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Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by mscard88, Dec 10, 2016.
I've never understood why people post derivative news articles. Here's the local paper that put this out on the wire services for the Herald to misquote.
The incident is caught on liveATC here: http://archive-server.liveatc.net/kboi/KBOI-Nov-19-2016-0930Z.mp3
Starts about 7 minutes into the file. Note, it's hard to make out the guys on the ground (SL1 and Ops2).
The next 30 minute file has SL2 asking the tower if everything was alright as they couldn't reach them for a while.
I've always been a light sleeper thank God. Revolving shifts suck and you still have a life which doesn't care what shift you have to work the next day. I don't know a controller who has never fallen asleep on a mid shift. Trick is to never get caught.
Of course other than the two helicopters from the local hospital which didn't much care that the tower wasn't operating, there isn't much traffic at KBOI at 2 AM. Had a controller doze off at DCA a few years back. Still had some airliners coming in during that nap. At least he wasn't out smoking weed.
I never fell asleep during a midshift, might get sleepy but never out. We'd work 2 day shifts, 2 swings, and 2 mid shifts. We had the approach controller fall asleep one night at Eglin during the midshift. Pensacola was trying to handoff an overflight and finally gave up and handed the plane off to either JAX center or Tyndall approach. Controller got his pee pee smacked the next day.
I am wondering why KBOI tower is even open at that hour. There can't be enough traffic to justify it, and lots of airliners find their way into uncontrolled fields at night.
That's how most towers are, freight flights usually the only traffic. At Eglin AFB it was that way, but one crew had a 421 landed in the middle of the night without clearance or any communication with the tower, then took off and landed at Destin. They found the pilot dead at a local hotel shortly after. I recall the article saying it was registered to a company in Crestview Fl called "Sosueme". Never found out why the pilot landed at Eglin or why he ended up dead. Weird story, around late 70s early 80s.
Another crew at Eglin was near the end of their midshift when an F15 called for taxi very early in the morning, might've been on Sun morning, forget. Tower had no flight plan on them. They taxi out and it was the 60th TFS, the whole friggin' squadron of F-15s uploaded with weapons. Turns out they were headed to the Grenada conflict to provide CAP.
Both controllers have tested negative for drugs.
There was a sleeping incident a few years ago. Starbucks offered free coffee for controllers for awhile. I got woke up by a flight of 2 F4's at oh dark thirty once. It was a portable tower about 50 feet from the runway. The sound of two phantoms with the burners lit off through plexiglass gets you up. A few seconds later one of them says "morning Tower." They never ratted me out though.
Think they enjoyed getting in a buzz job more! Had that happen at Volk Field WI. A St Louis ANG F-4E buzzed the tower in a surprise "attack".
I'm willing to bet that back in your day you had two controllers minimum per shift. I'm alone from 11pm to 7 am and on long holiday weekends. We've been single supervisor on those shifts for years now. Sucks when you come back upstairs from a bathroom break to find the phone ringing or a radio call from a cheesed off someone who thinks controllers should always be there standing by to answer their call. I'm sure the only thing they're thinking is that I'm asleep. When they mention that they've been calling for a while, my rote answer is, "Can't a guy go to the bathroom every once in a while?" which usually shuts them up.
I'm confused. Even our single staffed towers (FAA and FCT) have procedures in place should the single controller have to depart for a biological. Usually it amounted to calling the overlying radar facility to inform that controller of the departure. A subsequent return call returns operations to normal.
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I've found that by the time you make all those calls you can be back up looking out the windows. Plus you can't predict calls on the unrecorded lines or an aircraft on the radio.
Just my $.02, but if there isn't enough traffic to warrant two or more crew in a tower, is there enough traffic to warrant the tower being open period? Many airports survive just fine without a tower , or a tower only open during set hours.
Can't speak for any other towers but mine is active air defense based, so someone has to be there 24/7. I can also tell you that the number of scrambles the tower has seen on a mid shift in the 22 years that I've been there is 2 - both of them practice. I don't like it, I just gotta do it.
Yup, Watch Sup and 5 level, and hopefully a gopher (trainee) if we need a pizza at 3 am.
Those were the days...
My IFR checkride had this scenario played in. I was holding after a missed approach for another approach. The hold was right at the start of the DME arc for the new approach. I did a lap then "called tower" to see when I could expect to start the approach. No answer. Called again on the other radio, still no answer. My examiner is in the right seat just grinning. I squawk lost comms, finish another lap, then start inbound. About 30 seconds of flying the arc, "tower", aka my DPE, finally answered and said, "Hey, bugsmasher 12345, I was getting some coffee. You're cleared for the approach ILS 35."
P.S. I don't think my DPE has high on drugs.
I had something similar when I did my ATP with a DPE at KBHM. Controller knew him and on one approach cleared me for the full approach vs vectors to final. DPE grinning like hell!
It was implied by the other posters, but not called out explicitly: It's because KBOI hosts the ANG and Army. Much of the south side of the field, away from the terminals, is military.
Even big Charlie airports have towers that close. My local international, KSJC, closes as midnight (also, it has a midnight curfew for jets). It's kinda weird self-announcing on CTAF at an international airport as I bounce around in the pattern doing night pattern work.
I suppose military ops can influence a requirement for 24 hrs but its definitely not required. Probably nine different duty stations I've been assigned and not a one was 24 hrs. Just never had a need for ops in the middle of the night.
Speaking of high. Back in the 90s MCAS Yuma had a bunch of controllers get busted for meth. Thank God I didn't get sent there to fill in!
I think the only AF base I worked out that was 24 hours was Eglin AFB. It was boring after 10-11pm and most of the time did not talk with a single plane.
Speaking of drug busts, we had around 6-10 test positive for pot at Eglin and they were immediately out of USAF ATC, and shortly later kicked out of the service. Don't know what type of a discharge they got but must not have been a bad one as most got picked up by the FAA!
Yeah I worked with a few Marines that got busted for dealing drugs. I used to think their FAA future was done but you never know.
I can't speak for other pilots, but I, for one, get high every time I fly....
What the eff?! I always thought you guys used a pee tube or bottle like the pilots do.
I just peed off the catwalk onto the maint pukes!
It was degrading just having to do FOD walks with maint pukes! Just kidding. Actually enjoyed getting out and walking the line.
What do controllers do when it is completely dead (traffic wise)? Like at a small Class D airport during a snow storm and there is zero traffic? Training, surf the web, sleep?
We had a stack of skin magazines....
Come one man...why you gotta give away the secrets?
Nothing else to do when you've reached the end of the internet so why not fire up a tube?
C'mon , mannnn, everyone knows controllers get high. Isn't that what the tower catwalk is for?
Smoke goes up so I just pull down the stairs, climb up and open the roof hatch. S'all gooooood.
Damn never thought of that! Nice in the winter time to stay in the cab vs outide on that catwalk with the cold and wind.