Archie League Awards, Air Traffic Controllers 2012 Honorees


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Archie League Awards, Air Traffic Controllers 2012 Honorees

By Shane Nolan

February 3, 2012 - On Wednesday in Atlanta, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association capped its annual Communicating for Safety Conference with a great celebration of the best in Air Traffic Control: the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards. 

The Archie awards named after the first air traffic controller recognize the year’s best examples of extraordinary work ensuring safety during a flight emergency. The ability to think quickly and remain calm under pressure while maintaining a situational awareness are all unique qualities that air traffic controllers possess.  

Without their willingness to jump right in to resolve complex situations, offer a reassuring voice to those on the frequency and coordinate their efforts with other controllers, this group of dedicated professionals wouldn’t be as successful as they are today at maintaining the safety of the National Airspace System. 

While many controllers often feel that they are “just doing their job,” their hard work is often viewed by others as remarkable and extraordinary. Named after the first air traffic controller, the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards program highlights a variety of “saves” some which involve a team of controllers working together and others which are the result of one controller’s efforts. 

Air traffic controllers juggle a variety of variables and complex scenarios. Their ability to adapt to ever-changing situations while keeping their composure is a skill they have mastered. As a result of their commitment to perfection, the air travel system is the safest in the world.

Raymond H. "Ray" LaHood United States Secretary of Transportation presented to the 2012 honorees.

- ArchieMedal Alaskan Region Kristina Kurtz
- Central Region Todd Mariani
- Eastern Region Matt Reed
- Great Lakes Region Guy Lieser and Steve McGreevy
- New England Region Chris Henchey and Ryan Workman
- Northwest Mountain Region Charlie Rohrer
- Northwest Mountain Region Ken Greenwood, Josh Haviland and Ryan Herrick
- Southern Region Alvin Kent
- Southwest Region Frank Fisher and Greg Fleetwood
- Western Pacific Region Kevin McLaughlin 

In congratulating the winners last night, Acting Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta reminded the attendees that despite the awardees' commitment to safety and their extraordinary calm under dramatic circumstances, air traffic control relies on a team. 

"Vince Lombardi once said, 'Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.' And so it goes with air traffic control. Even though only a handful of controllers are being recognized tonight, the fine work of thousands of controllers is what helps to make America’s airspace the safest in the world." 

And one of the dramatic saves that earned Archie League recognition exemplifies that teamwork.  On December 11, 2011, Ken Greenwood, Ryan Herrick, and Josh Haviland of the Seattle Terminal Radar Approach Control combined to help pilot Jim Lawson descend through thick clouds from 3,200 feet and land his Mooney MO20 at Washington's Renton Airport, without any fuel.  It's really a terrific story. 

Raymond H. "Ray" LaHood said “First and foremost, DOT and the FAA are safety agencies. In the last 35 months that’s almost three years—more than two billion people have flown on U.S. commercial aircraft without a fatal accident. And the nation's air traffic controllers, like this year's Archie winners, are on the front lines of our mission to ensure pilot and passenger safety.  Thankfully, most of us who travel America's skies don't need to draw upon the heightened vigilance and skill of our controllers, but when a situation turns dangerous, it's good to know that these men and women are on the job”.

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