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Aircraft Monitoring Forum - This is the place to discuss monitoring civilian aircraft communications.

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Old 05-18-2017, 9:00 AM
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Default GCA?

Am trying to locate a specific definition for the acronym GCA. Context would be 359.3000, listed to Pope A.F.B. KPOB GCA.. Best I can find is related to glidepath. I would think it should more likely be Ground Control Something. Thanks fer yer help..
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Old 05-18-2017, 9:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaFive View Post
Am trying to locate a specific definition for the acronym GCA. Context would be 359.3000, listed to Pope A.F.B. KPOB GCA.. Best I can find is related to glidepath. I would think it should more likely be Ground Control Something. Thanks fer yer help..
Ground Controlled Approach

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Old 05-18-2017, 9:05 AM
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Default GCA

Got it, thank you for that, take care.
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Old 05-18-2017, 9:10 AM
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No problem.
The concept is very interesting. Basically, you are following directions from the controller who is guiding the aircraft in based on radar images. It's as much (or more) training for the controller as it is for the pilot.
There are some very interesting videos available.

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Old 05-18-2017, 9:16 AM
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Default GCA

Ahh, I was wondering if it was radar, not voice modulation. Although highly unlikely, I am getting a CW soft static transmission all the way over here in Asheville this morning, I've never recorded 359.3000 over here before. Most likely some kind of electronic interference nearby
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Old 05-18-2017, 9:20 AM
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A Ground Controlled Approach very much uses voice. The pilot is basically playing Simon Says with the aircraft while the controller is telling them which way to turn, and when to stop turning (left, right, higher, lower, etc.), in order to stay on the approach path.

This is primarily practiced at military airfields.

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Old 05-18-2017, 9:23 AM
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Default GCA

Okay, that makes sense. Just some dustballs with static electricity floating through the air here then, haaaaa. Thank you for your help, it is appreciated.
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Old 05-18-2017, 9:32 AM
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The best way to imagine GCA is to think of not being able to see where you are going, like on a cloudy or foggy day. The GCA controller is giving the pilot instructions for such a scenario.
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Old 05-18-2017, 9:40 AM
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Default GCA

Wow, in that particular situation the pilot better not be hiding any "Dr. Phil" trust issues.. The controller better have nerves of steel. Today is a good day, I had never heard of this, now I can bank it in my Book of Knowledge.............Thanks
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Old 05-18-2017, 4:29 PM
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GCA is largely obsolete now - it was also used on aircraft carriers. Used mainly because it needed no extra equipment on the aircraft other than nerves of steel by the pilot who probably was entirely blind flying!! Most often a truck was parked at the side of the runway at the touchdown point - two radar antennas either electronically or mechanically swept an arc up and down and left-right - the controller in the van had two displays, both with a fan shaped scales, one of elevation and one of azimuth with the hopeful landing spot at the left bottom for elevation and centre left for azimuth. The aircraft was steered by the normal radar into roughly the right location and when the DCA controller saw him on his screens he started talking down the aircraft on another frequency by just giving the pilot his position relative to the desired flight profile " slightly high and left of path, 8 miles to touchdown, coming on to path, still slightly left, 6 miles, " etc etc then "wheels down, 100 feet" and hopefully a small thud from outside the truck - job done.
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Old 05-18-2017, 5:31 PM
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For an Instrument Rated pilot, a GCA approach is not really all that more stressful than any other type of Instrument Approach.
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