June 18, 2015 // Facility Spotlight: Seattle Tower (SEA)
Seattle Tower (SEA) is a level 9 facility with 26 NATCA members. The control tower was commissioned in 2005. SEA has Class B and D airspace, with Seattle Approach and Boeing field surrounding it.
“The fleet mix we work includes B737s, A320s, E170s, CRJs, DH8s, H/330s, H/B747s, H/B787s, H/B767s, H/B777s, and H/DC10s,” FacRep Samantha Navarro describes.
“What makes us different from other facilities is that we have three parallel runways, on the same side of the airport,” says Navarro. “Like some facilities, our terminal is on one side of the airport, but there is not much room in between the movement and non-movement area. Seattle is quickly growing, going from roughly the 25th busiest to the 15th busiest [airport] all within the last year. We are expected to have quite a jump in traffic this coming season. We have multiple satellite airports in the vicinity, but Boeing Field, being the main one, can quickly alter our operations due to our undependable weather. Noise abatement restrictions are also a large player in our operation.”
In addition to an exciting and growing airspace, SEA handles events throughout the year that affects traffic flow at the facility.
“The biggest event of the year for us is SeaFair,” Navarro says. “Though it is not an event that we put on, it is an event that affects us by allowing us to see our own airliners put on a show. I don’t know if there is anything quite like seeing a heavy Airbus make a hard turn right after getting airborne.”
“Our local atmosphere generally speaking is pretty laid back,” explains Navarro. “Like any local, there are things that definitely kick us into gear. Our local truly is a family, loving each other one moment and not so much the next. It’s a big family of brothers and sisters at all stages of growing up.”
“The best part of being the NATCA FacRep at SEA is the amount of faith these guys have in me,” says Navarro. “Even if I think things are going down, they surprise me with the smallest amount of faith that gets me going again and confirms that our facility is a great place to be. We are a facility of controllers who love our job, our pilots, and take pride in it every day when we come to work and walk into our second home.”