Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 18, 2011)-The staff of the Ryan Airfield control tower won this year's Arizona Air Traffic Communication Facility Award. The Aviation Safety Advisory Group and the FAA's Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office chose Ryan based on a nomination from Barbara Harper, the facility's Airport Support Network volunteer.
Harper's nomination, which was supported by letters from other airport users, cited Ryan's impressive safety record-in May 2010 the team celebrated 2 million error-free operations dating back to 1997. The controllers' emphasis on courtesy and clarity was also mentioned: "Their patience and helpful ways encourage pilots to ask for assistance, such as progressive taxi instructions and repeating transmissions, without intimidating the pilots."
Each of the seven controllers at Ryan has at least 20 years of experience. Air Traffic Manager Gloria Calhoun said this knowledge base, plus teamwork and adherence to FAA standards, are the keys to consistently successful communications at Ryan Airfield.
She said the pilots' support likely clinched the nomination as well as giving the traffic control team highly valued recognition.
"It means everything for the flight community to appreciate and acknowledge us. That's what we work for," she said.
Ryan Airfield is a general aviation reliever facility located approximately 12 miles west of Tucson International Airport. The airport was created during World War II when the U.S. military turned to established civilian schools to meet the demand for trained pilots.
Today Ryan occupies 1,800 acres and sees about 120,000 operations annually. Nearly 30 tenants-ranging from aircraft maintenance shops to charters and flight instruction facilities, as well as 260 based aircraft - call the field home. The control tower is staffed daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. by Serco Management Services, Inc., under a contract with the FAA.