Tuesday, June 30
Oshkosh Tower visit
By Brady Lane at 6:00 PM
Flight log to date Hours flown: 32.7 | Days since I started: 259 | Cost: $4,885.60
Early in my training, I remember being really nervous before making even the simplest call to the tower. Now I've made a couple hundred calls and really enjoy "tower talk."
In fact, I even sit at home some evenings listening to my handheld radio for fun. (For those not within range, you can listen to a live stream of the Oshkosh tower for free at liveatc.net.)
An EAA friend recently encouraged me to set up a visit to the tower so I could meet some of the people I've been talking to for the last 8 months and see how they do what they do. It was an amazing visit! Not only was the view incredible, but it was great to meet the people behind the voices I am so familiar with.
I was able to watch them collect weather reports, make ATIS recordings, handle ground traffic as well as direct VFR and IFR traffic flying in the Oshkosh airspace.
I learned they enjoy aviation as much as I do. We were all ooooing as we watched two F-16 make a low pass over Runway 36. We talked about all sorts of things—Do they want me to make a "wake-up" call when I'm inbound from the practice area and they're busy? If I'm making right traffic for Runway 4 , do they want me to make my turn before or after the tower?
They welcomed my visit and seemed to appreciate my questions. I now feel I have a much better understanding of their workload and how I can help them help me as a pilot.
If you fly at a towered field, whether you're a student pilot or a pilot with hundreds of hours, I highly encourage you to schedule a visit to the tower and meet some of the controllers. The next time I fly, it's going to be a great feeling to know that voice coming from the tower is a friend.