Saturday, December 31, 2011

Atlanta Airport Control Tower Tour

Friday, December 30th was the last day of work for my friend and co-worker Tom.  After 44 years of government service the majority of which was working for the Federal Aviation Administration, and about 10 years working with me, he's decided to pack it in and retire.  Tom (and I) had wanted to take a tour of the new air traffic control tower at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport since it was constructed a few years ago.  We decided to use the occasion of Tom's last day at work as an opportunity to make the short drive from the Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) where we work to the airport for that tour.  I'd called the facility manager about two weeks ahead of time to set things up.  Realizing that it was the holidays and people get distracted during this time of the year, I called again a few days prior to our trip just to make sure we could get in.  Well, it just so happens that he the facility manager was on leave.  His wife probably was making him participate in Christmas.  Fortunately for us he had arranged for someone else to give us a tour.

Tom and I arrived at the tower just before 10am.  We got through security and met up with our guide.  As an Auburn engineer and former Facilities and Equipment (F&E) project manager, Tom had helped install some of the equipment of the old tower so this was especially interesting to him.  We went through all the equipment rooms working our way up to the tower cab where the controllers are located.  I brought my camera with me and took some pictures during the tour.  It was a cloudy day so some of the pictures might be a little gray.  I didn't take any pictures in the tower cab.  I didn't want to be impolite!

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport ranks as the world's busiest airport in both the number of passengers and flights. The airport accommodated 89 million passengers and 950,000 flights in 2010.  Construction of the 5th runway and the 398 foot high control tower were completed in 2006. The international concourse is still under construction with completion scheduled for April 2012.

The view of the Atlanta tower from Aviation Blvd.
A closer view of the tower
Tom waiting for me to take pictures
One of many equipment rooms
An antenna on the 12th or 13th floor protected from the weather by an air filled bladder
The view of the new Int'l Terminal from the tower cab through the dark tinted shade
Tom outside the tower on the catwalk
The new Int'l Terminal from the catwalk
The view from the catwalk to the parking lot below
Aircraft lineup on the taxiway ready to takeoff
What a great way to spend your last day at work.  Good Luck Tom it's been great working with you.

Thanks for reading.

3 comments:

  1. I'd love to be able to set up a tour of the tower. Is this something they do often or was it just a one time thing because of Tom retiring?

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  2. Danny - I'm pretty sure that was a special trip for Tom and I. Sadly, the tower manager passed away prematurely shortly after our trip. We had both known him for more than 20 years.

    ReplyDelete
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