4 - NATCA 5th Archie League Awards Celebration
The highlight of the week for me was the 5th annual Archie League Awards Ceremony. These awards honor air traffic controllers who go to extraordinary lengths to bring imperilled pilots safely back to earth. Usually, they will tell you they were just doing their job, but if you ask those on the receiving end of the assistance you will find a different story. You will find, as I have, that heroes walk amongst us.

One of the joys of my job is to review outstanding flight assists at Cleveland Center. I have nominated deserving controllers every year for the Archie League awards. I can only imagine how difficult it is for the judges to narrow down the submissions. Up until this year, several of my nominees have received "honorable mentions".

This year, Frank Lewandowski, Stacey Parham, and Dean Pesato were recognized with honorable mention awards. Stephanie Bevins and Jay McCombs were selected as Archie League winners for the Great Lakes Region. I was so very proud of them. Their save involved working a Lear Jet that was being flown by a pilot impaired by hypoxia. The situation was so bad that, it is believed that the First Officer was incapacitated for the duration of the event. This event was so impressive that the Central Service Area created a mandatory briefing item about the event. In addition, the Civil Aero Medical Institute is using this incident as a training aid. I won't go into more detail, you can go here to read about this and all of the award winners. You owe it to yourself to check them out: www.natca.org/mediacenter/ArchieLeagueJan06Main.msp

A very interested observer of the awards ceremony was First Officer Jeffery Skiles of USA1549. It seems that heroes recognize heroes.

The winner of the President's award was John Charlton of Lake Charles, LA. This gentle giant of a man was the controller and co-pilot for a young student pilot who was having difficulty putting the aircraft down on the runway. Taking just the right tone, he taught and encouraged and taught and encouraged that young pilot safely back to earth. If you don't believe me, listen to it for youself. As another pilot commented, with John Charlton you get "a full service tower".

Congratulations to all of the winners. You are inspirations to us all.
146 photos · 1,253 views