Posts: 180
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2001 8:04 am

Artcc And Tracon

Tue Jul 30, 2002 2:35 am

What is the difference between Air traffic control centers, and Terminal radar approach control. What does each one do, which one is the center, we are they located.

Ejay MD-11
Posts: 5017
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Artcc And Tracon

Tue Jul 30, 2002 3:22 am

ARTCC stands for Air Route Traffic Control Center. TRACON stands for Terminal Radar Approach Control.

Centers cover a vast amount of areas covering a vast amount of airspace, that can include many states (or outside of the US, many countries). These mainly handle enroute aircraft, from as low as 6000 feet, to 40,000. For example, Los Angeles Center, goes from Mexico, to central California, to partly into AZ and UT. It is based in Palmdale, CA.

TRACONS, cover a smaller area, although they can get just as big, but just control a lower altitude. These sequence aircraft into and out of airports. SOCAL approach, covers from San Diego, to northern Los Angeles. It is based in San Diego.

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
Posts: 3094
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 6:40 am

RE: Artcc And Tracon

Tue Jul 30, 2002 6:02 am

ARTCC are centers.... ie Miami, New York, Jacsonville. Ceneters control enroute activity.

TRACONS are approch/departure control.... ie New york appraoch/departure. Approach/departure control transitions the aircraft from an airport/enroute environemt to the approach/departure environment. TRACONS receive traffic departing airports, and situate and clear aircraft arriving for an approach.

The NY TRACON For JFK/Laguardia is located on Stuart Avenue inGarden City about 15 miles from the airport. Idon't know where the NY ARTCC is

The Miami ARTCC is located about 1 miles from the airport on the north side. I don't know where the Maimi TRACON is.


Posts: 180
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2001 8:04 am

RE: Artcc And Tracon

Thu Aug 01, 2002 7:52 am

So when and how are you handed over between the two.

Posts: 2450
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 5:31 am

RE: Artcc And Tracon

Thu Aug 01, 2002 9:30 am

So when and how are you handed over between the two.

Here's a typical departure from JFK on a flight to the west coast.

Takeoff JFK Departure frequency 135.9
About 5000ft NY departure on 124.75
About 10-12K feet NY ARTCC on 134.6
Passing about FL240-FL280 NY ARTCC on 134.32
Leveled out, then the ARTCCs just change every X miles depending on what sector. Each ARTCC is divided in to smaller sectors within it, just like states inside of a country. For example, here's the names of all the different sectors of airspace in New York Center with the frequency next to it:

Barnegat 132.15
Barnstable 135.8 125.92
Big Flat 132.2 133.47
Colts Neck 118.97
Douglaston 133.05 134.47
Elk Mountain 134.45 132.17 128.5
Flint Hill 135.75 132.1 134.6
Huguenot 132.6
Joliet 133.67 132.5
Matawan 125.32 127.17
Millville 134.32
Modena 135.45
Nantucket 121.12
North Mountain 133.5 120.97 118.45 128.57
Phillipsburg 134.8 132.87
Sayre 133.35
Ship Bottom 134.55 133.05

For approach into EWR for example, it goes like this:
Washington center 126.87
Down to FL270 132.52
Cleared down to 8000' via the DYLIN arrival on that frequency,
then at around 8000-11000' switch to Newark Approach on 128.55 (that's the TRACON)
Then switch to final approach at 6000' for vectors to the airport.
EWR tower 118.3 on 5nm final to 20nm.

Here's a link to a map of the USAs ARTCCs:

Hope that helps!


Posts: 6233
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

RE: Artcc And Tracon

Thu Aug 01, 2002 9:38 am

I'm no expert but:

It seems they have letters of agreement spelling out the responsibilities of each. Here in the Bay Area you might see an aircraft departing Oakland routed over the Linden VOR and another aircraft out of SFO also routed over Linden. So one has to follow the other, and it's the Tracon's job to get them sequenced. They can't hand the two aircraft off to Oakland Center with the two aircraft flying side-by-side five miles apart.

When there are no such complications flights east and north get handed off to the Center when they're climbing thru 8000-10000 ft, 12-15 nm from the airport. But out of the New York area departing flights are often level at 17,000 ft when they start talking to Center.

If you look at the published arrival charts you'll usually see "expect to cross XXXXX at 11,000 ft 250 kt" or whatever altitude. That point is the gate through which arrivals are fed to the Tracon, and they'll start talking to them a few miles before that point, usually near the end of their descent to that altitude. So flights from the north into Oakland and Newark are approaching 7000 ft when they contact the Tracon, but flights from the west into JFK are approaching FL 190.
Posts: 292
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 4:33 am

RE: Artcc And Tracon

Thu Aug 01, 2002 11:22 pm

An approach control works planes from the ground to 10 to 14 thousand feet within a thirty to forty mile radius of it's primary airport. Think of a TRACON as an overgrown approach control that is usually found at busier airports or groups of airports, their airspace is usually a couple of thousand feet taller and ten to fifty miles wider than a run-of-the-mill approach control. Centers extend up to 60,000 feet above approach controls and in areas where there are no approach controls we control down to the ground such as my airspace in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. I routinely clear aircraft into and out of small airports like London, KY (LOZ) and Bluefield, WV (BLF).

Indy Center (ZID) has 41 sectors with a total workforce of approximately 410 controllers. Our stratums are: Low altitude sectors - ground or top of approach control airspace up to Flight Level 230(23,000 feet). High altitude sectors - FL240 to FL310. Super high sectors - FL330 to FL600. And a few intermediate altitude sectors - FL310 to FL330.

To go along with the map link provided by GoBoeing here is a list of the Centers ID and location listed in order from busiest to least busy from January to June of this year with their number of aircraft worked during that time period in millions of aircraft.

ZOB -- Cleveland -- 1.49 million
ZTL -- Atlanta -- 1.47
ZAU -- Chicago -- 1.38
ZNY -- New York -- 1.36
ZID -- Indianapolis -- 1.31
ZDC -- Washington -- 1.29
ZMA -- Miami -- 1.16
ZJX -- Jacksonville -- 1.14
ZME -- Memphis -- 1.09
ZKC -- Kansas City -- 1.05
ZFW -- Fort Worth -- 1.04
ZHU -- Houston -- 1.00
ZLA -- Los Angeles -- 1.00
ZMP -- Minneapolis -- 0.99
ZAB -- Albuquerque -- 0.89
ZBW -- Boston -- 0.86
ZDV -- Denver -- 0.83
ZOA -- Oakland -- 0.79
ZLC -- Salt Lake City -- 0.75
ZSE -- Seattle -- 0.63
ZAN -- Anchorage -- 0.28

Hope this helps.

I'm not joking! This is my job!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: micschacht and 3 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos