QUOTE (Jonathan Cox @ Apr 29 2012, 09:46 PM)
I've heard of some ARTCCs that have their tower controllers actually radar track aircraft, like overflights through the airspace. Others don't. Supposedly, we can't teach S2s the procedure since it's not part of the official VATUSA training, meaning we'd only be able to do it at designated major airports. Is that correct? Also, I'm curious what the reasons are for and against tower controllers using radar tracking.
First, there is no official VATUSA training. There are, however, official rating training standards in the GRP.
The only legitimate reason I would not allow an S2 to track any aircraft is if they don't know the concepts of radar. If they're midway through S3 training and/or know how to apply radar separation AND they understand the concepts of vertical and lateral airspace boundaries (ie. the tower's airspace boundaries), then more power to them. For me, it's based on what they know, not what rating they have.
Real world local control positions that track aircraft are known as LRACs -- limited radar approach controls. In these cases the overlying TRACON has delegated to local control airpsace in which it can apply radar separation using approved equipment, as opposed to being limited to applying only visual separation or time-based separation between aircraft. It is important to have tower airspace boundaries outlined in an SOP to most effectively use this procedure. Tower should already know what airspace it owns to begin with, but a lot of controllers don't realize that this is the case.