August 28, 2014 // Facility Spotlight: Guam CERAP (ZUA)
“Guam is known for its hospitality and this carries over to our local. We have several members who are excellent cooks and they are always making community meals for the rest of the members,” says Guam CERAP (ZUA) Facility Representative Steve Costa, describing the excellent NATCA atmosphere at the facility.
Before relocating, ZUA was on Andersen Air Force base and originally began running air traffic control services in the late 1940s. The level 8 facility is now located near the main international airport.
Nineteen NATCA members work at ZUA; one member is represented by Region X. The controllers are responsible for three airports that have Class D airspace, a lot of Class A airspace, ATC assigned airspace (ATCAA), and a few Class E, G, and military warning areas.
Controllers mainly work United, Delta, and many foreign air carriers including B737s, B757s, B777s, and A320s. The military also brings a variety of fighters, tankers, and bombers when they are on the island.
Working at ZUA comes with many unique factors. One is that ZUA controllers work a terminal sector as well as en route. The controller that works both en route and terminal sectors has two different scopes to watch.
Another unique aspect of working on Guam is the weather. The islands are situated within “Typhoon Alley.” When a typhoon hits, the recovery process is long because of how isolated the island is. The average flight from the United States to Guam is approximately 18 hours.
Lastly, residents of Guam have to watch out for brown tree snakes!
Last year NATCA President Paul Rinaldi visited ZUA, becoming the first NATCA president to do so.
Guam hosts two important military exercises that bring traffic into the island. The first is Cope North, which is an annual event that brings together foreign armed forces with the United States military. Earlier this year, Japanese and Australian military forces took part in the event.
The next exercise hosted at Guam is Valiant Shield. This two-week event is solely for the U.S. military. This year ZUA is expecting over 100 military aircraft.
ZUA is in the process of hosting the first ever Guam Aviation Meet and Greet. Employees from ZUA, Hagatna (or Agana), and Andersen Tower will be able to talk with the aviation communities that they serve.
“The truly best part of the ZUA NATCA FacRep position is being able to educate my members when they have a question about our contract and their rights,” Costa says. “A close second is having to wake up at 3 a.m. for a national telcon!”