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April 14, 2015 // Facility Spotlight: Manchester Tower (MHT)

There are 13 NATCA members out of 14 at Manchester ATCT (MHT), a level five facility operating under Class C airspace 24 hours day, located in Manchester, N.H.

While MHT does not officially “own” any airspace, the facility is authorized to 2000 feet for VFR pattern work. MHT was commissioned as a NATCA facility on November 1, 1989, and works with nearby Boston TRACON (A90). Controllers at MHT work a wide variety of aircraft, including Piper Cubs, B767s, military aircraft, medevac helicopters, air carriers, cargo aircraft, as well as general aviation operations.

The weather and aircraft type the facility handles set MHT apart from other facilities, says FacRep Jeff Carpentier. “Over the past couple of years, we have had numerous snow events that have measured in feet, not inches,” he explains. “This year we saw record snowfall amounts, but our airport never closed. Actually, it has never closed due to weather. During times of bad weather we tend to get many diversions from Boston ATCT (BOS), which is about 40NM south of MHT.”

Several special events take place in the area every year that make MHT’s airspace even more unique. “MHT is the closest major airport to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which hosts two NASCAR events every year, plus we see a Bonanza Fly-in each summer,” says Carpentier. “We also handle a large amount of VIP movement during presidential election periods. We are responsible for approximately 2.1 million passengers per year, and we move nearly 80,000 tons of cargo.”

Despite being a smaller facility, MHT holds several solidarity events throughout the year. “Being a small facility makes it rather difficult to organize solidarity events outside of the facility,” Carpentier says. “However, we do have holiday dinners and many cookouts. We are currently working on a solidarity event that would benefit the community by having our members clean up a local park. This event is still in the works, but it would be a first for us here in MHT. We are looking forward to representing NATCA in our local community.”

“The local atmosphere here is pretty strong,” Carpentier explains, describing the unique qualities of a small but committed membership. “We have many members who are involved locally, and some who are involved regionally and nationally within NATCA. I would say that the best part of being FacRep is the incredible honor it is to have been elected to represent our local members and to have the opportunity to lead the advancement of our facility. We have a great pool of talented people here and many of them are willing to take on extra duties to better the facility. We don’t have staff support specialists, so it is very important that we have members willing to take on extra tasks. Knowing that I can count on the members here to get that done is extremely gratifying. I am proud to represent NATCA MHT and to be a part of the NATCA New England Region. We have an abundance of resources here and all are willing to lend a hand. RVP Mike Robicheau leads us and does a great job involving the smaller facilities in the region. He has done a great job of helping motivate the members here at MHT.”