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September 11, 2014 // Facility Spotlight: Portland (Maine) ATCT

There are 25 NATCA members at Portland (Maine) ATCT (PWM), a 100 percent NATCA facility!

The air traffic controllers at this level 6, 27-year-old tower are responsible for guiding everything flying within a 60-mile radius, and from the ground up to 10,000 feet. They keep the Portland flying public safe day in and day out by working as a team in the tower, and working with controllers at Boston Approach, Bangor Approach, and Boston Center.

The bulk of PWM’s traffic is comprised of general aviation aircraft with a mixture of jet airliners and small business jets.

PWM NATCA FacRep Jeff Breault says Portland is a very seasonal facility, which is what makes working at this tower unique.

“During the winter months, we have slower traffic, but have to deal with the ever-changing field conditions due to snow fall,” says Breault. In contrast, we see a large increase in traffic during the summer months and often contend with thunderstorms.”

Another unique aspect of working at PWM is the influx of traffic during the summer, due to children arriving from all over the country to attend summer camps located in Maine. Breault says there are also several drop-off, pick-up, and parents’ visiting weekends during the summer that create large increases in workload.

“We also have fly-ins at many of our satellite airports throughout the year,” he says.

As far as solidarity events go at PWM, Breault says this year the NATCA local held its first-ever lobster bake. Breault hopes this will turn into an annual event. He added that PWM NATCA also hosts an annual holiday gathering that former and current controllers always attend.

Breault says his 100 percent NATCA facility has a great atmosphere.

“The best part of being FacRep is being able to help shape the future of the facility, and try to provide the best working conditions for my fellow members.”