43 Air School has an advantage in having its own Air Traffic Services (ATS) College. We train Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) personnel for service both here and elsewhere in the country. The AFIS provides pilots of aircraft with details of other known traffic taking off, landing and flying in the vicinity of the airfield. Local knowledge is thus extremely important and this is one of the reasons why the AQFIS had to validate his/her license at the airfield at which they are going to operate.
Recent additions to our AFIS Team are Reinhard Odendaal and Kevin de Kock who have recently successfully validated at FAPA.
This is quite demanding work as Port Alfred is an extremely busy airfield. We have had as many as 6000 movements in a month and a busy day can produce 600 movements! When days like that come around everybody has to be wide awake; we refer to this a situational awareness! The AFIS play an important role in assisting pilots to update their “mental model of the world”, the cornerstone of safety in the air.
There are additional advantages to having an ATS College on Campus. Student pilots who do not have English as their mother tongue are able to spend time in the ATS Simulator and practise their RT (Radio Telephony); a defined phraseology which ensures that pilots and controllers clearly understand each other. Any pilot, especially a student pilot, will testify to the fact that it is far easier to practise your RT on the ground than in a busy flight environment!