Sunday, May 13, 2012

Inside the Old Rockhampton Airport Control Tower - And Some Lovely Airport Views Too!

CQ Plane Spotting would like to sincerely thank the controllers inside the Rockhampton Airport Control Tower for the invitation last week to come up inside and have a look around and to take some photos of the goings on inside the Tower and at the Airport itself.

The old tower at the Airport is soon to be decommissioned and air traffic control (ATC) will soon be coming from a brand new and state-of-the-art tower, which is in its final stages of completion right next door.  The progress of the new - and taller - tower has been constant, with the exterior painting and installation of radar and communications infrastructure completed a little while back.  The finishing touches - as well as rigourous testing - on the inside workings of the tower are now taking place.  The new tower is expected to be commissioned in the coming weeks.

Whilst inside the old tower, we enjoyed looking over the old 'paper' style console with strips still hand-written for arrivals and departures, as well as overflys, at Rockhampton Airport.

There are also wind, temperature and air pressure (QNH) and other displays and alerts that feed straight to the console as well.

The console also has strips for when runway inspections and crossings take place, as well as other miscellaneous strips for when (say) arrestor cables are rigged at the end of the active runway during military exercises.

The old tower usually operates with one controller who is responsible for both the tower frequency (118.7) as well as the ground and airways clearance frequency (121.7).  In busy periods however, especially during the morning and afternoon rush periods, two controllers can work from the console - one for ground and clearances, and the other working the tower frequency.

At this stage, the new tower is partially blocking the view over the shorter cross Runway 04/22, and further to the General Aviation Apron.

The views outside the tower are pretty spectacular as well, with reasonably unobstructed views over both the Airport apron and the main Runway 15/33 easily afforded for the controllers. 

Again we thank the ATC controllers at Rockhampton Airport for the opportunity to come and have a look inside the Tower one last time!

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