4th OSS RAPCON uses frequencies, keeps aviators safe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sabrina Fuller
  • 4th Fighter Wing

Throughout the skies are unseen frequencies that allow the 4th Operations Support Squadron Radar Approach Control Airmen to communicate with F-15E Strike Eagle aircrew at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, Dec. 13, 2022.

Each RAPCON unit has a different airspace and operation instructions, which ensures aviators and aircraft stay safe while in the air.

“If we didn't have radar, we wouldn't be able to provide efficient air traffic,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler West, 4th OSS air traffic control watch supervisor. “Operations would be dangerous for pilots without the proper communication and radar coverage.”

The 4th OSS RAPCON has a primary radar that goes out 60 nautical miles, and a secondary radar that reaches out 120 nautical miles that provides long-distance communication.

“We can utilize different frequencies to communicate to any number of aircraft,” said Senior Airman Daniel Hardy, 4th OSS air traffic control specialist. “These frequencies allow us to ensure that when an aircraft leaves or enters our sector, we can safely assume or relieve responsibility for that aircraft.”

RAPCON Airmen could be monitoring or communicating with over 30 aircraft at a time where they provide critical flight information to aircraft flying in and around the base, while also issuing traffic advisories, safety alerts, departure and arrival clearances.

“We communicate with pilots throughout the transition from departure to land,” said West. “We are giving them altitude assignments, ensuring no overflight traffic so that pilots progress through their flight plan safely with no conflicts.”

RAPCON Airmen train to provide effective communication and reliable information to pilots in an effort to keep them safe.

“Training is a never-ending cycle,” said West. “It's important to continue to improve yourself, you need to be prepared for every single day because lives are at stake.”