August 21, 2014 // Facility Spotlight: Rochester ATCT
The Rochester International Airport Control Tower (RST) was commissioned on Sept. 5, 1960, and the Tracab was commissioned on Sept. 1, 1973. There are 17 controllers that work at RST and all are NATCA members!
This level 5 facility is responsible for Class D airspace.
There are no other FAA towers in RST’s airspace, but there are satellite airports in seven Minnesota locations: Albert Lea, Austin, Owatonna, Dodge Center, Fillmore County, Rushford, and Chatfield, as well as Osage, Iowa.
Controllers at RST work all kinds of aircraft including small GA, corporate jets, regional jets, and military C-130s. However, due to the airport’s close proximity to the Mayo Clinic, controllers work mostly business jets.
The Mayo Clinic was recently named the best overall hospital in the country, so a lot of Medevac aircraft fly into RST.
Planes fly through RST’s airspace during the EAA AirVenture Cup air race that runs from Mitchell, S.D., to Wausau, Wisc., once a year.
RST controllers come together outside of work for solidarity events such as holiday parties and barbeques.
“Generally speaking we run a smooth operation. Everyone pitches in to help each other out and will take on duties when need be,” says RST Facility Representative Ben Madsen. “The best part of being the rep is constantly trying to improve the overall work experience for all the controllers here. If you keep making small improvements here and there, there is always something in the short term to look forward to.”