Air Traffic Control Heroes

The “Archie” Awards pay tribute to air traffic controllers and the life-saving role they provide for general aviation pilots who screw up. Two times that was me. There are some who deride the FAA as those who pick nits. (We’re Not Happy Until You’re Not Happy).

My friend at the Chicago area FSDO would want you to know that can touch an FAA employee with a ten foot pole. Just don’t hit them with it. This years awards are out and they’re well deserved.

Here’s a few that deserve our respect and admiration. There are many others.

John Overman (Great Lakes Region) for providing outstanding assistance on April 25, 2009, to a Lifeguard Helicopter that was transporting an accident victim to a hospital. Overman’s detailed information about severe thunderstorms and coordination with EMS personnel on the ground enabled the helicopter crew to land in a nearby parking lot and transfer the patient successfully.

Dale Taylor (Great Lakes Region) for providing outstanding assistance on Feb. 20, 2009, to the pilot of a single-engine aircraft who suffered an engine failure on a night flight in poor visibility. Taylor provided vectors and other critical information that allowed the pilot to make a safe landing with no injury.

Robert Hill Sr. (Southern Region) for providing outstanding assistance on Nov. 11, 2009, to a pilot on a flight in instrument conditions who experienced an instrument malfunction in low visibility, heavy rain, and high wind conditions. Hill provided no-gyro vectors to an alternate airport and talked the pilot down to a safe landing.

Don Nikolich and David Pridgen (Southern Region) for providing outstanding assistance on Nov. 29, 2009, to a noninstrument-rated pilot who entered night instrument meteorological conditions. Nikolich and Pridgen, through exceptional coordination and team work, were able to guide the pilot to a safe landing despite widespread areas of low ceiling and multiple attempts to land at several airports.

Larry Gardiner (Southwest Region) for providing outstanding assistance on Aug. 12, 2009, to an aircraft that was not under his control. Controller Gardiner preemptively transmitted a traffic warning, in the blind, which resulted in one of the aircraft taking evasive action and avoiding an almost certain midair collision.

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4 responses to “Air Traffic Control Heroes

  1. I lost an engine in a Mooney one day at 19,000′ in the middle of a line of thunderstorms, IMC down to 1500′ 2mile vis. Came out right over the airport ATC was vectoring me to. They can come in handy from time to time. I also found bunch of ATC recordings of last years winners, very cool to listen to, I think it was somewhere in AOPA’s web site or maybe the FAA’s, worth looking for.

    • Scary, That’s really scary. and a very close call. My day of reckoning occurred when I lost gyros in IMC and received vectors from the controllers. I think of their help every time I’m flying IFR. Thanks for the story.
      This year’s winners audio recordings are here.
      This year’s write up (and controller photos) in pdf version are here.

  2. Pingback: National Office Week in Review March 29- April 2, 2010 « NATCA ALB Local

  3. Pingback: Control Freq’s | Blue Side Up

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