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June 2, 2017 // Turn Off Tune In: 
Cleveland Rocks Out Distractions

Controllers at Cleveland Center (ZOB) are making full use of two new cellphone charging stations at their facility to keep distractions out of the operating environment.

One tabletop station is located in the break room. The other — a tower design with individual cubbies for each phone — is located by the control room door. With both stations, controllers can store their phones safely instead of keeping them with them while they are plugged into their sector working flights.

The installation of the charging stations continues the success of Turn Off Tune In (TOTI) a cornerstone program of the Foundations of Professionalism. The FAA and NATCA launched TOTI in 2013 to raise awareness to the dangers of distractions in the operating areas. U.S. air traffic facilities have recognized the campaign’s importance and have made it a component of their safety culture.

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“We’re seeing great things accrue from these charging stations,” said Russ Hannu, ZOB NATCA FacRep. “Any possibility of someone forgetting to power off their phone is mitigated by the use of them.”

ZOB controllers have their hands full as they continuously manage a high volume of flights between the busy Chicago and East Coast airports. Located on the southern coast of Lake Erie, Cleveland Center also works with Toronto Center, the largest facility in NAV CANADA’s airspace, controlling high-altitude flights.

Hannu and Air Traffic Manager Mark Madden collaboratively oversee a highly-focused controller workforce. The charging stations help advance a “safety first” culture.

“Russ and I put a message out to the controllers on why we’re installing the charging stations,” Madden said, “and everyone has responded very well.”

This story has been published jointly by the FAA and NATCA. Learn more about how controllers and managers are eliminating distractions by visiting the Turn Off Tune In webpage.