Chicago Tracon, Glider Code 1201

A call I had made yesterday to the Chicago Tracon regarding the
subject was returned today. A very friendly lady told me that they
are aware of the changes to the NBCAP (National Beacon Code Allocation
Plan) regarding allocation of a discreet transponder code for
gliders. I was told that effective immediately we should squawk 1201
on glider flights when not in contact with ATC. She also told me that
her agency is considering a software change that will assign a special
symbol to targets squawking 1201 to make it easier for controllers.
Some two years ago I made an effort to contact the same agency
regarding a dedicated glider code citing agreements at the Reno and
Philly Tracons. The again very polite answer then was: we are not
interested right now. Given the density and flight levels of
commercial airliners going into the Chicago airports, the Chicago
Glider Club has promoted transponder usage for many years. All our
club gliders and the two tugs fly with transponders and about 40% of
private gliders are Mode C equipped.
We are very pleased with this development, thanks go to whoever pushed
for this change.

Herb Kilian
President Chicagoland Glider Council