Posts: 972
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 7:42 am

What Exactly Is Tracon?

Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:29 am

Hey, my neighbor who works at TRACON in Westbury, NY ( I think) invited me to come there and look around some day. What exactly do they do and handle at a TRACON center?
Posts: 3467
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

RE: What Exactly Is Tracon?

Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:34 am

Terminal Radar and Approach CONtrol.

Essentially aircraft operating within controlled terminal airspace around an airport, including those intending to land.
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Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 7:42 am

RE: What Exactly Is Tracon?

Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:36 am

so when are aircraft switched from tracon to the approach at the tower?
Posts: 1357
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 11:14 pm

RE: What Exactly Is Tracon?

Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:10 am

TRACON is approach. If you are on an airline flight, Center hands you off to TRACON, and then they hand you off to the tower, usually once you are established on the visual or the ILS, or whatever approach you are doing.
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
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Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

RE: Approach/departure

Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:34 am

If you go to myairplane.com and look at the STARs coming into the New York area, you'll see they often tell pilots to "expect clearance" to cross so-and-so fix at altitude so-and-so. That clearance will come from the Center (New York Center is in Ronkonkoma), and typically Center will hand off the flight to Approach (in Westbury) as it's approaching that fix.

For instance, flights into JFK from the west use the LENDY arrival and are cleared by NY Center to descend to FL190. As the flight is getting down toward that altitude, maybe 5-10 miles WNW of Paterson NJ, Center tells them to contact Approach on 127.4 MHz. That's when they start talking to Westbury.

Flights out of NY call Westbury a minute or so after takeoff and mostly stay with them until they're up around 12000-15000 ft.
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

RE: What Exactly Is Tracon?

Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:48 am

Go see it. He can work it out so you get to sit with a controller and listen in.
I do this for people all the time.

I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
Posts: 2477
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 5:31 am

RE: What Exactly Is Tracon?

Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:24 am

Take your neighbor up on this offer. I was fortunate enough to visit the Philadelphia TRACON last summer and it was very cool to see the other side of the system at work. You can just stroll around and watch them working many airplanes at a time and maybe chat with the ones that aren't as busy. Not many people get to go to a TRACON -- don't pass this up!


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