August 30, 2007

Chicago Aviation Meetup Group Outing: Control Tower Tour

chicago_executive_airport_t.jpgThe Chicago Aviation Meetup Group August event was a tour of the Chicago Executive Airport control tower. Chicago Executive (formerly Palwaukee) is a Class D airport with three active runways. Although on Saturday only two runways were active as runway 6/24 was partially underwater from recent storms in the area.

There were five other group members that joined me for the tour. I believe I was the only certified pilot in the group but several members were working on their pilots license while others are thinking about it.

When we arrived there were three tower controllers in the tower one that was on a mandatory one-hour break and the one managing aircraft on the ground and another managing inbound and outbound aircraft. Luckily there was not a ton of traffic so the controllers were able to talk to us and explain what they were doing for the few aircraft that were maneuvering on the field or in the surrounding airspace.

One of the controllers showed us the light gun that is used to communicate with planes that are having radio communication problems. He asked if I had ever seen it in use which I have not. He mentioned that next time I am flying if their load is not to much to ask and he will shine it for me to see from the plane, which supposedly it is very easy to see at day or night. So I have added that to my next flight to-do list.

This was my second visit to a control tower and I have found both visits to be enjoyable and educational. I highly recommend a control tower tour for any pilot or pilot in training.

If you are in the Chicago area and interested in meeting up with other aviation enthusiasts check out our aviation group on Meetup.com.

Posted by at August 30, 2007 6:51 AM