The NATCA Podcast, Episode 4: Featuring an interview with St. Thomas (STT) U.S.V.I. NATCA Facility Representative Patrick Cieniewicz. On the job for only a year before two catastrophic hurricanes struck the island in September 2017, Patrick talks about working traffic from under a tent (pictured) and in a temporary tower in the days and weeks after the second storm hit, the process of recovery on the island, and the March 8 reopening of the permanent control tower.
The STT temporary mobile tower ceased operations on March 7. Services were transitioned back to the repaired permanent tower on March 8.
"It was an all hands on deck kind of thing," Cieniewicz said of the repair and reopening effort. "It's amazing when something like this happens, the amount of help that you get - and a lot of it is behind the scenes. Thank you to everyone who helped out. It's very much appreciated."
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To view more photos of St. Thomas and STT, click here.
The Dallas Morning News
April 20, 2018
By Jacquielynn Floyd
"The men and women in airport control towers and regional radar rooms don't always spring to mind when we're talking about dicey aviation incidents, but they should. They're the ones who have to re-choreograph an intricate, high-speed, three-dimensional ballet without pausing to hold a meeting or draw diagrams or fetch coffee.
"There have been air traffic controllers as long as there has been air traffic, beginning with spotters on the ground who lit bonfires to guide barnstorming pilots to rural runways.
"Their job is to keep what is sometimes criticized as an outdated, overburdened system moving as efficiently as possible. In an emergency, a cool head is paramount.
"'The pilot is dealing with a tremendous amount,' said Patrick Ream, an air traffic control specialist and the local president for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association in Philadelphia, where the crippled Southwest Airlines jet made its emergency landing (April 17). 'The last thing they need is a controller who is showing signs of stress.'
Ream said Philadelphia controllers were aware when the flight was handed off from New York-area airspace control that the flight was in trouble, but the plane's condition and the extent of the damage remained unclear.
"'It's kind of a real fine line between getting the information we need and not bothering the pilot, because they've got a lot on their hands.'"
Following our 'Ask the Captain' and 'Ask a Flight Attendant' episodes, we wanted to pose your questions to an active air traffic controller. So in this episode, San Juan Tower controller Kyrandgel Rio...
A video produced by FAA Communications in collaboration with NATCA.
NATCA Great Lakes Archie League Medal of Safety Award. Aired on April 25, 2017.