Saturday, April 08, 2006

Marriage Proposal

I wrote this a week or so ago before all the excitement started. I don't have opportunity to blog right now, just a couple of minutes to send this off.

Most radio conversation with air traffic control goes quickly, using the official 300-odd word vocabulary given to ATC. When the frequency is not so busy, there's a bit of chat, some jokes and personal greetings. But the recording linked below represents what may be a first in Canada.

Special message from the ground controller.

It's perfectly safe for work, even if you're an air traffic controller, but it made me cry the first time I listened to it. The controller's name is Bryson Katzel, and his fiancée, as he says, is Christine Watters.

Apparently Bryson got a talking to from the big cheese in NavCanada in Ottawa, as they discourage this kind of thing, but he wouldn't have been planning on doing it again any time, anyway. I don't know any of the people involved, but I wish the couple all the best.

Thanks to Eric Martin of Futura Studios Digital Design Center for hosting the clip. Be nice to his bandwidth and save it to your computer before you play it for someone else.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Leaving It All Behind

It's kind of melancholy leaving everyone and everything, because I've developed not only friends, but a lot of specialized skills on this job that I won't need on the next one. In the course of saying good-bye to people I'm receiving comments and cards and kudos that confirm that I've done my job well. I know I can do the next one well, too, but it will take a while to go from the new person who has to be watched to the one who can be counted on.

I know every rivet and idiosyncracy of my current fleet. I may know where another company's airplane is going from its callsign. I know the people, the places, the approaches. I know where the bumps are, where the winds are going to be, and how to solve the problems unique to this specialty. And I'm going to walk away and let the knowledge decay.

I've been looking at charts. The VNCs are predominately different colours, the MDAs all seem odd, and the 100 nm safe altitudes are startling. The weather will be different, too.

Initailly I'm flying to my new company. I can drive out later to bring my stuff. The jet bringing me there will take off and fly right over my airport. My old airport. I will probably be able to see it through the scratchy window, if the weather is good.

I've flown over it a thousand times, maybe three thousand times. I learned to fly there. I've worked other places, but this is the first time I've got a job somewhere that I haven't flown to or over during previous jobs. I'll no longer hear the voices of my former colleagues on frequency. There will be new colleagues, new airplanes, new expertise.