On December 11, the WAA hosted a meeting with a mix of corporate and light general aviation pilots, and air traffic controllers, to maintain open the lines of communication at the airport. Leading the meeting were WAA Board Member Scott Dyer, Demisha Vega (ATC supervisor) and Wycliffe Walcott (ATC Controller).
Although not scheduled yet, please watch the website for the next quarterly meeting date.
Below are highlights taken from the meeting to recap some significant information:
- PDC and CPDLC clearance delivery systems were reviewed, and how changes to routings are provided (e.g., via voice communications or through automated systems. KUSA is the new national logon for CPDLC.
- An issue was raised about light single IFR routings to Nantucket, which are usually assigned the preferred route substantially overwater after the GON VOR (NEWBE and DEEPO fixes). Because of the many FAA facilities involved in such routings (NY Tracon, Providence Approach, Cape Approach, etc.), it is usually not possible to obtain an alternative routing that keeps aircraft closer to the shore if not over land, such as the usual Martha's Vineyard routing. While one can either try to negotiate a more favorable routing after departure when talking to Providence approach, or file IFR for Martha's Vineyard and then change the destination to KACK, we are working with HPN Tower to come up with a better, more appropriate way to obtain an alternative ACK routing. If you are a light piston single going to ACK and do not want to fly the GON NEWBE DEEPO routing, please file your routing of choice and add "NO DEEPO/OVERWATER" in the remarks section of the flight plan. You will likely have the NEWBE DEEPO route issued to you for the reasons stated above, and then your option is to proceed VFR if conditions permit or depart IFR and negotiate a more acceptable route in the air. When this happens, please provide Scott Dyer (email@example.com) with your N number, the date and time of the flight, and information about what route you filed and how the flight routing was changed in the air. He will work with Tower personnel (Nancy Reilly) to develop a record of such flights that may be used to establish a demand for alternative routing.
- Pilots voiced some criticism of delays in issuing takeoff clearances with jets on long final and/or VFR closed pattern traffic.. There was considerable discussion of spacing for landings and takeoffs, the large number of trainee controllers in the Tower who need to calibrate their judgment on what will work safely and what won't, the desire of Tower controllers to continue to allow all users as much access as is possible (including slow closed pattern traffic), the relative abilities and comfort of pilots to comply with requests for short approaches or immediate takeoff clearances, Tower staffing requirements that may prevent Line Up and Wait procedures from being used, etc. And, we heard from one pilot who commented that he felt that on occasion the Tower was asking him to maneuver into too tight a space between traffic for his comfort. The controllers emphasized that they respect pilots who decline such instructions and are happy to provide alternatives, all the pilot has to do is to say "unable". Controllers also invited pilots to offer to do short approaches if they wished, or "Figure 8"s using both runways for touch and goes (during quieter times).
- The question of when VFR arrivals should be in contact with HPN Tower was raised, with pilots noting that NY Approach is often too busy to provide sequencing services or, when contacted within 10 miles of the airport, simply issues a transponder code and switches the aircraft to the Tower. The Tower controllers suggested that if you are not able to obtain service form NY when 15-20 miles out, feel free to contact the Tower directly when still 12-15 miles out. Further, if you are receiving radar services from NY and aren't switched to Tower frequency when coming up on the Class D boundary, you can ask Approach for a frequency change to Tower, Ident (a reminder to the controller), or say that you have the airport in sight. In any event, help the Tower out (and comply with the FARs) by not barging into the Class D because NY didn't provide a timely frequency change.
- As always, the Tower at KHPN welcomes visitors. Visitors must have a passport and be a US Citizen. Call Mike Wold at 914-948-6520 if you would like to schedule a visit. Because of the cramped quarters, limit the group to about 5, and quieter times are more advantageous for learning as the controllers can spend more time talking to you.