February 21, 2013 // Facility Spotlight: Southern California TRACON
Located in sunny, beautiful San Diego is the busiest Approach Control facility in the country, but that’s not all it boasts. It’s also the facility that leads the NATCA Western Pacific Region in PAC contributions and the facility in which solidarity runs through the veins of its NATCA members.
“Every day our colors are throughout the facility,” says SCT NATCA Facility Representative Ron Geyer. “Solidarity is abundant. We are a very large family.”
The level 12 TRACON has 208 Certified Professional Controllers (CPCs), consists of seven operation areas, including the Traffic Management Unit (TMU), and provides radar services to 53 airports in its airspace. Adjacent facilities include Los Angeles Center (ZLA) and Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, and High Desert TRACONs.
Geyer says SCT air traffic controllers work aircraft of “every kind known to man.”
Unique to this TRACON is that each of its seven operational areas, including the TMU, has times where visibility is restricted from the marine layer off the Pacific Ocean. Geyer explains that the SCT airspace covers many square miles, from Palm Springs to the U.S.-Mexico border, to the Catalina Islands in the Pacific Ocean to north of Hollywood.
“Los Angeles and San Diego basin is a very congested pocket of airspace,” he says.
There are numerous events that affect and increase traffic for SCT controllers, including Comic-Con, San Diego Chargers and Padres games, Holiday/Poinsettia Bowl games, PGA tournaments at Torrey Pines, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and LA Kings games, the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, Palm Springs AOPA, the Rose parade/Rose Bowl, Laguna Grand Prix, and more!
Geyer says, “Strength is in numbers,” a motto that is evident as numerous SCT members attend regional and NATCA national events to show support for the Union. They also show support at the local level by holding monthly solidarity events at a location selected by the SCT NATCA event chairperson, in addition to the annual summer San Diego Padre NATCA night and annual SCT holiday party. Geyer explains that the monthly solidarity events are informal with no agenda other than hanging out as a family outside of work – a concept that makes the NATCA SCT family stronger every month.
It’s evident that Geyer loves his profession and his role as the local leader of SCT. But the best part about it for him?
“Speaking for my membership at all levels while mentoring the new generation on our association and Union values.”