Scanning the Dallas/Fort Worth Area

D/FW Airport TRACON(Approach/Departure) Frequencies

The following excerpt from the Pilot's Air Traffic Control Handbook 2nd edition by Paul E. Illman (ISBN 0-8306-4138-6) ($21.95 TAB Books, Division of McGraw-Hill, Inc. Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294) summarizes "approach/departure" or TRACON, which we have in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It's a great book for anyone interested in know more about the nation's air traffic control system.

Two facilities are responsible for the orderly terminal arrivals and departures of both IFR and VFR aircraft. One is the air traffic control tower, and the other is approach/departure control. The tower exercises control over only traffic within the five-mile radius of the airport traffic area (ATA). Where it exists, approach/departure is responsible for separating aircraft, particularly IFR operations, in the area outward from the ATA to about a 35 mile radius around the primary airport. Additionally, approach/departure's airspace rises to the upward limits of its radar coverage responsibility, which might vary from approximately 10,000 feet to 15,000 feet AGA, depending upon the terminal.

The approach/departure facility for Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is TRACON, meaning Terminal Radar Control located in the tower at D/FW, but not in the windowed cab.

The information provided here is intended to make monitoring (scanning) the local air traffic control system more enjoyable. The frequencies are guaranteed to change and although I believe them to be very accurate as of the date above, I cannot make any promises.

The frequencies were gathered from several aviation sources including

Airport Facility Directory for South Central US effective 6/18/98 through 8/13/98

VRR Terminal Area Chart for Dallas-Fort Worth effective 3/26/98 through 10/8/98

Dallas-Fort Worth Sectional Aeronautical Chart effective 3/26/98 through 10/8/98

US Terminal Procedures South Central effective 6/18/98 through 8/13/98

(Notice how often these frequencies may change?)

To come up with the descriptions for the frequencies below I made a spreadsheet. Each time an approach or departure frequency was listed in one of the above sources, I entered the frequency (including duplicates) with a note about how it was described and the general area where it was to be used.

N, S,W,E of course mean North, South, West, and East

Numbers like 13R, 17C, are runways.

A means arrival

D means departure (I think in many cases, frequencies are use for both arriving and departing aircraft.)

One thing I haven't finished completely is an analysis of where to point your antenna to hear both sides of the conversation between the pilot and the air traffic controller. Initial monitoring with this aspect in mind indicates there is probably a remote site(s) west of me in Hurst, perhaps at the FAA facilities on Blue Mound road in north Fort Worth or maybe at the Fort Worth Center Keller site. If that's the case, then there is probably a similar site east of D/FW too. If you can hear both the controller and the pilot, you must be fairly close to the transmitter site.

Obviously, this is all amateur hobbyist speculation. I am very open to useful information and corrections, especially from a real live TRACON specialist. Please contact me if you have anything to suggest or correct. I plan to get a tour of TRACON some day soon, hopefully will learn lots more.

The following table lists the TRACON frequencies most likely used just prior to switching to D/FW Tower on arrival, as well as the tower frequency most likely to be used.

Runway Approach Frequencies Tower Frequencies Ground Control*
13R 133.15 118.1 W134.9 121.85
17C 127.075 E126.55 121.65
17L 119.4 E127.5 121.8
17R 127.075 E126.55 121.65
18L 118.425 W124.15 121.85
18R 118.425 W124.15 121.85
31R 135.5 125.2 E127.5 121.8
35C 127.075 E126.55 121.65
35L 127.075 E126.55 121.65
35R 119.4 E127.5 121.8
36L 118.425 W124.15 121.85
36R 118.425 W124.15 121.85

Here's a good map of the airport to get the big picture. Right click on it to save it to your computer.

*Ground control frequencies locations are approximate.

Here's a more complete table of TRACON frequencies.

Note: The UHF frequencies are used by military aircraft only and are typically paired with a VHF frequency. However, military aircraft may also use the VHF frequencies. Often you can hear the controller talking to civilian aircraft on both the UHF and VHF frequencies. Also, some VHF frequencies are often simulcast or worked with other VHF frequencies. The TRACON airspace is divided into "sectors" which are not necessarily nice pie cuts. They may be at different altitudes as well. All references to N, S, E, & W are relative to D/FW Airport. I suspect there are some frequencies that are used further out. As aircraft approach the their destination airport (not necessarily D/FW), they may be switch to another TRACON controller before they're "handed-off" to the tower at their termination point. As planes depart the area, the more than likely will be handed-off to Fort Worth ARTCC, which is basically responsible for air traffic between terminal control areas.

DFW Regional TRACON DFW E A* 119.4
DFW Regional TRACON DFW E A* 127.075
DFW Regional TRACON DFW NW (118.1)* 306.95
DFW Regional TRACON DFW NW A* 133.15
DFW Regional TRACON DFW NW A/D(306.95)* 118.1
DFW Regional TRACON DFW SE (125.2)* 343.65
DFW Regional TRACON DFW SE (343.65)* 125.2
DFW Regional TRACON DFW SE A* 135.5
DFW Regional TRACON DFW W A* 118.425
DFW Regional TRACON DFW W A* 119.875
DFW Regional TRACON E A* 125.025
DFW Regional TRACON E A* 125.275
DFW Regional TRACON E A* 133.525
DFW Regional TRACON E A* 319.25
DFW Regional TRACON E A* 397.85
DFW Regional TRACON E D (118.55)* 290.35
DFW Regional TRACON E D (290.35)* 118.55
DFW Regional TRACON E D(125.125)* 319.85
DFW Regional TRACON E D(319.85)* 125.125
DFW Regional TRACON Love NE (124.3)* 282.35
DFW Regional TRACON Love NE (282.35)* 124.3
DFW Regional TRACON N D* 124.825
DFW Regional TRACON NE A* 124.25
DFW Regional TRACON NE A* 254.35
DFW Regional TRACON NW A(119.05)* 253.5
DFW Regional TRACON NW A(253.5)* 119.05
DFW Regional TRACON SE A* 125.95
DFW Regional TRACON SE A* (125.8, 256.7) 338.2
DFW Regional TRACON SW A/D (120.5)(135.975)* 379.9
DFW Regional TRACON SW A/D (379.9)(257.95)* 135.975
DFW Regional TRACON SW A/D(379.9)* 120.5
DFW Regional TRACON W A (257.95) FWNAS* 125.8
DFW Regional TRACON W A(135.975)* 257.95
DFW Regional TRACON W A* (133.625) 319.95
DFW Regional TRACON W A* (319.95) 133.625
DFW Regional TRACON W D (126.475)* 363.15
DFW Regional TRACON W D (363.15)* 126.475
DFW Regional TRACON WS A* 362.35

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