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Old 03-13-2006, 08:26 AM   #1  
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Smile Ground Control at MEM during the FDX midnight sort

I'll be working my FIRST series of midnight shifts this week at MEM for the purpose of training on Ground Control. Three midnight shifts this week, followed by three more next week.

My Supervisor, Trainer and all of my team members have assured me that my head will be handed to me on a platter this evening due to the volume and complexity of the FDX inbound and outbound traffic.

There is a dedicated midnight crew assigned to the midnight shift at MEM, so whenever a newbie is sent to the mid for training, we are essentially treated like red-headed-step-children. The local procedures are different from the normal day/evening operation; the routes in/out of our airspace change slightly; and there are many other changes to our local operation.

Keep your head on a swivel tonight! I'll do my best not to delay you too much.

MEM_ATC
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:54 AM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEM_ATC
I'll be working my FIRST series of midnight shifts this week at MEM for the purpose of training on Ground Control. Three midnight shifts this week, followed by three more next week.

My Supervisor, Trainer and all of my team members have assured me that my head will be handed to me on a platter this evening due to the volume and complexity of the FDX inbound and outbound traffic.

There is a dedicated midnight crew assigned to the midnight shift at MEM, so whenever a newbie is sent to the mid for training, we are essentially treated like red-headed-step-children. The local procedures are different from the normal day/evening operation; the routes in/out of our airspace change slightly; and there are many other changes to our local operation.

Keep your head on a swivel tonight! I'll do my best not to delay you too much.

MEM_ATC
Glad it is you and not me. My hat is off to you guys!
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:14 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEM_ATC

Keep your head on a swivel tonight! I'll do my best not to delay you too much.

MEM_ATC
OK, here's the deal. All you have to rememeber is that FDX 1543 gets priority handling. Front of the line, and we want RWY27. Look for me around 0300 local (no wait, that would be if the sort is on time... make it about 0330 ).


Oh, and if you're still around after sunrise, FDX 850 gets priority handling inbound!





Good luck, we're all counting on you. (And we'll be listening for the other voice behind your back! )




.
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:32 AM   #4  
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Ahemmm...


I said RWY 27, NOT 36 LEFT!?!?!?







Sounded like you were having fun!





- The truth only hurts if it should -
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:26 AM   #5  
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"My Supervisor, Trainer and all of my team members have assured me that my head will be handed to me on a platter this evening due to the volume and complexity of the FDX inbound and outbound traffic"

Have fun and thank Gawd for PDC's and ACARS.

I've seen times where it appeared one controller was working the whole airport early in the morning, in my mind most recently is PHX. Sometimes I think they do it for training just to tube the guy (or maybe the supe is taking a nap). I know that's fun for you all (and good training) but when it starts impacting the efficiency of flight ops, well....I don't think that's a good thing.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:27 AM   #6  
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"Oh, and if you're still around after sunrise"

Morning turns? Are you insane?
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:22 AM   #7  
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Default MEM Ground Control Training (Night One)

TonyC

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyC
Ahemmm... I said RWY 27, NOT 36 LEFT!?!?!?
Hey, if you're talking about your inbound runway assignment... I had nothing to do with that!

Last night was quite a learning experience. We ran the inbound with ONE Tower Controller working RWY 27; ONE Tower Controller working the parallel runways; and me... the LONE Ground Controller for the entire airport. (We used two Ground Controllers for the outbound.)

I was able to hang in there with minimal prompting from my instructor for about an hour and a half on the inbound. It all came to an end with three aircraft on Alpha holding short of Charlie... two aircraft on Sierra holding short of Alpha... two aircraft eastbound on Alpha to hold short of Runway 27 at the approach end... one aircraft crossing runway 27 via Bravo and another right behind him on Yankee wanting to do the same thing via Yankee and Bravo. As a Mountain F27 flew across the approach end and past various taxiways, the Tower Controller told me to "Cross Runway 27 twice at the approach end, cross one at Sierra and cross one at Bravo, traffic on six mile final!"

Looking down at my pad of paper with columns of aircraft that had landed on specific runways and I was suddenly unable to interpret the heiroglyphics that were written on my pad. Someone checked in with me off of runway 36R, but it sounded like he was speaking in tongue. I looked out into the sea of lights and started thinking about my warm bed and a soft feather pillow. My instructor looked at me for a moment, but the blank stare gave it away: I had lost the picture!

A cheer went through the Tower as the surrender flag was raised. My brain was mush. The numbers made no sense at all. Where was east? Entry spots? What entry spots. What are all of those lights out there? They all chuckled and said that it would get better tomorrow night.

I think they did me a favor last night by not having RWY 27 as an active runway for departures -- my trainer said that the runway crossings can get very intense during the outbound. I got hung-up on some of the "standard" phraseology at times. And judging the taxi speeds of you guys coming out of Spot 6 -vs- the taxi speed on Runway 27 bit me several times -- from the Tower, it looks like you are right at the Runway on Bravo, when in fact you are still a dog-leg or two from reaching the runway. It's also uphill, right?

Quote:
Sounded like you were having fun!
Hey, I was trying to have a good time and work it all out. My trainer has been here at MEM for ten years or more, and on the midnight crew for most of his time here. He knows your flight number, destination, first filed fix on your flight plan, your approximate exit spot and which of you will request the long runway. And of course, he tried to force-feed me all of that information in one evening.

I'll be back up there tonight trying to do it again.

MEM_ATC
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:37 AM   #8  
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Default Combined Positions in the Tower

Quote:
Originally Posted by de727ups
I've seen times where it appeared one controller was working the whole airport early in the morning, in my mind most recently is PHX. Sometimes I think they do it for training just to tube the guy (or maybe the supe is taking a nap). I know that's fun for you all (and good training) but when it starts impacting the efficiency of flight ops, well....I don't think that's a good thing.
You are absolutely correct... on all counts of your post above.

At some airports, depending on what some bean counter at the FAA Regional Office has decided, there may only be one person working in the Tower. And that one person will be working everything: All RADAR functions and all TOWER functions.

Sometimes we combine positions for training. It helps to enhance our "big picture" of the operation; increases working speed (hopefully!); and just plain forces us to pay close attention to what is happening. I trained on combined Ground Control positions last week during the NWA inbound. The other Ground Controller was plugged in right next to me at his position in case I started screwing-up. It wasn't too bad, but when the FDX arrivals started to overlap with the NWA traffic -- we opened the other Ground Control.

Each Controller will handle the workload differently. Some will hang-in there trying to work as many of you as possible, while others will tell you to "stand-by" while they try to put out a fire somewhere else on the airport. Then others will "reach out" and start calling specific aircraft at specific locations to get things moving or halt certain traffic.

There's no textbook way to handle these combined situations. Each Controller draws on his experience and training to get through the session. Some sessions will be better than others.

MEM_ATC
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:38 AM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEM_ATC
Looking down at my pad of paper with columns of aircraft that had landed on specific runways and I was suddenly unable to interpret the heiroglyphics that were written on my pad. Someone checked in with me off of runway 36R, but it sounded like he was speaking in tongue. I looked out into the sea of lights and started thinking about my warm bed and a soft feather pillow. My instructor looked at me for a moment, but the blank stare gave it away: I had lost the picture!

A cheer went through the Tower as the surrender flag was raised. My brain was mush. The numbers made no sense at all. Where was east? Entry spots? What entry spots. What are all of those lights out there? They all chuckled and said that it would get better tomorrow night.

How'd you get the transcript from my IOE?
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:46 AM   #10  
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If you were the female voice working at around midnight thirty, I thought you were doing fine. I came off of 36L, and things were as smooth as usual.

Welcome to the vampire club, and thanks for your insight.

You all do a great job for us, night after night, and we try to do the same for you.
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