A key reason we value our jobs so much is we have such an important mission of ensuring that air travelers move safely and efficiently through our national airspace. When we also feel appreciated, trusted and respected among our co-workers, we look forward to coming to work every day.
I got a chance to hear a marvelous speaker at the Professional Women Controllers conference earlier this week. Her name is Christine Darden and she is one of the NASA mathematicians who inspired the book Hidden Figures, which was later turned into an Oscar-nominated movie. She led some of the major research on supersonic flight and sonic booms.
In the most recent Safety Stand Down events, we have had themes focused on recognizing and communicating hazards. During the current event, which began April 22 and wraps up May 6, we are focusing on mitigating and resolving hazards.
Yay, It’s Report Card Time, Said No Student Ever
When my kids were in school, I always looked forward to checking their test scores, getting their report cards and going to parent-teacher conferences. These were built-in checkpoints that allowed me to make sure they were on track, and when they weren’t, to help them course correct and get back on the right trajectory. While I certainly preferred to see good marks, I especially appreciated finding out where they needed to put in a little more effort to ensure their college and career aspirations remained attainable.
I am at the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In today because it’s a great opportunity to talk to general aviation (GA) pilots about what we in the ATO are doing to make sure they stay safe, and to ask them to do everything they can as well.
More than 211,000 GA aircraft fly more than 27 million operations a year in the United States, so they’re an important part of our national airspace. While the GA fatality rate has dropped, we’d prefer for that number to be zero and we have a number of initiatives underway to contribute toward that goal.
I updated the GA pilots on Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which our team has successfully implemented at our 24 en route and oceanic centers and 114 of our terminal facilities. The pilots who are already equipped and using it say they love it – we have heard many examples of how near misses have been avoided because ADS-B allows them to see other aircraft and be visible themselves in congested airspace.
None of us will forget any time soon the 2017 weather season. We experienced several fatal hurricanes, destructive wildfires and damaging storms that disrupted our airspace, our equipment and our people. We’re still recovering in some places.
As severe weather season begins again, I want to let you know about a few of the measures we are taking this year to leverage the lessons we learned and mitigate challenges next time they occur.
The Secretary’s RAISE Award competition will recognize innovative scientific and engineering achievements that will have a significant impact on the future of aerospace or aviation. On behalf of the Secretary, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will accept student submissions in June and conduct an evaluation in July 2018. The rules for this competition will also be available at http://www.challenge.gov
Below is the announcement from the Federal Register for this year’s Recognizing Aviation Innovation in Science and Engineering Award. Each year we look for up and coming innovators to submit their proposals for this award. We look forward to you spreading the word.
Here is a link to last year’s winning submission.
I’m pleased to tell you that next week we are starting a series of nine workshops that focus on leadership development specifically for our operations managers (OMs), which is one of our most challenging positions.
It seems like we’re always looking for ways to simplify our lives. Sometimes that means getting rid of things we don’t use anymore, like music CDs because we use online music apps. We might find a simpler way of doing business, like automatic electronic bill payment. Or, we merge services with family members to save money, like combining movie streaming accounts so we share one monthly fee.
When some of the newest users of our national airspace first emerged, I don’t think any of us anticipated just how quickly we’d have to adapt and find ways to make our system accessible for additional purposes beyond manned aircraft moving passengers and cargo from place to place.
Since those early days, I am pleased at how many ways the FAA and our colleagues in the ATO are leading and contributing to so many innovative initiatives involving unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commercial space vehicles and other non-traditional entrants.
I have read a lot of books on leadership over the years and some of the most important lessons I learned were from the people I worked with. One trait I always saw in good leaders is they seek input from the individuals around them, so I decided to make that a routine practice too. I’m never disappointed when I turn to others in the room and ask what they think because their input enriches an idea I may have and opens me and the team up to new ways of thinking.
We talk about collaboration often because it’s important to everything we do. A great example is last week’s cutover of air traffic services from Cape (K90) Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) operations to Boston TRACON (A90).
I appreciate the opportunity to recognize our team during National Engineers Week and its companion event, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. We couldn’t be successful without the engineers we have in every service unit of the ATO, including systems engineers, electrical engineers, database engineers, software engineers, requirements engineers, network engineers and general engineers, to name a few. An engineering education is valuable because analytical and technical skills can be applied to so many circumstances.
Join us during Women's History Month as we celebrate the women who flew faster, higher & farther to break gender barriers in aviation.
Anna Green, Program Manager for VLTP/ELTP is helping provide information for all on the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. Any questions regarding VLTP can be directed to Anna.