircraft involved.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    It doesn't help when the fixed wing guys start popping in for low approaches. That's where traffic flow really gets tricky...mixing dissimilar airframes. When they all go the same speed and flying similar patterns, it's not such a big deal. But when you have varying airspeeds and maneuverability levels, the controllers have to be on their game.

    My current home airfield has a ton of mixed traffic, as their are three R/W brigades and a 10,000+ foot runway. It's not uncommon to have a dozen helicopters and several heavies in the pattern, as the USAF can't seem to ever practice approaches to their own runways. :rant2:
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Well, they shouldn't build a 10,000ft runway for helicopters! :wink:

    When they bring Hueys into Laughlin, it creates quite an interesting situation for the controllers!
     
  9. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    How much longer do you have before you finish up with UPT?
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Well, we have the luxury of side-stepping off the active, landing to taxiways, and present-position departures. That makes avoiding other aircraft easier.

    The AIM tells us that we, as helicopters, are to avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic. One of the downsides to military airfields and military training for helicopter pilots is that we often find ourselves doing work in traffic patterns, which produces a "muscle memory" in our community that results in us making choices at civilian airfields that don't make sense (e.g. landing to runways or flying a pattern).

    So, raimius, put yourself ahead of the game. When one of your peers plans a flight to a civilian field and starts talking about patterns and landing to a runway, ask..."Why are we doing this? Does this make sense?" Just last night I had to remind myself of that at a busy little airport in Nashville and execute present-position departure. Totally counter to our normal way of doing business, but when there are KA300s and Learjets stacked up on the taxiway, you can save a lot of headaches. Just make sure they have their ears on...
     
  11. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Just a couple more months.
     

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