ATCA Bulletin - January 2015

Page 1

Air Traffic Control Association

No. 1, 2015

Series: A Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller In This Issue: »» Announcing ATCA’s Website Relaunch »» Aviation Book Review: Managing the Skies »» Aviation History Corner »» And More

President’s Message

No. 1, 2015 Published for

By Peter F. Dumont, President & CEO, Air Traffic Control Association

Heading into the New Year


t is well into January and I suspect that most New Year’s resolutions are starting to wane. ATCA does not start each new year with resolutions. Instead, we strive to build upon our membership benefits and services all year long. Of course, we do take the coming of the new year to evaluate our successes and challenges of the past year and develop long-term, tactical strategies for the coming year. For example, in 2015 we are working closely with the FAA to team up for the Atlantic City Technical Symposium and our 60th Annual Conference and Exposition in November. Look for significant changes in these events’ Exhibit Halls, including an increased FAA participation and restructuring of Hall layout and traffic. Specifics on this will be released in February. Have you been on the ATCA website recently? If your answer is yes, let me apologize. Our current website provider has fallen flat of our expectations. To continue to improve and provide value for you, the member, we are in the process of updating both our website and member database. The first iteration of the improved website will be launched in the next few weeks, which will provide you with increased user capabilities. Throughout the rest of this year we will incrementally increase

capabilities and integrate new member services. We expect the entire project to be complete by the end of June 2015. We would appreciate any feedback you have along the way. There are a few other projects in the works that will provide opportunities for you to participate. As I have mentioned previously we are putting together a Cyber Security Committee. Please contact our program manager, Paul Planzer, at if you would like to participate. In addition, we will also be creating a few ad-hoc committees to help complete specific products to support some projects we will be doing with the FAA, other government agencies, and other associations. Look for more information regarding these committees as the year progresses. Unfortunately, our office manager Mindy Soranno will be leaving us after our third World ATM Congress this March. Her husband has been promoted and transferred to Ohio. We will all miss her and wish her well. Ashley Haskins has been hired to fill the position and we look forward to her joining our ATCA team. Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing you and continuing to bring you the benefits of membership throughout 2015.

1101 King Street, Suite 300 Alexandria, VA 22314 Phone: 703-299-2430 Fax: 703-299-2437 President & CEO: Peter F. Dumont

Director, Communications: Marion Brophy

Communications Consultant: Mary Johnson Writer/Editor: Kristen Knott

Formed in 1956 as a non-profit, professional membership association, ATCA represents the interests of all professionals in the air traffic control industry. Dedicated to the advancement of professionalism and technology of air traffic control, ATCA has grown to represent several thousand individuals and organizations managing and providing ATC services and equipment around the world. Published by

140 Broadway, 46th Floor New York, NY 10005 Toll-free: 866-953-2189 Toll-free Fax: 877-565-8557 President: Jeff Lester

Vice President & Publisher: Sean Davis Editorial Director: Jill Harris

Managing Editor: Kristy Rydz Art Director: Myles O’Reilly

Senior Graphic Designer: John Lyttle Graphic Designers: Crystal Carrette, Jessica Landry, Gayl Punzalan Advertising Sales: Quinn Bogusky, Louise Peterson Accounting: Nikki Manalo Distribution: Jen Holmes

© 2015 Air Traffic Control Association, Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of ATCA.

Upcoming Events March 10-12, 2015

World ATM Congress 2015 Madrid, Spain


ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2015

May 12-14, 2015

ATCA Technical Symposium Resorts Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, New Jersey

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors of the editorial articles contained in this publication are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of ATCA. Printed in Canada. Please recycle where facilities exist.

A Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller:

Josh Waggener

Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center By Kristen Knott, ATCA Writer/Editor


here would ATCA be without air traffic controllers? Ever wondered what it’s like to spend a day in their shoes? ATCA breaks it down for its readers as part of our Day in the Life series. While the first part of our series ( explored one air traffic controller’s typical day in a stereotypical tower environment, we now flip the coin and uncover what it’s like to be a controller at an Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), or En Route Center. The Denver ARTCC (a.k.a. “Denver Center”), where air traffic controller Josh Waggener has called home for the last eight years, is the 15th busiest En Route Center in the United States.


ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2015

Born in Washington, D.C., Josh began his 14-year career with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Cheyenne, WY, after a stint with the Wyoming National Guard. “I never wanted a 9:00 to 5:00 desk job,” said Waggener. “I originally did medivacs in the military and was looking to do something different, so I decided to give [a career as an air traffic controller] a try.” Josh added that becoming a controller met his expectations; although the same cannot be said for every shift. Below, Josh maps out one such shift and explains why summer is the toughest season at the Denver Center: 5:00 a.m. – Wake up.

5:45 a.m. – Leave for work. 6:30 a.m. – Start shift; plug in. As one might expect, much of Josh’s work day revolves around activating his headset and managing air traffic. The Denver Center is split into six areas, with 12-15 controllers per shift for each area, all with a separate front line manager in charge of each shift. While controlling his assigned airspace, Josh is constantly interacting with the controllers on either side of him. 8:00 a.m. – Break. There’s a short lull after the typical morning arrivals from the East Coast. 9:00 a.m. – Works another arrival post. 10:00 a.m. – Computer currency training. This usually occurs once a week;

it’s imperative that controllers stay up-todate on the latest technology in their field. 12:00 p.m. – Break for lunch. Unlike a control tower, ARTCCs have no windows. Controllers have to maximize their breaks and move around. “Here, if you have to go to the bathroom, you have to wait for someone to come back from a break; you can’t just get up and go…it’s things like that people never think about at work,” said Waggener. On top of his regular controller responsibilities, Josh is also the NATCA representative for the Denver Center facility. He utilizes his breaks to fulfill his NATCA duties. This involves everything from dealing with safety issues, meeting

with management, and negotiating shift and leave schedules. “I get official time to deal with NATCA business, but my cell phone is always on,” said Waggener. “I work in the office more than most [controllers].” 12:45 p.m. – Thunderstorm strikes. Josh rates the average stress level of his job as a three or four out of 10. However, “it can go from a one to a 10 in no time,” he said, adding that the summer is much more challenging because of the ever-present threat of sudden thunderstorms. “A thunderstorm will hit at a specific arrival gate and shuts it off; then you have to scramble to move your arrivals,” said Waggener. “Traffic management helps but

then you have to change everything you’re doing; it can be a pretty hairy situation.” Josh added that approximately 80 percent of afternoon shifts last summer were affected by thunderstorms. 2:30 p.m. – End shift; home to spend time with his wife and two kids. While being an air traffic controller can be stressful, Josh wouldn’t have it any other way. He thrives in high-pressure situations and loves the comradery with his fellow controllers. “You sit back at the end of the day with the people you worked with to put out a good product,” said Waggener. “You’re able to unplug, go home, and not think about it after you leave; it makes a difference.”

ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2015

Evan Meyer/Shutterstock

“Traffic management helps but then you have to change everything you’re doing; it can be a pretty hairy situation.” - Josh Waggener


ATCA’s Aviation Book Review

Managing the Skies A fact-filled book that sheds light on the FAA Reauthorization


or all of us who care about the future of the National Airspace System and the NextGen workforce, I highly recommend reading Managing the Skies in light of Chairman Schuster’s call for a “transformational” discussion of the 2015 FAA Reauthorization. I am providing my copy of this book to ATCA to loan to anyone who would like to read it. Although it was written several years ago, it’s still relevant to this year’s discussions. In fact, the three main issues with the current FAA structure identified in the book are essentially the same ones called out in the recent hearings. Chapter 15, p. 131 identifies them as: • Disconnect between cost drivers and revenue drivers • Diffused accountability • Lack of organizational independence

The 200-page book is well organized, so that various audiences can read some or all of it based on individual background.

Section One’s three chapters set the stage with a discussion of the global challenge of continuing traffic growth, how ATC works, and the evolution of air navigation services. And although I have been involved in ATC since 1968, I found much of interest here. Section Two has four chapters, which provide a detailed review of experience in mature aviation markets. Transformations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and Europe are discussed in detail – including challenges posed by the aftermath of 9/11 and the importance of collaboration with the controller workforce. Section Three (six chapters) discusses approaches taken in emerging markets in the rest of the world. Section Four’s three chapters discuss the evolution of United States ATC, current challenges, and alternatives for reform. And Section Five adds an important analysis of cost-cutting measures and lessons learned, including labor issues. I hope that the authors would consider an update of this comprehensive book. I urge my fellow ATCA members to consider the critical need for reform upon which we all agree - and weigh the

Quang Ho/Shutterstock

By Mike Ball, ATCA Board Member and Publications Committee Member

facts and arguments presented in this book as they develop their positions on the 2015 Reauthorization.

Have an aviationrelated book you’d like to review for a future issue? Contact Kristen Knott at 6

ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2015

Save the Date The 2015 ATCA Technical Symposium May 12-14, 2015 Don’t miss out on Tech Center Tuesday! For more information go to




10-12 March 2015 | Madrid, Spain IFEMA, Feria de Madrid Register today at


s part of ATCA’s efforts to continuously improve our services, we took it seriously when our members had issues accessing our website and interacting with our database. When attempts to correct these with our current providers proved fruitless, our staff conducted an extensive search of top providers to improve our members’ user experience. ATCA is excited to announce that we

are currently in the final stages of creating a new website. By the end of February 2015, the website will have improved functionality throughout, allowing members to manage their own information. Features will include one-click navigation and mobility, wide screen access to the website on your phone and tablet, and much more. These improvements will be followed up in April with a new look and complete enhancement

of We welcome your feedback as we transition forward with these improvements. We remain committed to adding value for your support and keeping you informed of our efforts to do so.


Announcing ATCA’s Website Relaunch Tim Wagner ATCA Membership Manager

Committed to Providing Proven, Cost-Efficient

Training Solutions


for the

CACI is a leading provider of a wide range of aviation and aerospace offerings, with core competencies in: Enterprise training Advanced simulation ■ Remote and classroom education With experience managing and delivering training services to over 40 government organizations in the United States and around the world, CACI assures the FAA of high-quality, cost-efficient solutions that produce results. ■ ■

For more information:

Suzan Zimmerman, Senior Vice President I N F O R M AT I O N D E P L O Y E D . © CACI 2014 A355_1402




ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2015


Aviation History Corner

“One day after the expiration of a United Nations deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, military aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition began Operation Desert Storm, striking targets in Iraq and occupied Kuwait. At 7:00 p.m. EST, shortly after the attacks began, the FAA declared Level 4 airport/airline security, the highest domestic level ever imposed. On January 17, the Department of Defense activated Level 2 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) program, calling upon U.S. airlines to provide additional transport aircraft. American and allied troops routed Iraqi forces in a ground assault that began on February 24, and a U.S.-proclaimed ceasefire took effect at midnight EST on February 27.”

Midwest ATC was honored to be awarded the 2014 IHS Jane’s Runway Award for its Kandahar Runway Efficiency program at the CANSO ATM dinner in Madrid, Spain on 3 March. After being selected in 2003 as the first company to provide air traffic control and airfield management services in a combat zone for the U.S. Department of Defense, Midwest ATC continues to deliver safe and reliable aviation services throughout Afghanistan. That this award was earned on one of the world’s busiest single runway airfields while at the same time supporting intense combat operations is testament to the professionalism and dedication of the Midwest team at Kandahar AB. We are proud to celebrate their accomplishments as indicative of our commitment to safety and professional performance. Whether you are looking for air traffic control, weather observing and reporting, training, ground handling, or airfield management, Midwest has over 35 years of global experience and expertise to assist in the successful accomplishment of your mission. With a track record of servicing over 100 facilities across nine countries, Midwest is a proven low-risk, best value partner with tested operational procedures to ensure the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic. Its team of supremely qualified aviation experts is dedicated to providing clients with an outstanding level of safety and commitment throughout the world. Using Midwest’s flexible and professional approach will enable you to achieve success.

Midwest Air Traffic Control Service, Inc. 7285 W 132nd Street, Suite 340, Overland Park, KS 66213 1514682_Midwest ATC.indd 1


ATCA Bulletin  |  No. 1, 2015

Phone: + 1 913 782 7082 Web: 13/03/2014 12:03


On January 16, 1991…


Transforming the air traffic management (ATM) system is essential for improving safety, efficiency and the environment around the globe. Boeing is fully committed and uniquely qualified to help make ATM transformation a reality. It’s the right time and Boeing is the right partner.

The ATCA Bulletin (ISSN 0402-1977) is published monthly by the Air Traffic Control Association. Periodical postage paid at Alexandria, VA. $5.00 of annual dues are allocated for the publication of the ATCA Bulletin. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ATCA BULLETIN, 1101 King Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314. Staff Marion Brophy, Director, Communications Ken Carlisle, Director, Meetings and Expositions Ashley Haskins, Office Manager Mary Johnson, Communications Consultant Kristen Knott, Writer and Editor Christine Oster, Chief Financial Officer Paul Planzer, Manager, ATC Programs Claire Rusk, Vice President of Operations Mindy Soranno, Office Manager Rugger Smith, International Accounts Sandra Strickland, Events and Exhibits Coordinator Ashley Swearingen, Press and Marketing Manager Tim Wagner, Membership Manager

1101 King Street Suite 300 Alexandria, VA  22314

Officers and Board of Directors Chairman, Neil Planzer Chairman-Elect, Charles Keegan President & CEO, Peter F. Dumont Treasurer, Rachel Jackson East Area Director, Susan Chodakewitz Pacific Area, Asia, Australia Director, Peter Fiegehen South Central Area Director, William Cotton Northeast Area Director, Mike Ball Southeast Area Director, Jack McAuley North Central Area Director, Bill Ellis West Area Director, Chip Meserole Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico Area Director, Rudy Kellar Europe, Africa, Middle East Area Director, Jonathan Astill Director at Large, Rick Day Director at Large and Secretary, Sandra Samuel