Control Tower Guidelines

The following guidelines are suggestions for interacting with the FAA Control Tower at Aurora Municipal Airport:
  1. Listen to the frequency before you begin your initial transmission. This will reduce transmitting over pilots and controllers.
  2. On initial contact with the Tower or Ground Control state all the following information: Type Aircraft, Full Call Sign, Position, Intentions, and ATIS Code. Example: "Cessna 1234 Quebec, 8 Southeast, landing with Fox-trot." Or: "Cherokee 54967, below the tower, departing Southbound with Zulu."
  3. Be sure to state the ATIS code when you have it. Saying you "have the numbers" indicates that you know the runway in use, wind, and altimeter setting only. The controller would still have to read you any other important information that may be on the ATIS. Include any special information that will help the controller serve you better (student pilot, unfamiliar with the airport, touch and goes, full stop taxi backs, options, etc.). Conversely, Chicago Approach requests that, if VFR, you only say your type and call sign on initial contact, due to frequency congestion.
  4. A clearance to taxi to a runway is not a clearance to taxi on or across that runway. Here at Aurora the parallel taxiway to Rwy 15/33 (B) is on the far side of the runway. When assigned Rwy 15 for departure, hold short of it on Taxiway A until given permission to cross. When doing full stop taxi-backs on Rwy 33, hold short on Twy A, and plan on an intersection departure. Construction closures also complicate taxi routes. Unsure? Ask for "progressive taxi."
  5. Tower controllers expect an aircraft to taxi to the end of the assigned runway unless the pilot requests or is assigned an intersection departure. If assigned an intersection departure by the controller and the pilot wants the full length, s/he must advise.
  6. FARS state that, "The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to the operation of that aircraft." Listen carefully to instructions, and advise the Tower when you do not understand or cannot comply with an instruction. Do not let communication duties supercede control of your aircraft. This is especially important in an emergency. Fly the Airplane first. Tell us what you need as soon as it is safe to do so.
  7. To avoid congestion on the frequency, do not advise ready for take-off until you are in the number one position or able to taxi around other aircraft to the departure runway. An exception would be if the Number 1 aircraft calls ready, and you state, "ready in sequence." There is no need to re-state direction of flight unless it's changed from information given to ground control.
  8. When inbound to land, contact the Tower 7 to 15 miles out from the airport. If you are unable because of frequency congestion (and an emergency does not exist), hold outside the Class D airspace until you receive a clearance to proceed inbound.
  9. Give the Tower accurate position and distance reports. Pattern entry and landing sequence are based on your reports. To aid you and the Controller, become familiar with local reporting points (as shown on the Chicago VFR Terminal Area Chart). Enter the traffic pattern at the position the Tower instructs (base, crosswind, downwind). If unable to do so, advise. Base all distances from the middle of the airport.
  10. Aurora Airport lies within the Mode C Veil (30 nautical miles of ORD). Consequently, all aircraft should have the transponder with altitude encoding turned on at all times.
  11. Any time you are in contact with Aurora Tower within the Class D airspace, make sure your receiver volume is not too low to hear instructions. Frequency change approval is required while in ARR airspace. Upon leaving the boundaries this becomes optional.
  12. Try to be at a compatible speed with other aircraft. High performance aircraft are requested to enter the traffic pattern in a landing configuration, if feasible, with landing gear and approach flaps down. This will greatly aid landing sequence and spacing procedures.
  13. After landing, proceed without delay to the first turnoff and taxi clear of the runway. You are not clear of the runway until your aircraft is on the far side of the hold line. Use caution for other aircraft if you encroach on an intersecting taxiway. A crossing runway is also considered an intersection. If instructed to turn off on an intersecting runway, do so.
  14. Unless otherwise instructed by the Tower, contact ground control clear of the runway and advise on the first transmission your position and destination on the field. Listen carefully to the route of taxi given to you, especially any hold short instructions. It is mandatory for pilots to read back all hold short instructions. Do not switch over to 121.7 while still on the active runway. When instructed to "monitor ground," just listen as you taxi to parking.
  15. At times pilots will be instructed to extend upwinds, make 360 degree turns on downwind, and 270s from downwind to base, or base to final. Extending downwinds and overhead approaches may also be used for pattern control.
  16. Overhead approaches are given when traffic volume does not allow approval of a straight-in approach. You will be instructed to report 2 miles out, at or above 2000, for an overhead or possible straight-in approach. At the 2-mile report you will either receive approval for the straight-in, or instructions to continue at or above 2000'. When over the field, a sequence will be issued along with instructions to make right or left traffic. Once sequenced, descend into the pattern and follow your traffic.
  17. Pilots will occasionally be instructed to land on Runway 9 and hold short of Rwy 18/36 (3450' available), or land on Rwy 27 to hold short of Rwy 15/33 (4000' available), or land Rwy 15 and hold short of Rwy 9/27 (3900' available). If unable to comply (solo student and/or not familiar and/or not comfortable with Land And Hold Short Operations), advise the controller. If you are able, read back the hold short instructions. A row of pulsing white lights installed in the runway, and signs on both sides, aid in identifying the hold short point.
  18. If you are issued instructions to follow a specific aircraft and you don't see the traffic or lose sight of it, advise the controller and s/he will point out the traffic again. If you don't understand an instruction, let the controller know right away.
  19. If you want radar service for practice instrument approaches, you must contact Chicago Approach on 133.5. Receiving radar vectors for an approach is not an IFR clearance. If unable to maintain VMC, the pilot must ask for and receive an IFR clearance. If you want to do the approach on your own, and contact Aurora Tower, realize that no separation service will be provided, and that the tower can only give traffic advisories on a workload permitting basis. It is very important to accurately report at the point instructed by the Tower when making a practice approach, and to abandon the approach immediately at the point instructed. Do not plan on a low approach to any runway. This is especially important when practicing an ILS to runway 9 while runway 27 is in use.
  20. No Radio Procedures: Pilots planning to operate into or out of Aurora Airport NORDO must contact the Tower by telephone for approval on an individual basis. We must talk directly to the pilot so that we can issue specific instructions. We require that you provide an ETA plus or minus five minutes. If a radio fails after pattern entry instructions have been issued, circle 500' above the pattern (approximately 2000' MSL) and squawk 7600. Rock wings (daylight) or flash navigation/landing lights (night) to acknowledge instructions received by light gun.
  21. Hours of operation for the Aurora Control Tower are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time. After hours, the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency is 120.6, which also adjusts the Pilot Control Lighting. To obtain an IFR departure clearance on the ground at ARR during the hours closed, several methods are possible. First would be the use of remote ground control frequency 121.7 that will transmit directly to the Chicago departure controller. Another method is to call approach control 847-289-0926. Of course, the time honored phone call to Flight Service will also get you the clearance and a departure time frame (effective and void time).
  22. VFR weather minimums in ARR's Delta Airspace are a 1,000 foot ceiling and 3 miles visibility. If either falls below these values, you must ask for and receive a "Special VFR" clearance to fly in the airspace, maintaining at least 1 mile flight visibility and clear of clouds.
  23. "Clearance on Request" indicates the controller is requesting your IFR clearance from either the computer or from another controller. It does not mean that you, the pilot, should request it to be read to you.
  24. When departing IFR from the Chicago area, file radar vectors to your first fix from one that appears on the O'Hare Departure SID. These include: BAE, Musky, ELX, GIJ, EON, Newtt, RBS, BDF, MZV, Simmn, and DBQ. Filing direct to other than local destinations will result in re-routes.
  25. "Hold for Wake Turbulence" means circumstances dictate that the controller cannot issue you a takeoff clearance until some time has elapsed. If you want to depart earlier, you must use the word "waive." Ex: "I'll waive the wake turbulence."