There are 11 NATCA members out of 13 controllers at Waterloo (ALO). It is a level 5 tower and TRACON. The current tower was built in 1987. ALO is responsible for Class Delta airspace with Approach Control, working up to 10,000 feet and out to about 40 nautical miles. Des Moines, Rochester, and Cedar Rapids approaches are adjacent to ALO as well as the underlying Chicago Center and Minneapolis Center.
“Controllers at ALO mostly work small general aviation aircraft with some corporate traffic and regional carriers,” FacRep Keith Arehart explains
The airspace at ALO has its own complexities.
“Being adjacent to three approach controls and two centers results in a high level of coordination needed for most operations, which adds to work load,” Arehart says. “Frequent flight training adds to the traffic complexity and allows ALO to be an excellent training facility.”
In addition to a demanding airspace, there are some very popular events that affect ALO.
“Being less than 200 nautical miles away from Oshkosh means we get a lot of over flight traffic for EAA Air Venture every July,” Arehart explains. “We also have occasional breakfasts or dinner fly-ins at ALO and satellite airports. Large airshows every couple of years and Iowa Caucus traffic increase work load as well.”
ALO hosts small events for its membership, too.
“We’ve had bowling night for members and their families, as well as going away dinners when members transfer,” Arehart says. “ALO is an easy-going facility. Our members appreciate NATCA’s presence in the facility and their involvement in the operation. Our relationship with management is excellent, which makes being FacRep very easy.”