July 12, 2013 // Facility Spotlight: Pueblo Tower (PUB)
Pueblo Tower (PUB), Colo., has been 100 percent NATCA since before current, 14-year NATCA Facility Representative Bryan Sanford was there.
The Visual Flight Rules (VFR) tower is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. MDT. It’s 60 feet tall, commissioned in March 1965 and refurbished in 2004.
In its five-mile airspace radius, PUB controllers work a lot of business and personal jets that fly cross country and stop at PUB to refuel. PUB airport also has a contractor that runs the initial flight screen for the Air Force, so every Air Force pilot, including drone pilots, goes to PUB for six weeks. They fly Katanas and account for about 85 percent of PUB’s traffic. They fly Monday through Friday, mainly during daylight hours, so PUB traffic is condensed during those times.
Working at PUB is unique in several aspects, including that the weather is clear and sunny the majority of the year, making it an easy place from which planes can arrive and depart.
Sanford says PUB is also different than a lot of other towers because traffic during evenings and on holidays is slow.
“We have become a training facility for ATCT also, and have had a lot of success with getting new people checked out and moved on to other facilities,” he says.
PUB is also the fire fighting tanker base for southern Colorado and sees a lot of traffic from P2s and DC-10s.
“We have had three major fires already this summer, and due to the dry conditions expect the activity to continue,” says Sanford.
PUB NATCA members keep solidarity and camaraderie strong with regular events, including barbeques, deck parties, and golf outings. In their free time, PUB NATCA members enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, like hiking, biking and rock climbing, especially since PUB is close to the mountains.
“We are a smaller facility and that helps to foster a family atmosphere,” says Sanford. “I’ve been at PUB for 14 years and love it!”