Welcome New Facility: Alexandria, La. Air Traffic Control Tower (AEX/DOD)
NATCA is excited to welcome the members of Alexandria (La.) Air Traffic Control Tower (AEX) to the NATCA family. AEX is one of NATCA’s Department of Defense (DoD) represented facilities. NATCA represents the air traffic control specialists who work for the DoD several branches of service. AEX has five NATCA members, and fully staffed could have seven members.
“As a NATCA FacRep, first and foremost, I look forward to making sure members receive fair treatment, have representation, and are able to provide input with management whether it be to improving working conditions, daily operations, procedures, etc.,” said AEX FacRep Damon Cain. “Also I look forward to promoting the safety and efficacy of operations for both controllers and the flying community at AEX.”
AEX opened services for the first time in August 1993, after the December 1992 official closure of England Air Force Base. On April 1, 1999, the Air National Guard assumed operational control for air traffic services. AEX is responsible for Class D Airspace and provides services 24/7, and ground-controlled approach services are also provided when operational. AEX works with Fort Polk Approach (POE) and Houston Center (ZHU).
AEX serves in a number of roles including as a staging base for both military training and transfer operations and disaster relief, as an intermodal transportation facility, as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staging base, and as an educational campus and flight school.
“Weather is a regular factor here. Heavy thunderstorms, hail, hurricanes, and tornados are a common way of life in Louisiana,” Cain said.
Given the unique roles that the facility serves, AEX controllers handle a wide variety of aircraft. “From military helicopters, your usual civilian general aviation, air carrier and air taxi, military fighters and training aircraft such as T6s and T38s, heavy fixed wing like KC135s and C5s, E145s to 747s. Pretty much, if you name it, we got it,” Cain said. “Pretty often we get military training operations for the U.S. Army base Fort Polk. During these exercises, is when we see the biggest influx in traffic volume with Army helicopters and Air Force fixed wing assets on top of our usual traffic.”
Welcome to the NATCA family, AEX members!