Kern Co. pilots learn about air traffic control

Posted at 11:10 AM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 14:22:51-05

With recent plane and helicopter crashes in our region, 23ABC wanted to know what it takes to direct air traffic.

The class was held by the Bakersfield Flying Club and those who attended were mostly pilots and others who work directly with the airport.

Air traffic controllers talked about the areas the tower at meadows field covers, what it is they experience when they're looking at radar images or answering pilot calls.

One of the most important topics, according to the class leaders, was what to do in emergency situations.

They said if pilots are experiencing an emergency, they should tell traffic control as soon as they can.

One person in the audience asked what happens when a pilot's radar is lost.

"First call radar contact lost, and we try to reach you. If we don't reach you, we try going through pilots, can you reach them on the frequency? We try to go to other airports around the area and then if we cant find you, we call LA center and we send out search and rescue," said one of the instructors.

The air traffic controllers also said some pilots have had to use their cell phones to communicate with the tower - and that's okay.

Communication is important  because pilots cant see what's on the ground and air traffic controllers cant see what's in the air.

None of the instructors were able to speak to us on camera because they need clearance from the FAA.

But they say safety and emergency situations is really what the class was centered on tonight.


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