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September 28, 2012 // Facility Spotlight: Boston Consolidated TRACON, Merrimack, N.H.

If you enjoy the outdoors, die-hard sports enthusiasts and a workplace with good morale, it’s time to move to Merrimack, N.H.

A90 has 75 NATCA members, including support staff, with three in training. The facility is 95 percent membership, with only four non-members.

A90 Facility Representative Andy Blanchard said that in the past few years A90 has had a significant turnover in the workforce and that Blanchard and the other veteran controllers at the facility particularly enjoy helping the new people achieve success on position and in the union.

“It has also been my pleasure to encourage them to become more involved in Union matters,” said Blanchard. “We have more people stepping forward for workgroups and LR positions, and it is good to see that our local union will continue to develop and grow. We continue to have good morale and a workforce that gets along with each other very well, and I take pride in that.”

The airspace this level 11 facility covers stretches from Laconia, N.H. to the N.H. seacoast, down through eastern Massachusetts to just north of Plymouth, Mass. The major airports A90 works with are Boston Logan International, Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., and Manchester Boston Regional Airport in N.H.

A90 controllers also work with Portland Tower/TRACON as well as Cape, Bradley, and Providence TRACONs and Boston Center (ZBW).

Blanchard said he enjoys working the complex and crowded airspace in the Boston area because of the new challenges that arise all the time.

“I consider it a privilege to work with many dedicated NATCA members and fellow controllers who embrace and overcome these challenges to provide great service to the users and the flying public,” said Blanchard.

While the facility holds great opportunities for NATCA members, the location does too. From water sports to hunting, to sporting events and history lessons, there are unlimited activities and adventures in the area.

The eastern boundary of New Hampshire has 18 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, featuring the Portsmouth, Great Bay area. Within the state there are 944 lakes and reservoirs, with Lake Winnipesaukee being the largest, covering an area of 44,586 acres. Interspersed throughout the state are many rivers, including the largest -Connecticut River – at 440 miles long. The lakes and the ocean provide many recreational opportunities, including beaches and whale watching, fishing, water skiing, canoeing, and kayaking.

If hiking or trail running is your preference, New Hampshire has unlimited options. Mount Monadnock is in the western part of the state and has long been recognized as one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world. To the north you’ll find the White Mountains, which are home to Mount Washington. At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is the highest peak on the east coast and has the distinction of the “World’s Worst Weather.” Until 2010, Mount Washington claimed the title of having the highest recorded wind speed at 231 mph. Although that velocity is not the norm, it’s quite common to encounter hurricane-force winds on the summit throughout the year.

New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the country, with Maine to the north claiming the title of most forested, and offers prime “leaf peeping” in the fall and an abundance of wildlife year-round. Whether in the mountains, a meadow, or driving through a residential neighborhood, it’s not uncommon to see white-tailed deer, black bears, moose, fox, coyotes, or turkeys. Although licenses are required for hunting, many enjoy “shooting” the wildlife with their cameras.

The New Hampshire state sport is skiing, and there are over 20 commercial ski areas plus countless miles of cross-country trails. Another winter pastime is snowmobiling. The state has over 6,830 miles of trails to provide access to the back country, and towns that welcome the winter visitors.

Although many of New Hampshire’s outdoor activities involve winter sports, the weather is relatively mild overall throughout the four seasons. There are occasional blizzard events and hurricane threats, but the state rarely experiences life or property damaging weather events. This is due, in large part, to the Canadian high-pressure flows and the moderating effects of the Atlantic.

For those who have an interest in U.S. history, New Hampshire has, or is close to having, many of the country’s most prominent historical sites. A variety of performing arts can be found throughout the state, in addition to venues provided by the neighboring state to the south, Massachusetts; Boston, with all its history and varied opportunities, is less than an hour away from Merrimack.

For sports teams, New England can’t be beat. Name the sport and the region will have the team. There are the Bruins, the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, and the Revolution. In fact, the controllers at A90 cherish their teams so much that they’ve named Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) after them.

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