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Feb. 26, 2016 // Facility Spotlight: Oakland Center (ZOA)

ZOAOakland Center (ZOA) is a Level 11 facility commissioned in 1960. The facility is responsible for air traffic control operations over almost 10 percent of the surface of the earth. It encompasses approximately 19 million miles of airspace over Northern California, a small portion over Nevada, and the majority of airspace over the Pacific Ocean. Controllers actively work with 11 international states and a host of domestic facilities.

ZOA is unique in that it runs two distinct control rooms. One room is dedicated to the domestic operation and the second is a blend of domestic airspace and the oceanic airspace. Oceanic airspace is run through an entirely different, automated air traffic control system called Oceans 21 or “ATOP” (Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures). ATOP continually probes aircraft flight plans and automates many of the necessary non-radar oceanic operational rules. This operation is the only oceanic operation in the National Airspace System (NAS) that is also responsible for operations to and from islands that are completely non-radar. If you happen to be lucky enough to take a vacation in the South Pacific, this operation would be keeping you safe.

“I enjoy a local atmosphere that allows us to work most issues with our management counterparts in open and transparent collaboration,” says FacRep Scott Conde. “The best part of my job is the level of support from a very strong local that takes every issue seriously and helps to carry the majority of the load. Controllers here make the extraordinary seem routine.”

There are approximately 225 hard-working and dedicated members who make ZOA work. Air traffic increases due to special events like this year’s Super Bowl, annual events like Monterey golf tournaments, auto races, general aviation fly-ins, Napa and Sonoma Valley events, and many more, which are managed every day with a level of dedication second to none.

“We have an active executive board, local safety council, and training teams that provide all of the facilities operational training,” continues Conde. “These benefits and hard-working teams make the role of FacRep infinitely easier, and much more successful for all of our employees.”

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