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Three Tampa Controllers Receive Outstanding Flight Assist Awards from Garvey - (6/5/2001)

CONTACT: Courtney Portner, 202.220.9813, cportner@natcadc.org

WASHINGTON – Tampa Controllers James Phillips, Ronald Romuno and Mark Scott all received Outstanding Flight Assist Awards from Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Jane Garvey at a ceremony on June 5 at agency headquarters for their heroic decisions and actions that helped save six people’s lives last summer.

On Aug. 5, 2000, the pilot of an aircraft, which was running low on fuel, had a fatal heart attack. The passenger trying to navigate the plane did not have any flight experience. Romuno realized two aircraft on his frequency were attempting to contact a third aircraft that he could not hear. After learning the pilot was incapacitated and the aircraft’s fuel situation was critical, Romuno attempted to instruct the passenger on how to change fuel tanks, but was unsuccessful. He did establish the plane’s location, and Scott contacted the Lakeland Tower controllers, and asked them if they saw an aircraft in their vicinity. Although they did not, they did have a Civil Air Patrol in the area, which could assist. Scott vectored the Civil Air Patrol, solicited the help of another aircraft, and coordinated the execution of a vector search pattern to locate the distressed plane, which was only 700 ft. above ground. The pilots of the assisting airplanes provided instructions on fuel tank selection, use of the throttle to control altitude and emergency landing procedures to the individual trying to land the aircraft. Phillips also helped Romuno and Scott. Through this coordinated effort, the aircraft with its six passengers successfully landed.

The FAA recognized all three controllers with providing the outstanding flight assist in the terminal option for 2000, and commended them for their exceptional operational knowledge and professionalism. “We are proud to recognize James Phillips, Ronald Romuno and Mark Scott for their dedication and expertise,” remarked President John Carr. “Ensuring the safety of the flying public is what NATCA members are committed to providing. Safety is our business and business is good.”

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