Pilots are finally able to see who’s behind the microphone when they talk to air traffic control. During AOPA Aviation Summit, a large area on the convention hall floor called Controllers’ Corner has been set up to bring pilots and air traffic controllers together.
“The mission of the booth is to open up the lines of communication a little more,” said Leanne Martin, a tower and approach controller in Kalamazoo, Mich. “Pilots can come by to meet us and put faces to the voices they hear in the sky.”
Pilots who drop by can ask specific questions about air traffic control procedures or policies, pick up learning materials, or even attend a mini-forum. What’s the most common question? “Why are controllers so mean?”
Mini-forums cover everything from an open question-and-answer session about Southern California airspace to navigating the National Airspace System. Martin said that only 50 chairs are set up, but they had more than 100 at the most recent mini-forum.
She went on to say that there is clearly a need for pilots and controllers to interact and better understand each other.—Ian J. Twombly