Frederick FDK chaos

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by hankrausch, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. hankrausch

    hankrausch Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hank Rausch
    I am curious if other pilots find FDK as chaotic as i. Flew into there yesterday to drop off some dogs for PnP. Had not been there since they got the tower. When I approached there was a fellow doing 360s, for some reason
    they let me in ahead of him. On landing I got a taxi vector for 3 taxiways, none of which were marked! Found myself waiting at each intersection to confirm the taxiway. Same thing on the way out, got a hold short command for taxiway Bravo that had no markings, here is where being a nuc paid off, if I had not stopped and asked would have shot through it. Waited 20 minutes at the runway to take off, the last 7 for an inbound that reported as 4 miles away. In sum a place to avoid if possible.
     
    neilw2 likes this.
  2. AWACSEng

    AWACSEng Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,042
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill
    I've had a few interesting experiences at FDK myself, but overall a positive experience. It is a very busy airport, hence the introduction of a control tower (about 5 years ago?), but it could be better. Lots of primary training going on, as well as IFR practice approaches most days. This coupled with a non-radar tower (not sure of the official term for this, sorry) relying on pilots to accurately report their position can sometimes lead to a bit of a chaotic environment. It seems to have a blend of atmosphere between a towered and un-towered airfield. With all of that said, I tend to steer clear of FDK unless I have a reason to be there. If I want to knock the rust off at a towered field, I head over to ESN.
     
  3. hankrausch

    hankrausch Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hank Rausch
    I feel for the controllers, their life would be easier if FDK broke down and labelled all the taxiways.
    In sum I found the signage rather like a bikini--showed enough to get your attention but not everything I wanted to see.
     
    Checkout_my_Six likes this.
  4. neilw2

    neilw2 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    569
    Location:
    MA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Neil W
    I flew into there four years ago or soand had a similar experience to the OP. I am very used to flying into all different kinds of towered airports but fdk had me the most confused I have ever been. The taxiways being unmarked are particularly annoying.

    On top of our expiriences they did have a bad midair a few years ago where at the very least the tower was a contributing factor.

    Towered airports should not be more confusing to transient pilots. Most aren't. FDK definitely is.
     
  5. AWACSEng

    AWACSEng Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,042
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill
    Irony of the whole thing is it's the home of AOPA and their world-renowned Air Safety Institute! Certainly need to be on your toes at that field!
     
    BigBadLou likes this.
  6. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Check_my_Six
    ya....it's a mess. I live there and still have mixed feelings about the tower. Some days it's good ....and other days it's quite comic. The airport is lacking proper taxiway markings and the tower is not equipped well with radar. Those are both problematic and hazards waiting for an event....and there have been recent events (since the new tower - no events that I knew of prior to the tower - I been flying there since the late 70's).
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  7. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    19,668
    Location:
    Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    wrbix, hankrausch and dmspilot like this.
  8. catmandu

    catmandu Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    995
    Location:
    Maryland's Eastern Shore
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Catmandu
    Funny, there is a Bo pilot based there that flies every weekend (pretty much) for a $100 something or another, or a local meetup, etc., and posts about it on a D.C. email list for pilots. 90% of the time he includes the line "not much activity at FDK" which I always find surprising.
     
  9. AWACSEng

    AWACSEng Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,042
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill
    Ya I think I know who you are talking about. I hope one day I have enough money and time to fly as often as he does. I'm happy for him!
     
  10. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Check_my_Six
    no activity when John is flying....lol. He's right, but for the casual observer it must be busy.
     
  11. sardonux

    sardonux Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Messages:
    44
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mr Smith
    I fly over FDK on my commute from JYO to MMU. The traffic lights up constantly on my panel - sometimes so much clutter I have to adjust zoom and other factors.
     
  12. cgrab

    cgrab Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,096
    Location:
    Huntsville AL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    cgrab
    Would it be possible for the tower to get an ADS-B receiver and display the traffic in the area? They may need some kind of repeater to get the signal from Dulles or BWI but they would get better SA if they could. I would not want them to depend on it but if a guy reports a 2 mile final and the tower sees him on the ADS-B at 5 miles they can make adjustments to the traffic flow.
     
  13. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,481
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    They'd also have to staff it with controllers who had a clue. I guess the've gotten over telling the gliders to hold altitude for the incoming powered traffic.

    It only took the control tower to really muck things up at FDK. Even when the pattern was busy before, it worked pretty well uncontrolled. Every time they put a temporary tower, it because chaos and the permanent one isn't much better.

    The tower has already caused one fatal accident, at least.