Facility Spotlight: Martin State Federal Contract Tower (MTN)
Friday, June 07, 2013

There are five NATCA members that work at Martin State Federal Contract Tower (MTN), making the facility 100 percent NATCA membership.

The tower is on top of a building five stories high, and operates from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. EDT.

Glen Martin purchased the airport in 1929 and used it to manufacture aircraft such as the B10, B-26 and Martin 404.

The tower oversees Class D airspace and is near Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and Phillips Army Airfield.  There are two restricted areas surrounding MTN’s airspace, which is also close to the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) surrounding Washington D.C., but is no longer included in the area.

Controllers at MTN work with those at Potomac TRACON and Phillips Army Airfield. They also work with the Washington Traffic Management Unit (TMU) for information on traffic restrictions.

MTN is home to A10s, C27s, flight schools, police helicopters and corporate aircraft, with military aircraft on one side of the airport and civilian on the other. MTN controllers guide a mix of student pilots in Cessnas, helicopters, corporate aircraft and military A10s. MTN NATCA Facility Representative Michelle Retman says the combination of these aircraft proves to be challenging at times.

Many events affect the workload for MTN controllers, including last month’s Preakness Stakes. At other times, the controllers’ workload is increased due to events such as an LPGA tournament, the Grand Prix of Baltimore weekend in September and the War of 1812 celebration. The facility is home to the 175th Air National Guard, so controllers see a traffic increase during the unit’s deployment, guard weekends and exercises.

MTN keeps solidarity strong with quarterly meetings with food, going away parties and holiday events.

“The controllers enjoy knowing that NATCA is there to help out as much as they can when the need arises,” says Retman.

Speaking about the possible contract tower closures, Retman says that all of the MTN controllers have focused on remaining positive and professional during these uncertain times.

“Many of us are veterans over 31, so if the FCT program gets eliminated, we will be forced to switch careers or start over again,” she says. “There is a lot of uncertainty in our lives.”

Living in the Baltimore area, MTN NATCA members can choose from a variety of activities to do in their free time. The city has two major league sports teams, including the Ravens and the Orioles. Members can also visit the Baltimore Inner Harbor, which offers many different restaurants, bars, boat and paddleboat rentals as well as the National Aquarium.