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2013 Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners

2013 – Winners of the 9th Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Awards, honored on March 6, 2013 at Rio in Las Vegas:

Alaskan Region: Ryan Williams, Anchorage Center

On the evening of November 4, 2013, Anchorage Center (ZAN) North Area controller Todda Yonge was working when he received a call from Fairbanks Flight Service Station. Controllers there had lost contact with a Cessna in need of navigation assistance after the pilot found himself in heavy snow with extremely limited visibility.

BELOW: Watch the award presentation.

BELOW: Watch and listen to highlights from this save event.

Central Region: Kevin Cook and Steve Clark, St. Louis TRACON
(From left to right) Central Regional Vice President Kevin Peterson, pilot xx, Steve Clark, Kevin Cook, President Paul Rinaldi, and Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert.

Air traffic controllers are trained to respond to any kind of emergency in their airspace.

Eastern Region: Dave Giberson and Corey Grafe, Philadelphia Tower
(From left to right) Eastern Regional Vice President Phil Barbarello, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, Dave Giberson, and President Paul Rinaldi.

Air traffic controllers are trained to respond to any kind of emergency in their airspace.

Great Lakes Region: Jeff Richards, Chicago Center
(From left to right) Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, pilot xx, Jeff Richards, Great Lakes Regional Vice President Bryan Zilonis, and President Paul Rinaldi.

Air traffic controllers are trained to respond to any kind of emergency in their airspace.

New England Region: Erik Anderson, Boston ATCT
(From left to right) New England Regional Vice President Mike Robicheau, Erik Anderson, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, and President Paul Rinaldi.

Air traffic controllers are trained to respond to any kind of emergency in their airspace.

Northwest Mountain Region: Donovan Carson, Portland TRACON
(From left to right) Northwest Mountain Regional Vice President Jim Ullmann, Donovan Carson, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, and President Paul Rinaldi.

Air traffic controllers are trained to respond to any kind of emergency in their airspace.

Southern Region: Bill Sullivan, Tampa ATCT
(From left to right) Southern Regional Vice President Victor Santore, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, Bill Sullivan, and President Paul Rinaldi.

On March 1, 2012, air traffic controller Bill Sullivan was directing a Piper Malibu [PA-46, N377HC] from Tampa Executive Airport to Tampa International Airport (TPA). But shortly after takeoff, the pilot declared an emergency due to flight control problems.

N377HC: Seven Hotel Charlie we got an emergency.

Sullivan: Seven Hotel Charlie state the nature of the emergency.

N377HC: I’m losing my controls.

Sullivan: Alright sir, do you need, do you want to land at Tampa International? Do you want to land back at Vandenburg? Or where do you want to go?

N377HC: You tell me, I’m trying to get my act together.

Realizing his best plan of action would be redirecting the pilot back to Tampa Executive, Sullivan began giving him the necessary coordinates to return to the airport. At the same time, he began handing off some of his workload so he could focus on the situation at hand and ensure that the service to the other flights he was responsible for would not be degraded.

The pilot was in clear distress. His breathing became rapid and he was unable to communicate his situation with Sullivan as he attempted to steer the aircraft in response to the turns being issued.

Sullivan continued directing the pilot until he finally saw the airport.

N377HC: How much further is this airport?

Sullivan: Seven Hotel Charlie, at your 11-10 o’clock now in about two and a half miles. It’s just on the other side of that interstate, sir…

Sullivan worked for several more minutes to assist the pilot in finding the airport, repeatedly pointing out its proximity to the interstate.

N377HC: Seven Hotel Charlie, got it! Finally!

Sullivan: Okay, sir. You can go ahead and resume navigation to the airport.

N377HC: Don’t leave me; this ain’t over.

Sullivan: No, sir. I’ll be right here.

Sullivan stayed with the pilot until he landed safely. When the pilot did land, he asked Sullivan for a favor – could he place an important phone call? The pilot asked if Sullivan could call his wife and let her know that he was no longer going to be at Tampa International and would need to be picked up at Tampa Executive.

Sometimes, being an air traffic controller is more than just directing air traffic. Sometimes you might need to direct someone’s wife to an airport.

BELOW: Watch the award presentation.

BELOW: Watch and listen to highlights from this save event.

Click here for a transcript of the highlights from this save event.

Southwest Region: LouElla Hollingsworth, Fort Worth Center
(From left to right) Southwest Regional Vice President Tim Smith, LouElla Hollingsworth, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, and President Paul Rinaldi.

Air traffic controllers are trained to respond to any kind of emergency in their airspace.

MEDIA COVERAGE: Watch story from ABC News.

Western Pacific Region: Emily Birkland and Roy Teshima, Oakland Center
(From left to right) Western Pacific Regional Vice President Ham Ghaffari, Emily Birkland, Roy Teshima, President Paul Rinaldi, and Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert.

Air traffic controllers are trained to respond to any kind of emergency in their airspace.

President’s Award: Bill Sullivan, Tampa Tower/TRACON
(From left to right) Southern Regional Vice President Victor Santore, Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, Bill Sullivan, and President Paul Rinaldi.

On March 1, 2012, air traffic controller Bill Sullivan was directing a Piper Malibu [PA-46, N377HC] from Tampa Executive Airport to Tampa International Airport (TPA). But shortly after takeoff, the pilot declared an emergency due to flight control problems.

N377HC: Seven Hotel Charlie we got an emergency.

Sullivan: Seven Hotel Charlie state the nature of the emergency.

N377HC: I’m losing my controls.

Sullivan: Alright sir, do you need, do you want to land at Tampa International? Do you want to land back at Vandenburg? Or where do you want to go?

N377HC: You tell me, I’m trying to get my act together.

Realizing his best plan of action would be redirecting the pilot back to Tampa Executive, Sullivan began giving him the necessary coordinates to return to the airport. At the same time, he began handing off some of his workload so he could focus on the situation at hand and ensure that the service to the other flights he was responsible for would not be degraded.

The pilot was in clear distress. His breathing became rapid and he was unable to communicate his situation with Sullivan as he attempted to steer the aircraft in response to the turns being issued.

Sullivan continued directing the pilot until he finally saw the airport.

N377HC: How much further is this airport?

Sullivan: Seven Hotel Charlie, at your 11-10 o’clock now in about two and a half miles. It’s just on the other side of that interstate, sir…

Sullivan worked for several more minutes to assist the pilot in finding the airport, repeatedly pointing out its proximity to the interstate.

N377HC: Seven Hotel Charlie, got it! Finally!

Sullivan: Okay, sir. You can go ahead and resume navigation to the airport.

N377HC: Don’t leave me; this ain’t over.

Sullivan: No, sir. I’ll be right here.

Sullivan stayed with the pilot until he landed safely. When the pilot did land, he asked Sullivan for a favor – could he place an important phone call? The pilot asked if Sullivan could call his wife and let her know that he was no longer going to be at Tampa International and would need to be picked up at Tampa Executive.

Sometimes, being an air traffic controller is more than just directing air traffic. Sometimes you might need to direct someone’s wife to an airport.

BELOW: Watch the award presentation.

BELOW: Watch and listen to highlights from this save event.

Click here for a transcript of the highlights from this save event.

Honorable Mention

CENTRAL REGION
Stephen Clark, St. Louis TRACON
Rich Salmen, Kansas City Center
Scott Lawniczak, Kansas City Center
Aaron Dunbar, Kansas City Center
Josh Brown, Kansas City Center
Nathan Burch, Kansas City Center

EASTERN REGION
Jonathan Kendall, Potomac TRACON
Casey Whittaker, Potomac TRACON
Jason Boyde, Philadelphia ATCT

GREAT LAKES REGION
Robert Mischke, Jr., Chicago Midway ATCT
Christopher Robinson, Chicago Midway ATCT
John Herlien, Chicago Center
David Schickram, Chicago Center

NORTHWEST MOUNTAIN REGION
Troy Lasnetske, Seattle-Tacoma ATCT
Joe Spencer, Seattle-Tacoma ATCT

SOUTHERN REGION
Brian Graham, Jacksonville Center

SOUTHWEST REGION
Gregory Blackford, Austin ATCT
Ashley Curtsinger, Houston Center

WESTERN PACIFIC REGION
Matthew Van Der Haeghen, San Jose ATCT
Frank Hernandez, Los Angeles Center
Edmundo Yepez, Los Angeles Center
Jim Thompson, Southern California TRACON
Rosa Serai, Honolulu Control Facility

Video: Highlights of the 2014 Archie League Medal of Safety Award-Winning Flight Assists

Photo Album: The 9th Annual Archie League Awards Banquet

View photo album here.