February 26, 2011
Listen to Live ATC Communications for Chicago Executive Airport
If I had known it was so easy to setup an online feed for air traffic control communications for my home airport I would have done it years ago. This afternoon I install a scanner at the Leading Edge Flying Club that will broadcast live ATC communications feed for Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK). The feed is now available via LiveATC.net, a site that broadcasts communications from air traffic control towers and radar facilities around the world allowing you to listen to live ATC via the internet and also via an iPhone App.
Although LiveATC.net has a great list of airports that feature communications they never had a feed for my home base KPWK. So, I reached out to the founder of Live ATC, Dave Pascoe, to inquire about the requirements to add my airport. I learned that Dave relies on the support of local aviation enthusiasts to setup each feed. Dave walked me through the process of setting up a new feed, sounding simple enough I volunteered to setup the Chicago Executive feed.
Dave sold me a used scanner for a reasonable price and even pre-programmed it for the frequencies at my airport prior to delivery. Once I received the device I simply followed the easy to follow instructions for installing the scanner and connecting it to the computer at the Leading Edge Flying Club office. Literally within about 15 minutes of arriving at the club today I had a live ATC feed up and running. You can now here a combination of Clearance Delivery, Ground and Tower frequencies for Chicago Executive Airport.
As easy and cheap as it was to setup I am surprised one of the flight schools or clubs on the airport had not set up a feed already. I am a firm believer that one of the best ways to learn to communicate well in the air traffic control system is to listen to yourself and others. Live ATC is a perfect tool to assist you with honing your ATC communications, in fact the Mastering VFR Communications DVD I reviewed a few months back recommends this method of learning.
LiveATC.net keeps a 45-day archive of most feeds which will allow a student to fly in the morning then replay his or her communications with his CFI upon return to the airport. This is an invaluable tool for improving your communications skills. Just as valuable as hearing your own communications is listening to others within the system. I am just now preparing to work on the Instrument Rating and I have enjoyed listening to clearance delivery and readbacks via the site.
If you have an iPhone you can listen to Live ATC feeds on the go. I love looking up airport feeds whenever I am near one to listen in to the aircraft overhead.
If your airport does not have a feed I strongly recommend you look into setting one up. All you need is a scanner and an always on internet connection near the airport. The Live ATC team could not be more helpful. They will provide you with some free software that is easy to install. Once up and running the transmission only takes up a small amount of internet bandwidth. Less than an hour of work can provide a ton of enjoyment and education for the aviation community.Posted by Todd McClamroch at February 26, 2011 9:31 PM