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TRACON Center in Rancho Cordova Manages 20,000 Square Miles of Airspace

RANCHO CORDOVA-

Northern California TRACON will provide air traffic controls for the 100 to 120 planes that are expected to fly during this weekend’s California Capital Air Show.

“We are in direct contact with the Air Boss at the air show and he’ll let us know when it’s time to bring in the performers,” Northern California TRACON Frontline Manager Carlos Henley said.

FOX40 had access to a control room at TRACON, where air traffic control operators use radar scopes to separate planes in airspace.

“Our airspace is about 20,000 square miles and goes from Monterey Bay to Oroville. From the Pacific coast to the Sierra Nevada, and that includes Reno. We average about 1.5 million operations per year. That works out to between 4,500 and 5,000 a day,” Henley said.

Henley said TRACON will also change departure routes at Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento Executive Airport and McClellan Airport. In addition, Henley says they will also reserve a chunk of airspace around the California Capital Airshow that only performers can enter.

“You’re looking at a two-dimensional scope. And we’re working in 3 dimensions. There’s many waves of separating the aircraft, and often these not one way of doing it, sometimes it takes creativity to know if you turn this guy, it might be a factor over there,” said Henley.

Henley said through all the work air traffic controllers do at TRACON, safety is always their highest priority.

“The people who work in this room are really passionate about what they do. They’re really good at what they do, and are continuously getting better,” said Henley.