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“Women in Air Traffic Control” After the publication of our first issue of the

Today, we are grateful to all those women who

magazine, (which was published on a trial basis

participated in this initiative, with their stories

and was downloaded for free in two versions, for

and excellent disposition.

over 2000 people) we decided to do a special issue dedicated to women working as Air Traffic

"Air Traffic Controllers Around the World" is

Controllers in different parts of the world; about

proud to continue to grow every day and

their experiences of life; about their different

welcomes the participation of each one of you.

cultures and the role of women in aviation

We work for you. We hope you enjoy this new


edition of our magazine. Our hearts are always open for comments, criticisms or suggestions.

But some of our friends felt that our idea was sexist and discriminatory. Completely away from

Air Traffic Controllers Around the World

our intention. Absolutely wrong!. You rock!!!. Have a happy life.

Note: Some of the articles, notes and photos have been downloaded from the internet. At the bottom of each one, sources are mentioned. We apologize if somehow we offend someone. Thanks.

Contents and edition Esteban Mendoza

Idea, design and production: Roberto Julio Gomez



INDEX Pag.3 Controlling the Skies – Women of Air Traffic Control IFATCA-A BRIEF HISTORY Pag.5 Olga Tarling ROOTE, A RETIRED ATC FROM USA Pag.8 Under Control FAIZIO FERRARI ATC FROM ITALY Pag.11 Gloria Langmade Yow RICARDO SILVA, Pag.13 Bonnie Johnson With Women in AviationPY DAY! GREETINGS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD! Pag.16 The Ninety – Nines, INC. WHO WAS ARCHIE WILLIAM LEAGUE? Pag.19 Interview : Nives, Amina, Aleksandra and Deborah BE OUR NEXT ATC STAR! Pag.29 Guatemalan Air Traffic Controllers Association

Pag.33 Women around the World “SALAD BAR”… A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND A LITTLE OF THAT!!!


CONTROLLING THE SKIES Women of Air Traffic Control Calendar 2011


y name is Kendra Kincade, I am Edmonton Terminal Controller here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am working on a project with a local hospital here in Edmoton, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. I was invited join a team that were working on an exciting and literally, breathtaking way to raise funds for the Royal Alexandra Hospital. From August 8 – 19th 2011, a group of 25 doctors, professionals and business leaders will embark on the journey of a lifetime; the ascension of Mount Kilimanjaro, the summit of Africa. This expedition is organized by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, in collaboration with expedition leader and documentary film maker Ben Webster. Ben will lead the expedition and head a team of documentary film makers who will chronicle the climb and supply footage to our print, radio and television media partners in Edmonton. The goal is to raise more than $500,000.00 for the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in support of its new Orthopedics Surgery Centre. This stand-alone facility will be the first in Canada to focus exclusively on knee and hip replacement surgeries and will allow for groundbreaking orthopedic research to take place. My commitment, as part of the team that will

climb Mount Kilimanjaro, is to raise at least $5000.00. As an Air Traffic Controller, my work colleagues wanted to support me wholeheartedly in this endeavour and so the idea for a calendar was born. Being ‘Women in Air Traffic Control’, we are proud of the professionalism, safety and empowerment that we bring to our roles in the modern workforce and wanted to celebrate these strengths whilst helping such a worthwhile cause. I will be selling the calendars for $10.00 each and the web site will allow people to buy online if they like. My goal is to sell at least 500. There is a facebook page "Controlling The Skies", also a website that will be active very soon to buy calendars, and there is also a link for the Royal Alexandra Hospital where anyone interested can go to donate or follow the progress of the climb then follow the Kilimanjaro link. From there you can pick who you want to donate to. A little bio of each team member will be displayed. I would really like to mention how much this project has been a great team building experience for the women I work with. The ladies have put a lot of work into this and have been a tremendous support throughout the entire project. We all got to know each other in some cases a little better and in other cases really spoke for the first time. It was fantastic. Thank you, Kendra Kincade


'photos supplied by csquaredimaging' BUY THE CALENDAR:




Olga at Essendon Airport 1958 One day Olga Tarling, a young teleprinter operator working at Townsville airport looked out of the window and saw a Tiger Moth on the runway. Olga was fascinated with this fragile little bi-plane, and she knew immediately that she would fly it one day. This was the spark that ignited Olga Tarling’s life-long passion and commitment to flying. It was a commitment that led to an Order of Australia medal for services to the world of aviation. Young women in the 1950s encountered many barriers to the all-male aviation industry. However, she eventually got someone to teach her to fly and after only ten hours of instruction Olga was flying solo in the Tiger Moth. “Isn’t it the greatest thrill ever going solo?” she muses. “It is one of those extraordinary experiences that never dims for any of us”. Flight Officer Olga Tarling and Captain Joe Salfas in the 1950s Olga was soon up and away and down to Brisbane to gain her commercial licence. Not surprisingly she faced a hostile male examiner and a gruelling test in the air. Olga made her last runway approach after a simulated engine failure. The examiner looked anxious, but getting out of the plane after a successful landing he casually asked, “Well how does it feel to be a commercial pilot?”

Olga was delighted but she still faced opposition. She was told by the chief flying instructor of the Queensland Aero Club that being a woman she would never get a job flying commercially. Undeterred, Olga soon won a job with Southern Airlines at Melbourne’s Essendon Airport. She flew De Havilland propeller aircraft, carrying country folk around Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Sadly for Olga, Southern Airlines folded in 1959. Never downhearted, Olga discovered an advertisement from the Department of Civil Aviation calling for people ‘with substantial aeronautical experience’ to train as air traffic controllers. Again, Olga was breaking new ground and her application raised all-male eyebrows. But she was finally accepted and joined 15 males in the first intake for training. Olga Tarling OAM in Maleny After completing her training, Olga was stationed at Brisbane Airport and there was only one other female controller at that time, stationed in Sydney. One particular American Airlines pilot had occasion to fly between Sydney and Brisbane on two consecutive days and asked with surprise if all air traffic controllers in Australia were female! Olga’s professionalism and reliability led her to instructing other controllers in Brisbane, and at Melbourne’s Central



Training College. She finally retired from aviation in mid 1985. When asked what were her aviation career highlights she replies with a gleam in her eye, “My first solo, and visiting Cape Canaveral Space Station in 1967″. In 1971 Olga received the Nancy Bird Walton Trophy for outstanding achievement in aviation and in 1972 she was the only woman at the International Air Traffic Control annual conference in Dublin.

Olga also took key roles in the Australian Women Pilots Association and was its president in 1981. Although she doesn’t consider her achievements extraordinary, Olga was truly a trail blazer for women in the aviation industry.



UNDER CONTROL A 1945 PLANE CRASH INTO THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED IF THE PILOT HAD JUST LISTENED TO STAFFORD COUNTY RESIDENT HILDA OBERHOFER, ONE OF THE FIRST TWO FEMALE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS AT LA GUARDIA AIRPORT. By EMILY GILMORE Date published: 2/9/2003 IF LT. COL. WILLIAM SMITH had just listened to Hilda Oberhofer, he would not have flown his plane into the Empire State Building in July 1945. One of the first two female air-traffic controllers at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Oberhofer refused Smith clearance to fly his twin-engine Army Air Forces B25 bomber to Newark, N.J., because visibility was limited. "The fog rolled in so fast that day," recollected Oberhofer, an 87-year-old Stafford County resident. Rather than land at LaGuardia, Smith received permission to overrule Oberhofer's suggestions and continue on his flight. Despite regulations requiring airplanes to fly at least 2,000 feet above Manhattan, Smith dropped lower to gain better visibility and found himself flying among Manhattan skyscrapers. The unarmed plane banked to miss several buildings before crashing into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building-the tallest building in the world at that time. The plane's fuel exploded on impact, engulfing the office of what then was the National Catholic Welfare Service--now Catholic Relief Services--in flames. One of the plane's engines slid through seven walls, burst through the other side of the building and fell onto the roof of a 12-story building across 33rd Street. The other engine slid into an elevator shaft, severed the cables and sent an elevator

containing two women hurtling downward. The women in the elevator survived, but Smith, his two crew members and 11 office workers were not so lucky. If the accident had occurred on a normal business day, the casualties would have been more numerous. "This happened on a Saturday morning, and there were very few people in the building," Oberhofer said. The crash caused about $1 million in damage to the building, but its structural integrity was not compromised. Fortunately for Oberhofer, her advice to Smith to land the plane had been recorded, so she was cleared of any responsibility for the accident. "At the time, he didn't have to listen to me," Oberhofer said. After the crash, however, authorities required pilots to follow the instructions of air-traffic controllers. Understandably, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, brought back memories of the Empire State Building crash for Oberhofer. She said she was surprised that more people were not reminded of the event at that time. Oberhofer remained an air traffic controller until her daughter was born in 1947. She then resumed teaching, which had been her profession until 1942.



"I was tired of handling all the disciplinary problems," Oberhofer said, so she stopped teaching, and she and a friend took classes on meteorology at New York University. Oberhofer also studied aerodynamics at the Academy of Aeronautics.

that," Oberhofer said. "You had to work hard." She said the job was stressful and tricky because the airport was small, and there were so many bridges, waterways and skyscrapers to take into account. But it still wasn't as hard as it is today. "Today it is extremely difficult," she said.

"I was interested in flying," she said. "I wanted a more adventurous life." With her husband overseas fighting in World War II, Oberhofer applied to the FAA and worked for the First Interceptor Command in Philadelphia for several months.

Oberhofer continued teaching on Long Island until 1972, and she moved to Stafford in 1980. Some of her students appreciate the lessons she taught them so much that they still write to her to let her know how important she was to them.

She was promoted to air-traffic controller in 1943 at the age of 28, and she began working at LaGuardia. Once there, she received on-the-job training and was observed by efficiency experts.

Perhaps if William Smith had cared about what Oberhofer said as much as her students did, he never would have crashed into the Empire State Building.

"That was terrible. At the time, men didn't want women to have jobs like

"If he had listened to me, he might be alive today." Oberhofer said.



GLORIA LANGMADE YOW ONE OF FIRST FEMALE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS by Gabriela Szewcow, January 20, 2010 It's no secret that in the past, women struggled to gain equality among men in the work force. Many women faced this challenge head-on and came out on top. One such woman currently resides in Burlington. Gloria Langmade Yow, 84, was one of the first females to work as an air traffic controller.

During training, Yow was dating a paratrooper whom she cared about very much. She was reassigned to another airport, and had to stop seeing him. But Yow was not upset. "I was always willing to go where I needed to go to make money and be successful," she said.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Yow was the eldest of 11 children.

He was not the only man Yow became interested in during her six years as an air traffic controller. One of Yow's daughters, Pam, said jokingly, "You know how they say that sailors have a girl at every port? Mom had a man at every airport."

When the opportunity to study telecommunications presented itself, Yow eagerly took it, leaving behind her responsibilities on her family's farm. She was excited to see what the outside world had to offer. "My aunt worked as a governess in New York, and she travelled a lot," Yow said. "When she came back to Minnesota to visit our family, she brought back a lot of interesting stories about the world. Her stories made me eager to go out into the world, because I knew that there was more than what I had on my family's farm in Minnesota." While other girls her age were getting married and becoming secretaries, Yow was eager to embark on her own kind of journey. "I wasn't ready to get married and start a family. I had already helped raise a family, and I was ready to be on my own," she said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration recruited women into the air traffic control profession in 1943, during the height of World War II. Yow was one of 10 girls who travelled to the training center in Atlanta. She was taught Morse code, flight patterns, meteorology and other necessary skills. After four months of training, Yow was sent to work at the Greensboro airport. "I packed everything I owned into two trunks, and went off to a place where I knew no one. It was very exciting," Yow said.

The harsh realities of the war were no secret to Yow, as she knew and met many men in the service. "I dated a man who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. I also knew a man who was killed while parachuting over Normandy," Yow said. She began working at an air traffic control station in Danville, Va. in 1947 as the only female employee. This was where she received the most slack for being a female in a male-dominated field. "The men didn't want me there, and they let me know it," Yow said. Luckily for Yow, she soon gained their respect because she did her job well. "What kept me going was the mindset that I knew I could do anything, regardless or whether or not I was working with men," said Yow. Yow worked in a total of six airports during her six years as an air traffic controller. She was last stationed in Charleston, Va. Because of complications with transferring, Yow had to resign from the air traffic control profession. Since her resignation, she married her first husband in 1950 and then gave birth to four daughters: Deborah, Teresa, Pam and Patricia.


Yow pioneered the path for women in the workforce. She worked hard and made a living for herself, and always made it a point to not become dependent on a man. Her daughter Pam said, "Mom always taught us to stand out from the crowd. I think we all gained a sense of hard work and independence from her." Yow received a number of awards for her achievements throughout her life. She was named to the American Rosie the Riveter Association, which recognizes women who worked in maledominated trades during Word War II. Yow was the first air traffic controller to join the organization.

Because of her involvement and service in the war, she was granted the privilege of placing a wreath on The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. in 1964. Yow currently resides in the Oak Creek Apartments in Burlington. She now enjoys small pleasures like word puzzles and watching Jeopardy and CNN News. Her life is a lot simpler than it was in the past, but her sense of excitement and adventure is something that will never escape her. Updated February 1, 2010





Mary Chance VanScyoc was the first female civilian air traffic controller in the United States, according to Andrew Pitas, historian with the Air Traffic Controllers Association. Air traffic control was very much in its infancy when Mary started in June, 1942. The Air Traffic Control Center in Denver, Colo. had just opened in March with 12 controllers, a chief, a senior controller (who was the trainer) and a secretary. Traffic was controlled only on the airways, which was called the "Highways of the Skies." East and southbound traffic flew at odd altitudes and north and westbound were assigned even altitudes... Those crossing the airways flew at odd or even altitudes, plus 500 feet. Controllers depended on pilots to give exact times over a fix as well as correct altitudes. Controllers had no way of verifying this information. ATC calculated the aircraft's speed as they flew from one station to another so that ATC could do an ETA or estimated time of arrival. There were only two sectors or A-Boards where the controllers would keep track of all planes operating on flight plans. Today in Longmont (formerly Denver), there are about 50 sectors with their own radar screens, headsets and computers. The centers were renamed Air Route Traffic Control Centers when

they started controlling planes on and off the airways. Planes are handed off from one sector to another as they progress across the region. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) during Mary's stint from 1942 through 1946. During this period, the name was changed to Civil Aeronautics Administration, although it still remained as the CAA. Back in that time period, all but a few of the first controllers attended a 60-90 day class, then were employed either in towers or centers as assistant controllers. The earliest ones were trained on the job and were trainees for a few months before becoming assistants. The controllers promotions were from trainee to tower assistant, to center assistant, to full controller in tower, to full controller in the center. That gave them experience in both areas. Today, controllers are trained in a specific area. ATC radios were all low-frequency until 1944, when VHF and UHF were installed. The low-frequency signals were very static-laden and did not have a farreaching broadcast spectrum. VHF and UHF were virtually static-free and had a much further broadcast spectrum, especially from a higher altitude, which



was obviously a great improvement. The first recorders were the old wax Edisontype records, then improved to the red, soft plastic loops. Today, it is done electronically. The early ATC instrument panel included an anemometer, barometer, a few phones, switches for runway lights and a microphone. All transmissions from the incoming aircraft traffic were audible in the tower. They had no radar and no instrument landing system then. It was not necessary to have a radio to fly into any field in the tower region during that time period. They had light-guns that beamed either red or green signals to the aircraft. According to Mary, they had a few other combination signals that could be used for emergencies. Red meant to stop and green meant cleared to taxi if on the ground. In the air, red meant to make another pattern and try again. Green was "cleared to land." The main means of instrument navigation was the old A & N beam. If you were off the course, you would hear the Morse code "A" (dah-dit) or "N" (ditdah). When you were over the station, you would encounter a cone of silence. While making your instrument pattern, you would have to count the number of seconds you flew on each leg while descending to the proper altitude, flying the airplane and using the radio. Quite a lot more complicated than the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite). Mary went on to relate, that traffic was quite diverse during World War II, especially in Wichita where she worked in 1944 through 1945. All the factories were at full production. The BoeingWichita plant was adjacent to the airport on the west and used the field for all testing and delivery of the B-29

Stratofortress Bombers. Cessna was adjacent on the north and used both their field (with grass runways) and the airports for test and delivery. Culver Aircraft was making the PQ14's about five miles north and flew them into the field for delivery. They were drones and had no radios, so were quite "pesky." Beech (now Raytheon), about five miles northeast, flew a large number of flights as well. There were several civilian-flying schools on the field, using the two-place trainers. Add in a few airline flights and groups of military that made navigational flights to the fields and you had quite a mix of airspeeds. Boeing was also building large gliders that they would tow over the field and release at an appropriate time. Wichita's traffic currently is still heavy and diverse with everything from the Cessna 150 to the B-1B's and KC-135's. In the '40's, there were no computers, radar, good radios or navigational systems. There was no ATIS. Each plane was given the wind speed and direction, the altimeter setting and the active runway when receiving clearance. ATC did not have to tell them about wake turbulence, as there were no jets. Pilots were not told how fast or slow to fly on approach, only given their clearance to land or their sequence number. Mary Chance VanScyoc still climbs the steep angled stairway leading to the old Municipal Airport tower. The building is now on the historic register of deeds and houses the Kansas Aviation Museum. She is a charter member of the museum, a volunteer for special events and delights in sharing her experiences and history from her life and experiences with the "Highways of the Skies."



THE NINETY-NINES, INC. International Organization of Women Pilots Women & ATC Ruth Fleisher By Laurie Householder Florida Goldcoast Chapter Ruth Fleisher, Florida Goldcoast Chapter, cannot remember a time she was not interested in flying. Her father was an airport manager in Rochester, New York, when Ruth was growing up and she acquired her ground school instruction there in 1940. She then started teaching as a way to pay for flying lessons. During World War II, Ruth spent a year as a communications officer at a Coastal Air Patrol base on Long Island, New York. Then she was off to Sweetwater, Texas, to participate in the Women's Air Force Service Pilots program (WASPs). After receiving the coveted Silver Wings, she went to the engineering test department at Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama and later graduated from the Air Force School of Applied Tactics at Orlando, Florida. When the WASPs were disbanded in December 1944, Ruth spent a few weeks vacationing in South Florida, then it was back to aviation, working as a flight and ground instructor and as a charter pilot. Her next adventure in aviation was as an Air Traffic Controller in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At first, Ruth was concerned about staying in a glass box all day, but soon discovered that every day was different and she came to love it. She also enjoyed the steady income that the ATC position afforded, unlike that provided by instructing or flying charter flights.

Eventually, Ruth and her husband Bud moved to South Florida to be near family and a place where they could enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and golf. When Bud left for Vietnam, Ruth planned and built a home in Homestead where she still maintains an avocado grove. Ruth has flown more than 30 different aircraft. Her favorite military aircraft was the AT6. She says it was thrilling to fly the low-wing 650 HP aircraft. Other favorites were the Beechcrafts and Mooneys. She attained her Multiengine rating in a tail-dragger referred to as the "Bamboo Bomber." She currently holds a Commercial Flight Instructors certificate with Airplane, Instrument, Single and Multiengine Land ratings. Ruth has flown in the Powder Puff races sponsored by the All Women's Transcontinental Air Race. She also worked as a timer and chief judge for the International Air Race. She was appointed an Accident Prevention Counselor for the FAA. Besides being active in The 99s for many years, Ruth is also a member of the Women Military Aviator's Association, Glenn Curtiss Museum, American Aviation Historical Society, International Women's Air and Space Museum and AOPA. Among her father's memorabilia, Ruth recently found a guest book from the airport in Rochester which contained the signature of Amelia Earhart. She has donated the book to The 99s Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City.

Ruth later joined the Air Force Reserve where she was an ATC and Flight Facilities Officer at several Air Force bases in the United States and England. She served for several years as the flight instructor and operations officer for various USAF Aero Clubs, and retired with a rank of major in 1973.


Helen Fabian Parke Greater Seattle Chapter

challenging issues to work with the users of the system or internal human resource issues.

In June of 1968, my career as a controller trainee began at Cleveland Center, one of 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers in the country. I was a pilot and flight instructor and thought this would be a really interesting career. It was necessary to either have prior military experience as a controller or have accumulated 300 hours of flight time in order to qualify for hiring.

As the years went by, I managed a tower, a center and, as a result of the combination of operational and administrative experience, became one of nine Air Traffic Division Managers - first in the Southwest Region and currently in the Northwest Mountain Region. Recently, I just completed a detail as the Acting Deputy Director of Air Traffic in Washington, D.C.

There were two different groups of women controllers; those hired during World War II and shortly thereafter, and the new hires of the late '60s. Within a few years, the hiring criteria was modified to general experience, which provided opportunities to more women.

There are numerous women in the system today, holding a wide range of positions. They are part of the core of aviation. I was in the second wave of women in air traffic control. I was not the first in high visibility positions, but often the only woman in a meeting. I'm pleased to say that has changed and now I am one of many.

Because most facilities are open 24 hours a day, we worked rotating shifts, weekends and holidays. This was not difficult and the attraction was being a part of aviation. It turned into a wonderful and rewarding career.

In the years to come, I hope more women consider pursuing the air traffic control field. If you are looking for a challenging and exciting career, this is for you.

Being an air traffic controller is a non-standard job. Many people stereotype the field without realizing how challenging and how much fun it could be. The experience I brought from flying helped me to understand the system and, as a result, I became a better pilot and controller. It was possible to work in one of three types of facilities: en route, terminal or flight service station. After achieving journeyman status, there were other considerations. If you chose to, you could pursue staff work. With the combination of experience as a journeyman and facility staff specialist, you could compete for jobs in supervision at the facility, staff positions at regional headquarters or our headquarters in Washington, D.C. My career path took me from Cleveland to headquarters, where I worked on new air traffic equipment and the associated budget. In the late 1970s, I was selected for a management position at Seattle Center. At this level, there was the option of being an operational manager in the control room or working on administrative issues like training, airspace, procedures, quality assurance, etc. It was never boring because there were always

Mary Wunder Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter It would be nice to concoct a story about how it was my lifelong dream to become an Air Traffic Controller — but the truth is: I had never even been in a control tower until I reported for duty in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1981. My dad flew in the Army Air Corp in World War II. As a child, I can remember going to the Pylon Club at the local airport for Christmas parties and Easter egg hunts. When I was six years old, my parents bought a restaurant. And I think that was the last time my dad or I ever thought about aviation until I met my future husband in the late 70s. He was learning to fly when we met and I guess controlling was in my genes, because I was not going to get in that little airplane with him without knowing how to fly it. My flying lessons began shortly after he started his (and I might have even received my license before him, but don't tell him that). After the steel mill where I was working folded, I saw a small postcard- size announcement at the airport announcing they would test the first 100 people who signed up for an Air Traffic Controller


test. I signed up and passed the test but with a freeze on government hiring and a need to eat, I took another job and continued to work on my ratings, achieving a commercial certificate with instrument and multiengine ratings. When the PATCO strike came in 1981, I was out of work again because at the place where I was working I wanted to run for the Board of Directors and they said if I ran they would fire me. I ran and they did. I figured it was time for me to move on to another challenge. I went to the FAA at Wilkes-Barre. When I walked in the door, they said I was the third woman to come to Wilkes-Barre. They said none of the others had completed the ATC training program and I was not expected to be the first. Ha! I successfully finished (much to their surprise) and stayed for five years, working both Tower and Approach control. When I left Wilkes-Barre, I went to work at Allentown Approach. Then I advanced to Philadelphia Approach Control, a level five facility where I stayed for 10 years. I recently accepted a job as Traffic Management Coordinator. It combines working airplanes with system demand - an exciting mix. In life, there are people and organizations that help you along the way, not just in what they can do for you but what you can do for other people. In my life, I am grateful for my dad who told me I could achieve anything I was willing to work for. I am grateful for Professional Women Controllers, an organization that provides support and encouragement for the women FAAers; and I am grateful for The 99s, who provide me with wonderful camaraderie and a reason to fly. Thank you all! Mary Wunder

Women ATCs share views on occupation From the July 1998 issue of Air Traffic Controller What does it feel like to walk into a facility, look around and ultimately realize you are a minority? Do you feel bewildered, strange or lonely? To answer these questions, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association conducted nationwide phone interviews with numerous female controllers about why they joined a maledominated occupation, the conditions of their working environment and how the agency treats them. Women gave a variety of reasons for becoming a controller, ranging from having a fascination with aviation, to wanting to change career paths. Boston Tower's Vivian Lumbard's interest sparked after taking flying lessons. Michelle Wrobleski, Green Bay Tower, was a flight instructor before becoming a controller. She took the test on a whim with a friend as a bet to see who could score higher. Everyone agreed they are not intimidated working primarily with men. "The women who become controllers are not your average female. Most of them can hold their ground and are not bothered by being in the minority," commented one woman. Although some encountered static from men back in the '80s, now the gender differences are not as much a point of contention. "Today, men are more open minded than when I joined 22 years ago," offered another. "If you do your job well, your peers will respect you." The number of female controllers is on the rise. Some facilities have close to 30 percent women employees. Most of those questioned did not want the agency to specifically target and recruit women. But it should provide the same consideration and opportunities, regardless of gender.



Nives, an ATC from Bosnia and Herzegovina



My name is Nives, 27 years old, born in Mostar, living in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (LQMO), Air Traffic Controller since 2003. Becoming an ATC was pure coincidence. I applied with no hopes of getting accepted, in the middle of my English literature studies in college. The good salary and career chance were appealing to a poor student :) To be honest I didn't even know what the job was, and used the term "flight controller" during my interview. It drove my future instructors who interviewed me crazy. Taking about my first steps, we were a group of 10 people and we went to Prague, Czech Republic for our Ab Initio Training, for three months, in 2002. After that we were divided into two groups, and three people were for LQMO. My group had OJT with French military controllers in a small mobile tower in the middle of the grass strip between RWY, TWYs and the Military apron. After we received our TWR licenses, it was Prague again, for 6 weeks, APP/PROC training. Since we had very little traffic, not enough for a normal OJT in LQMO, we were sent to Pula, Croatia (LDPL) for our procedural training for 5 months. It was just a

transition training, we still had to do 2-3 months of training back at home to pass the tests for our APP license, this time in a real tower, no mobile ones :) Meanwhile, our little group of 3 people from 2002 are TWR/APP instructors. I think every training was a big deal back then, each and every one was very difficult and we thought we'd never make it, all the instructors were mean and unfair, all the tests too difficult and the scores unrealistic, and gosh "the Bible", doc. 4444, it was a nightmare :))... But it seems silly now. We are 7 girls and 3 guys in our little tower. We get along pretty good, most of the times :D Of course we disagree on many topics, but when it comes to work, we stick together. I wrote about my workplaces in the previous question, but some of us worked in Split, Croatia (LDSP) and Zagreb, Croatia (LDZA) for the TWR OJT and not with the military controllers here at home, since the French forces left Mostar in 2004. My favourite was Pula (LDPL), where I've learned the most actually. We've had incredible instructors and colleagues, who taught us so many things.



I might have been lucky to start my career in the modern age, but honestly, I have not had any problems with male colleagues, bosses, instructors, in any of the places I've worked at so far. It has never been an issue in the professional matters. I am aware that some might think I'm not fit to be an ATC just because of my gender, but that wouldn't stop me from being an ATC or make me doubt myself.

I would like to work in somewhere with a bigger salary I guess haha You have to be a flexible person in general to be an ATC. As for women, I'd say you have to have a strong personality, be aware that it is possible that male colleagues might not acknowledge you immediately, that you will have to prove yourself all over again. On the other hand, you mustn't be

The shifts, and in our particular case, the sudden changes of working hours are pretty difficult. I have no children yet, so I do manage somehow. With kids, it will be harder to manage everything. But it's not impossible, many women around the world do it :)

stubborn or refuse help. Asking for guidance is not a sign of weakness.

Apart from loving the job for itself..the fact that I have met so many wonderful people from all over the world just because I'm an ATC. I love that ATC is a culture of it's own. A profession that connects so many nations, languages, colours, ethnicities, and we're all in this together, with a common goal. How many other professions can be proud of that?

I'd say anything that relieves stress at work. Cooking, reading, crafting, art, music, barbecuing, swimming, sleeping, or just surfing the web.

Always remember, being an ATC means teamwork, not one-man-show, your actions may affect others around you.

Go for it girls! After all, we're the ones with the multitasking talent :)

It's not a boring office job from 9 to 5. Not one day is like the other.

“The shifts, and in our particular case, the sudden changes of working hours are pretty difficult� 21

Amina, an ATC from Algeria


ello!! my name is AMINA TSABET am 31 years, i was born at skikda a little town at the east of ALGERIA, am single, am living at annaba a town at the extreme east of ALGERIA, it is the city where i work since there is no more airport at skikda. i've 2 brothers, the oldest one is living at montréal canada he is preparing a PHD degree in chemical engineering, and the other one is younger than me is studying and living and studying automatics at paris france, so it remains only me with my parents. I've finished my studies in electonics at boumerdes electonic institute (INELEC) in 2000, i saw the announce of the competition for the training of air traffic controllers on the newspaper on january 2001, at the begining i didn't understand what does it mean air tarffic controller, i thought that it was the men who guides the aircrafts in the aipron, then my father explained me what is the real job of an ATC, so i sent all the documents they requested for the competition, and at the date of my anniversary, the 17th january, i found my name on the newspaper in the list of those chosen to pass the test. We passed the test at blida, a city not far from algiers, it was about physics, mathematics, french and english, few days later i call them to ask for news, they told me to come the day after to pass the interview, it was the happiest day of my life. everything was ok, we've passed the medical visit few days later and we started studying on october.

we where studying at aéronautical insitute of blida, the recruter (ENNA etablissement national de la navigation aérienne) has rent for us appartments at a campus, and gave us scholarship. the training duration was 20 months, it was very hard, we had so many things to learn in a very short time, but at the end all the promotion succeded.

“In ALGERIA, woman don't work by night, but we work in shifts day by day” we finished on july 2003, 3 weeks of hollyday, then we started immediately working. at annaba i was the first women and the youngest atc there, i was 24 and all the others were more than 50 years old, actually everybody was very kind with me, in addition to that they were very happy to have me with them, all of them were waiting for retirement, so they let me work even i didn't have yet my qualifications, i worked from the begining both in the tower and in the approach. normally there is 3 yeras between the tower and approach qualifications, but my headmaster thought that i can make it earlier, so i spent only one year in tower then i passed my appoach qualification.


In ALGERIA, woman don't work by night, but we work in shifts day by day, one day from 8 o'clock in the morning till 19 o'clock , and the day after we are off, so we can make plenty of things, take a rest, cook, make shopping, travel, even one day is not enough. I love my job, i can't imagine myself doing something else, never. my biggest pleasure is when there are many aicrafts, a lot of calls on the frequency, then i do well my job with maximum of security and easy flow, when everyone is happy, and telling me thank you madam. The place where i would like to work is TORONTO airport.

For a woman to be an ATC, she has to be strong as a men, because air traffic control and all avaition fields are still being a job of man, so a women has to know how to live in such WORLD. My hobbies are travelling, reading, watching TV and listening tu music. Air traffic control is a beautifull job, with a lot of resposibilities, you have to love it to do it well, we are the eyes of the pilots, so we have to give them the right instruction at the right time everytime, no matter how may aircraft you have in your controlling area. Thank you Amina TSABET.


Aleksandra, an ATC from Serbia



My name is Aleksandra Blagojevic, 42, Kraljevo, Serbia, married, have a son, 6 yrs old. I made my very first steps as a kid at the airfield that used to be my playground.... My basic education took 2 yrs, the first one in the Pilot school, "Yugoslav Air Transport Pilot Training Center" in Vrsac, Serbia, and the second one in center for education for ATC in Belgrade where I graduated. It took me almost 10 yrs to obtain all licenses and ratings due to difficult political situation in the region in the past. I have been working as a team chief for the last 10 yrs and I have an advantage to work with the best friends and ATC mates who have been giving me everyday reward with sharing the same dream... how to rule the sky! Due to some private reasons I can tell you only one thing about my working place...It has the most beautiful sky in the world! :) I have the best office and the best crew beside me always! Not a

single day is the same, and the game we are playing makes adrenaline rush pure! And I like it! There is no place I like more then my own! :))) What kind of person do we have to be in order to work as an ATC?...One of my FB friends told me a sentence a couple of days ago that ATCOs have on the TWR in S達o Paulo... "To work here it's not necessary to be crazy, but helps".... I don't think abou my me as a retired ATC. I have never thought about that... because I have many years to run the vectors and have fun before retirement!. I adore aviation, flying and everything that is connected with it... I am planning to make my first skydiving jump in a couple of months and gave a promise to my skydiving mate that I am going to shave my head that day when I do it! :) To be an ATC means to be sooooo much in love with what you do! Take your chances and once you have tried it, you would never stop loving it! around the world... we are the same kind!Alex



Deborah, an ATC from Argentina


y name is Deborah Rocha, but my friends call me just Debbie, I’m 23 years old, I was born in Buenos Aires Argentina in 1987. I live in “El Palomar” with my parents, Noemí and Félix, and with my two younger sisters, Valeria (21) and Candela (15). I am happily in love with Hernan (He works as an ATC too) and we have plans to get married next year. I decided to become an ATC because I love this profession. I am currently in my third year of a Degree in Air Traffic Management. I love this career and I look forward to getting my title next year. During my childhood I was surrounded all the time by pilots, air traffic controllers, and other people connected with aviation. Many of my parent’s friends are pilots and now, many of my friends are pilots and ATCOs, too. In 2005, I sent my CV for applying for a vacancy in the ATC course and after a short period of time I was called for an interview. I started the course of ATC in June 2006 in the “CENTRO DE INSTRUCCIÓN, PERFECCINAMIENTO Y EXPERIMENTACIÓN” at the Ezeiza International Airport and I finished it in February 2007. The course was very completely new to my.



Many subjects were difficult to me, like Meteorology or Aeronautical Phraseology, but in general, all of them had their interesting and difficult side. The course had a practical part, too. This part made me feel very nervous, because students had to show our skills and all that we had learned before, and the teachers and trainers were very hard to put the final scores. So, I had to put all my concentration in each exercise if I wanted to get a good score. I really enjoyed it.

Nowadays, I work in Ezeiza Control Tower, at the Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I started here a year and a half ago. It’s my first time working as an ATC. When I arrived at Control Tower (with other 16 more trainees) people received me very well. I began the instruction and training inmmediately until I got my first local rating in “Clearance Delievery”, then I got my next rating in “Ground Control” and now I am in OJT for “Aerodrome and Approach Control”. In each instance I had to pass different kind of tests to supplement the instruction. We work fifteen days a month and eighthour shifts. The tower environment is nice, comfortable, and lately it is innovating all the time (technologically). Ezeiza is smaller than other internationals airports, if we have to compare, but has the necessary that we need to operate safely and with good colleagues. I learned to enjoy every instance and I am conscious that is far more to learn. Thos job is the best for me. Sometimes it is funny. Many of the pilots are often surprised when a woman give instructions with firmness and decision. But, I think, if we speak like a little girl we can lose their respect and it is the worst part of this job for a woman, because some women have problems if they can not deal with hard traffic situations. At the present I am working and studying, and many times when I have a mid-term exam at the university I have to work at the same time and it is really hard, so, I have to study in my break, during my shift. I try to take life easy every day to not to be bad when I have to sit to operate with a lot of traffic. But sometime it is difficult to manage these situations; we are all the time


with other people, and of course with their own problems and with a life, too. n our case, we work 8 hours per shift and we have rest hours for relaxing. Luckily I have time to study, but due to at our rotating shift I can not organize my life for practicing sports or having routine. It is difficult for me because I love enjoying my hobbies and due to my job I can not do it. But I know that is my job, I love it, and I am ready to leave my favorites hobbies for a while. At the Beginning, when I started here it was hard to me to get used to night shift. But now, I got used and I can say that the night shifts are quieter and in some cases are better.

and we have to know how to separate personal life from work. An ATC needs to have a strong personality, and never has to lose the control of the situation. I feel that this profession Is like a woman, beautiful, delicate and has days with bad mood, like us. Do not forget that we provide a service! So we have to study and be actualized all the time for giving to all users our best.

See you. DĂŠrorah Rocha

My bosses are good people. They have positives and negatives things, of course, but I can not complain, professionally they gave me all the tools that I need to do my best. They received me very well when I arrived here, and they are supporting me with my early training and qualification. In my country this is the best place to work as an air traffic controller. I like seeing different types of aircraft coming from different part of the world all the time. I love changes, and in this job we have changes all the time and challenges, too. I love having to read about new procedures and aviation innovations. So I can not complain, I am in the best place doing what I most like. If I would have the opportunity, I would like to work in Madrid Barajas International Airport, Spain. They have more traffic, procedures, equipment, new technologies, and its people have a different and interesting culture. Its airspace structure is also different, and so, I think it would be fun and entertaining. Would be unique and unforgettable experience. But, I think that would be difficult too because I am already familiar with my airport and I am taking my first steps. But dreaming does not cost anything. For being an ATC we need to be able to take fast decisions, being quiet and patient,



Guatemalan Air Traffic Controllers Association Greetings dear colleagues: I'm an air Traffic controller, currently working at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala city Central America, and I'm also the acting President of the Guatemalan Air Traffic Controllers Association. I'm so glad to be able to get in touch with all fellow controllers around the world, Reading the digital magazine, moved me to tell you about our Story here in Guatemala. In the year 2005, we were force to strike, due the working conditions, that are still in place. The Government took actions and sent to jail four of our colleagues, and charging with felonies to other eight, and in complicity with, sadly I must say, some others Controllers, they pact with the authorities, in exchange for money and managerial positions , banning around thirty controllers to work again. I consider myself very lucky to have returned to work. it was a dark moment for most of us. As the years passed by, and new authorities took charge, the situation didn't improve, we're still under very bad working conditions, you see, we do not have any retirement plan or paid vacations, and a very paranoical Director of Civil Aeronautics, I must say paranoical because as in most Latin American countries, these positions are taken by people with no working agenda, well maybe their own agenda,

but not the best one for the services, to the point in which we are not allow to make any meeting or gathering among controllers, His only concern is not to lose the cat 1 of the airport and keep his job, Well the point of telling you this, is that no matter how difficult things get in our country, we as Air Traffic Controllers are committed to excellency, to continue providing the best service available to Aviation, I know that in other parts of the world our colleagues are, perhaps, in a worse shape than us, to let them know that we must continue to move forward, I'm very optimistic, and I know that things will get better, The very fact that we can communicate as we are doing it, is a sign that we are moving to that direction, and I would appreciate that through you, all Air Traffic Controllers receive this message, Our world is Changing and we must move with it, New Technologies, and Knowledge are available and the air traffic will increase. so we must be ready for it. As a final message I want to congratulate all those brave men and women that every day give the best to provide safe and expeditious flow of Air Traffic around the world. Sincerely Flavio S. Dardon La Aurora ATC


Would you like to participate in our next edition? Would you like to write an article telling the story of your airport? Would you like to be interviewed and tell your story to the world? Would you like to share your knowledge with the ATCOs around the world? Would you like you to promote your professional ATC association? Looking for a job as an ATC? Would you like to make new friends?

If you want to participate in our next digital edition, send an e-mail to: with your story, your article (Technology, CRM, CNS/ATM, Aviation History, SMS, etc.), your comments, your greetings, your photos and everything you want to share with the rest of the world. Tell us about the Air Traffic Control activity in your country or region. State policies, 1 problems, innovations ... we want to know everything!!! If you are an ATC, or pilot, or just you love the aviation world and want to participate...this is your place!!!

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