Can I visit the tower?
Visits may be arranged by
contacting the tower Manager.
Is there a number to call so I can listen to the ATIS?
Currently there is not a number for the ATIS, however, pilots can call
743-9687 to listen to the ASOS weather.
Why doesn't Lafayette have radar?
Lafayette does not utilize a radar display in the tower cab because
FAA radar coverage is too poor. NATCA is currently working to try to
convince the FAA to provide a radar for LAF.
Line Up And Wait?
When a controller tells you to "Line Up And Wait" they expect you to
taxi onto the runway and hold in position awaiting a takeoff
clearance. The new phraseology replaces the older "Taxi Into
Position And Hold" clearnace.
What should I do if I
get to the 3 mile call, but can't get through to the tower?
The frequency at
Lafayette can get pretty congested at times, with more than a dozen
planes conducting touch and goes, while others are arriving and
departing the intersecting runways. In addition, student pilots
often require extra time on the frequency increasing congestion.
Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to get through to the
tower. If a pilot is told to report 3 miles from the field, but when
they get to 3 miles, they can't get through to the tower due to
frequency congestion, the pilot should use caution, good judgment,
keep trying to get through for a landing sequence, don't make any
unexpected maneuvers, and avoid other aircraft. Some pilots enter a
wider than normal downwind, and parallel aircraft already in the
pattern. Others pilots see aircraft on the downwind, and after
checking to see if there is other aircraft, they enter the downwind
from a 45 degree angle and follow. Pilots should be aware that
making unexpected 180's, or 360's in the immediate airport area can
be dangerous because there may be other inbound aircraft from the
the controller issue the route when giving taxi instructions
even when there is only one way to taxi?
Controllers are now required
to issue the route with the taxi instruction, even if there is only
one possible route. Pilots are
to read back the
routing. Pilots should just respond with their call sign,
assigned runway, and any hold short instructions if necessary.
Why does the tower sometimes ignore me when I call?
Controllers can be busy at times,
even when there does not seem to be much going on. Landline phone
calls, coordination with controllers at Lafayette and at other
facilities takes time. If you call during the last 5 minutes of the
hour, maybe they are making the ATIS. Sometimes there is radio
interference, or pilots transmit at the same time. The controller
most likely heard you and will answer as soon as they can. If you
think maybe they didn't hear you just try again.
Why do I have to
read back my runway assignment & hold-short instructions?
Safety! In an attempt to
reduce the number of runways incursions nationwide, the FAA
all controllers to ensure pilots read back ALL runway assignment
and hold-short instructions. The procedure is designed to make sure
the pilot and controller are both planning, and expecting, the same
thing. In addition, the controller could get in trouble if pilots
don't correctly read back these items completely. One
of tower controllers biggest pet-peeves is when they have to go
back to a pilot, and ask them to read back their runway assignment
or hold-short instructions, so it's on the tapes. Just remember,
it's for your safety.
Why does the
controller tell me "maintain VFR no separation services are being
provided" when I start a VFR practice approach to Lafayette?
Currently, there is no facility
approach services to Lafayette. Controllers at Lafayette will not
approve requests for practice approaches. However, controllers will
make every effort to give traffic advisories, regarding know or
observed aircraft, to all aircraft on frequency who wish to receive
them. Some pilots have mistaken the traffic advisories to mean that
the tower is approving the practice approach, and providing
separation services during the approach. The phraseology is stated
to ensure that the pilot is fully aware the approach has not been
approved, they are not receiving any separation services during the
approach, and they must maneuver as necessary to avoid other
aircraft, particularly other aircraft on an actual IFR approach.
Why must I have
the ATIS code before I can taxi out, or enter Lafayette airspace?
required to ensure all pilots have specific
information prior to arrival or departure. Information like local
weather, hazardous weather advisories, runways in use, instrument
approach in use, NOTAMS, wind shear, bird hazard advisories etc.
It's the controllers job to make things as safe as possible, and
making sure pilots have all the pertinent information available, is
part of that process.
When should I
contact Lafayette tower when I'm inbound to the Airport?
Pilots cannot enter the
delta airspace until they establish two-way radio communications
with the tower, so at least 5 miles out! Generally, most pilots call
inbound around 6-10 miles from the field. Controllers will usually
tell inbound pilots to report 3 miles from the filed, for a pattern
Why does the
controller sometimes say "not in sight" when issuing a landing
Sometimes pilots will
report north, when they are really south, or they may report on
final to runway 23, but they are actually on final to runway 10. In
the interest of aviation safety, controllers are required to say
"not in sight" in conjunction with a landing clearance if they can't
see the aircraft. Most of the time, pilots are where they are
supposed to be, but the controller is just not able to see them.
Without radar, it's very difficult for controllers to see single
engine aircraft more than 3 miles from the field, especially during
hazy summer days. The controllers make every possible effort to
visually spot inbounds prior to the 3 mile call, but sometimes they
just can't see the aircraft. However, anytime a pilot is told "not
in sight" they should consider the possibility they are at the wrong
airport, or reporting the wrong direction from the field, and they
should double check to verify the position they are reporting is
When I want to make a
short approach, when should I tell the controller?
As soon as possible,
upwind is ideal. We have a saying here, "keep no secrets, tell no
lies". If you want a short approach, don't keep it a secret until
your abeam the numbers, and there are 3 aircraft on final. There is
nothing that can be done at that point. If you tell the controller
what you want, in time for them to help you, they will! Extending
your upwind is the most practical option for achieving spacing to
make a power off landing, or short approach. If your on the downwind
behind 8 other aircraft, and you want a short approach, it's not
going to happen this time around. Tell the controller this time
around, you want a short approach on the next time around, so they
can make pattern adjustments, to accommodate your request. Remember,
Lafayette is a VFR tower, and we provide runway separation only.
It's the pilots job to follow other aircraft. After the short
approach is authorized, pilots still need to make adjustments to
leave enough space ahead, or the controller may have to issue a "go
Why does the
controller tell me to go around when I was following the aircraft
they told me too?
Lafayette is a VFR tower,
and controllers are required to provide runway separation and traffic
advisories to VFR aircraft. It's the pilots job to adjust flight
path, in order
to follow other traffic. If pilots do not adjust their flight path
enough in order to allow
for required runway separation, the controller will issue a "go
Why don't you use
position and hold more often?
Taxi into Position and Hold (TIPH) is used at Lafayette from time to
time, but it is becoming increasingly rare. Changes to national FAA
orders in 2006 and 2007 make TIPH operations nearly impossible at
Lafayette. In order to conduct position and hold operations, the
local controller can't be working any other position. Controllers at
Lafayette frequently work the controller in charge, flight data, and
or ground control positions at the same time they are working local
control, thereby prohibiting TIPH operations. In addition, in order
to use TIPH, no other aircraft can be cleared to use the same runway
until after the TIPH operation is complete. That means that
controllers would have to withhold landing or option clearances
until the TIPH operations are completed.
Why does the controller ask me to verify my lights are on?
Federal Regulations require
anti-collision lighting to be operated at all times, day or night,
if it's installed on the aircraft. In addition pilots are required
to operate navigation lights at night. Sometimes, pilots will turn
off aircraft lighting when conducting night operations in the
pattern. Controllers will ask the pilot to verify the lights are in
the on position, prior to requiring them to make a full stop
If I don't understand the instructions given by the tower,
what should I do?
Tell them! Ask them to "say again", or "slow down". If
their instructions seem unclear to you tell the controller you don't
understand. Don't be afraid to speak up and let the controller know
you do not understand. It's critical that pilots do what controllers
are expecting them to do. Controllers would much rather take the
time to say it again slower and clearer than let everything get
The controller told me to make right traffic, but I'm on the left
side not the right, what should I do?
If a controller gives you an instruction that you think seems wrong,
tell them your concern. If you are inbound from the west, and the
controller tells you to make left traffic for runway 23, don't just
assume they want you to fly though the pattern and over the runway
to join the other downwind. Although highly unlikely, they might
have made a mistake ;-). Ask them to verify the instruction, and
don't be afraid to state your concern. Better to be safe than sorry.