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November 06, 2013 // Facility Spotlight: Northern California TRACON

About 35 miles northeast of Sacramento lies the city of Cameron Park, Calif., home to Northern California TRACON (NCT).

NCT is the home of 191 current NATCA members, putting the facility at 92 percent membership.

This level 12 TRACON was commissioned in 2002, after the consolidation of four small TRACONs resulted in one large one, now known as NCT.

The TRACON’s airspace spans 19,336 square miles, from surface level up to 19,000 feet, and contains 20 ATCTs and over 150 airports with instrument approach procedures.

In this vast airspace, NCT controllers guide all types of commercial and military aircraft, including the unmanned Global Hawk.

NCT NATCA Facility Representative Steve McCoy says one unique aspect of working at NCT is the many different climates the controllers deal with, along with the weather associated with those climates.

“It can be cold and foggy in the Bay Area and clear and warm in the valley,” he says.

There are numerous events in the Bay Area that affect traffic for controllers working at NCT, including America’s Cup, Fleet Week, Reno Air Races, Oakland A’s games, Oakland Raiders’ games, San Francisco Giants’ games, and San Francisco 49ers’ games. There are also numerous golf tournaments held in the Monterey area including the Pebble Beach Pro AM, as well as the Infineon Raceway in Napa, which hosts many car and motorcycle races.

McCoy says that because the facility is large, there are many committees and workgroups in which NATCA members can participate, including an events committee that hosts quarterly “NATCA Appreciation Days,” as well as holiday parties for NATCA members and their family members. NCT also hosts many legislative events, including days at the ballpark and picnics.

McCoy says with all the workgroups and committees available for NATCA members to be involved with, facility NATCA members participate in the day-to-day workings of the facility as well as in determining what the future may hold regarding technology, airspace and procedures.

McCoy says the most rewarding part of his position as NCT Facility Representative is seeing the enthusiasm and hard work being put in by the next generation of NATCA leaders, and playing a small part in teaching and mentoring them on what it takes to create a fantastic place to work.