NATCA Members Featured in AOPA Safety Videos
Thursday, February 02, 2012

While NATCA works on behalf of its members to promote both the health and safety of its workers and those they serve, the union is far from alone in this quest. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) recently teamed up with NATCA for an installment of its Air Safety Institute video series.

The “Ask ATC” series of videos featured three veteran NATCA members speaking about a variety of air traffic-related questions as they pertain to pilots, such as how to request and receive visual flight rules, and how controllers can help those in the sky measure precipitation intensity.

Members AnnMarie Taggio of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport’s (CLT) control tower, Mel Davis, formerly of the Southern California TRACON, and Beverly Cook, of Washington Center, each appeared in at least two of the nine videos, which each ran about a minute long. Davis, who has spent 28 years in air traffic control, said he was approached because he was a technology representative, and since he currently works in Washington as a national representative for the NextGen program, the logistics for getting to the video shoot were easy.

The videos were shot at AOPA’s headquarters in Frederick, Md., and the participants were given the topic on hand and then just asked to pontificate. Davis, who discussed topics including how pilots can deviate in bad weather, said the three NATCA members could have filled up a video much longer in length.

“So there wasn’t a script, but as with any group of highly experienced people, you put up a subject and the talking points just flow naturally,” he said.

Taggio, the CLT controller, has worked at five different facilities since 1989, and has been in Charlotte since 2000. She said the videos were a fun chance to talk about the career she loves, while hopefully educating pilots and fellow controllers on how to react to the various situations in which they could find themselves.

She said she flew up to the Washington area for the day to film the videos, which took just a few minutes.

“The videos are short, but they are full of good information on how to handle dangerous situations calmly and smoothly,” she said. “I’m just flattered they thought I would have insight.”

The three controllers were chosen in part because of their work with Kelly Richardson, director of NATCA’s Outreach Department. Although Richardson was busy with NATCA’s Communicating for Safety conference this past week, Davis said he has been great about collaborating between different organizations with goals similar to NATCA’s.

“They have supported what we try to do, and we continue to support them,” he said of AOPA. “These videos are a good way to get our name out there, but most importantly they are great because we can lend our members’ institutional knowledge to them for the benefit of, hopefully, a wide number of controllers and pilots.”