February 26, 2015 // Facility Spotlight: Tampa ATCT/TRACON
There are 57 NATCA members at Tampa (TPA), a level 10 up/down facility and a proud 100 percent NATCA local.
Commissioned in 1972, its airspace extends from Brooksville to the north, Venice to the south, Clearwater to the west, and Winter Haven to the East. That’s 106 miles north to south and 82 miles east to west. TPA members in their TRACON run approaches to major international airports like St. Petersburg and Sarasota/Bradenton, as well as MacDill Air Force Base and numerous satellite airports.
TPA is the 31st busiest commercial airport in the United States and is also the birthplace of commercial aviation, 100 years ago this year. FacRep Jason Rebmann adds that TPA controllers work a varied fleet, with everything from Super Cubs to 747s, as well as a mix of military aircraft. Facilities that TPA works with are Jacksonville, Central Florida TRACON, Page Field, Jacksonville Center, and Miami Center.
One of the things that sets TPA apart from other facilities is that it is the lightning capital of the U.S..
“TPA works aircraft through severe weather and thunderstorms, does a great deal of flight training mixed with air carrier operations and military, has clusters of airports in close proximity to one another, and a great view from the tower of our beautiful sunsets over Tampa Bay,” says Rebmann.
Adding to the unique airspace are special events including Sun ‘n Fun, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, When Pigs Fly South, as well as general aviation fly-ins. “We have TFRs over Raymond James Stadium (home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), which is less than two miles from TPA airport, fireworks from the Yankees spring training stadium, and laser light shows at Busch Gardens,” adds Rebmann.
TPA holds many NATCA and solidarity events at places like Tampa Bay Rays games, annual Christmas parties, and facility potluck luncheons on other holidays such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day.
“TPA NATCA just purchased a grill, so we look forward to facility cookouts. We also host retirement parties for each of our retiring members,” explains Rebmann.
“TPA has 100 percent membership and we have many members volunteering to help on committees and collaborative workgroups, as well as organizing special events. We have many members who are participating in NATCA training, such as OWCP, TRB, Legislative, and drug/alcohol testing,” says Rebmann. “The best part about being the rep here is the chance to move our facility forward. We are working to increase collaboration, install new modern equipment, and fix polices and procedures. We are also developing a new TPA NATCA logo and motto: ‘Change you can feel.’”