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Confused about how to visit a control tower?

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Confused about how to visit a control tower?

Old 16th May 2013, 15:49
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Confused about how to visit a control tower?

Dear Forum Members,

I've tried to contact a few local airports for a chance to visit the control towers. Heathrow told me that I need to organise this through NATS. It states in NATS' FAQs that I "will need to contact the tower you [I] wish to visit directly." So I'm not sure what exactly I'm supposed to do here. I would love to receive some guidance on the matter.

Thank you for the help, looking forward to a reply.
F. Blind U.K.

Last edited by FlyingBlindUK; 16th May 2013 at 15:49.
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Old 16th May 2013, 16:11
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Some airfields have stringent security regulations and it is quite difficult to arrange a visit unless you are a pilot ot controller. Heathrow is a good example. Just getting to the tower building takes a long time. For smaller airfields try telephoning and asking for the SATCO or Watch Manager. Again, they may refuse for various reasons.
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Old 16th May 2013, 16:48
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it would help us to guide you if your profile told us what part of the country you are, for instance around the London area to visit place like Heathrow, Gatwick Luton etc as HD says you would have problems getting through security, but if you tried Wycombe or Redhill, just a phone call might get you in.
I'm guessing you want to see ATC rather than AFIS, but if AFIS is sufficient, then just phone any of the units listed in Pooleys.(Denham, Elstree, Fairoaks etc)

Last edited by chevvron; 16th May 2013 at 16:52.
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Old 16th May 2013, 16:50
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Are there any known airports which would allow a student like me to visit their towers? London City Airport said that I must do this through NATS as did Heathrow. I've yet to receive a reply from Gatwick and should try Stansted also. Did anyone have success arranging a visit?

Edit: Chevvron it seems we cross posted. I live in London. I have attempted to contact the above airports but it seems living in a busy area isn't helping.

Last edited by FlyingBlindUK; 16th May 2013 at 16:56.
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Old 16th May 2013, 17:13
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If you're applying through NATS (which I think you are?) then request contact details through HR. Normally they only allow unit visits after you passed stage 2 (at least that's how it was when I went through), simply because it takes a lot of paperwork to arrange one.

That's my experience anyway, having now been to 3 NATS airfields (2 visits I arranged myself with help through contacts HR gave me, one as part of college training).

Last edited by Crazy Voyager; 16th May 2013 at 17:13.
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Old 16th May 2013, 19:03
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The simplest will be a tower that's landside, rather than airside, the security procedures should be less intrusive. I'd suggest Luton as the best option, good parking & public transport, & friendly folk.
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Old 16th May 2013, 21:36
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As crazy said any visit to a NATS unit now h to be arranged theough HR and they will only do it when you have progressed so far through the recruitment process.
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Old 16th May 2013, 22:34
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FlyingBlind,
Why have you developed this sudden, mad compulsion to visit a control tower?

Are you a commercial or student/qualified private pilot?
Are you applying to NATS as a prospective trainee ATCO?
Are you a terrorist?
Are you a journalist perchance?

Please tell us. It will help us point you in the right direction.

Last edited by ZOOKER; 16th May 2013 at 22:35.
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Old 16th May 2013, 22:54
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Apologies for not having made it obvious. I'm a trainee ATC on Stage #1 of the application for NATS. I want to visit a tower so I can get a taste of my future experience. I'm trying to do this as early as possible as I rather go see a tower before I become too busy with the application/college.

I'm going to take some advice from the lovely posters above and see if I can arrange a visit to Luton (which is relatively far compared to the other options) or if NATS could hook me up with a visit.
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Old 16th May 2013, 22:59
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Well that's all right then.
Good luck, and I'm sure someone will be along shortly to help you out.
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Old 16th May 2013, 23:47
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Last time I visited Luton tower, I tried the intercom at the gate and it wasn't working. They told me it was a 'fixed price' contract and the money had run out before they installed the intercom!!
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Old 17th May 2013, 00:50
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Steady, Zooker old chap. At your age you need to watch your blood pressure. Now sit down. The nurse will be along shortly!
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Old 17th May 2013, 11:28
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FlyingBlindUK you have a PM waiting.
If a FISO unit would be any help, try Blackbushe 01252 873338 or Fairoaks 01276 857300.

Last edited by chevvron; 17th May 2013 at 13:10.
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Old 20th May 2013, 14:00
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Hmm Chevvron, I tried to contact Luton but their answer machine (01582 405100) is anything but helpful and their contacts page is a clutter of irrelevant, to me, information (Contacts - London Luton Airport).

I can't seem to find any useful contact details to ask them for permission to tour around their tower. It looks as if my only chance of visiting one is here as most of the airports in London are too secure/busy.

Have you got any idea what details I can use to contact them and enquire about the tower?
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Old 20th May 2013, 14:06
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you can find Aerodrome contact information in the AIP, which you can find on the NATS website. The phone numbers you need are all in there
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