In its recent member newsletter, the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) spotlights Mitch Herrick, Russ Bassett Director, Air Traffic Control (ATC) Consoles. Read on to learn more about what makes ATC unique, the importance of project management, and effects of COVID-19.
- ATC environments – Tower, TRACON, ARTCC
- Leveraging first-hand experience helps agencies manage projects safely and efficiently
- The effects of COVID-19 on active projects
ATC Environments are Unique
Air traffic controllers’ primary concern is the safety of approximately 2.7 million daily passengers. They also direct aircraft to minimize delays. ATC teams work in shifts, 24/7, to direct the flow of aircraft into and out of airport airspace, guide pilots during takeoff and landing, and monitor aircraft as they travel. These interdependent responsibilities fall to three specific ATC teams – Tower, Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), and Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC).
Design and Space Planning
The study, Design Implications for Teamwork in ATC, shines light on the importance of the workspace supporting communication and teamwork. This is especially critical for teams in close quarters who often operate under the stresses of weather events, unrelenting traffic demands, military exercises/events and emergencies..
Air traffic control operators (ATCOs) work closely together to deliver the service of safely directing aircraft through the sky and on the ground. ATCOs work solo, in pairs, or in groups ….ATCOs carry out challenging and demanding tasks under time pressure.
With unique roles and pressures, ATC Tower, TRACON and ARTCC teams require the right tools for the job. This includes safe, durable, adjustable and space-efficient console furniture. Console design and associated space planning boosts efficiency and communication between controllers. The ultra-durable furniture endures the punishment of 24/7 shift work over the course of a decade or more.
Industry Experience Matters When Managing ATC Console Projects
Mitch credits his project success, in part, to his 32 year’s experience as an air traffic controller in the USMC, and with the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration. “Installations in an air traffic control facility are subject to schedules, timelines, and milestones like any project,” shares Mitch. Further, projects include many details and are managed to strict timelines to ensure minimal disruption to personnel and no interruptions to ATC services.”
With a reputation as a relentless worker who gets things done, Mitch approaches every project as a unique opportunity to help teams create a safe, efficient environment. Mitch leverages his experience in systems deployment, aviation, and air traffic control, including facilities certifications in TRACON and ATC towers for the FAA and Military. He connects with all entities involved and tunes-in to their specific workplace priorities.
The Impact of COVID-19 on ATC Projects
Since teams share equipment and touch the same surfaces while working in close quarters, ATC renovation and equipment replacement projects are currently on hold. This is also true of many active FAA sites under construction. Risking the health of the ATC personnel and the maintenance personnel who maintain the equipment is a top concern, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing, shipping, and installation dates are all part of the project management process and are nebulous right now, according to Mitch.
As travel permissions expand, we’ll see active projects regain momentum. Until then, we have daily on-line meetings with our design, manufacture, and installation teams and we’re making sure we are 100% ready when things are turned back on. We can’t physically install equipment and we cannot ship products, but we can ensure quality and accuracy of everything. We have created an array of likely scenarios to ensure we are ready no matter what the challenge is. Customer satisfaction and product quality are our driving principles.
- Design Implications for Teamwork in ATC
- ATCA Member Spotlight, Author Unknown. (2020, May 15).
- Unique requirements of air traffic controllers
- Curated COVID-19 Resources for Mission Critical Teams
- Learn more about ATCA