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NATCA Honors Top Controller Flight Assists with Archie League Medal of Saftey Awards - (3/22/2010)

ORLANDO – A team of South Florida air traffic controllers helps a man land a private plane with his family onboard after the pilot suffers a heart attack and dies shortly after takeoff. A Kansas City controller assists the safe return of a Frontier Airlines flight after it hit birds and suffered engine damage. A Southern California controller alerts a SkyWest flight arriving into LAX about a small plane nearby that had mistakenly flown into busy, controlled airspace without squawking a transponder code.

These outstanding flight assists, and six others from around the country will be honored tonight at the National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s sixth annual Archie League Medal of Safety Awards banquet (watch live starting at approximately 7:45 p.m. EDT at www.natca.org), part of NATCA’s annual safety conference. Named for the first air traffic controller, the NATCA Archie League Awards honor the very best examples of skill, dedication and professionalism that NATCA members had to offer in 2009 in the pursuit of a safe outcome in emergency situations.

"The men and women whom we are honoring tonight have shown incredible skill and professionalism that defines NATCA and our profession. We are extremely proud of all of them," NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. "The ability to think quickly and remain calm under pressure while maintaining situational awareness are all unique qualities that air traffic controllers and flight service station employees possess. They all have a willingness to jump right in to resolve complex situations, offer a reassuring voice to those on the frequency and coordinate their efforts with other controllers."

Tonight’s honorees are:

ALASKAN REGION: Todd Lamb (Anchorage Center) and Michael Evans (Fairbanks Flight Service Station)

CENTRAL REGION: Jessica Hermsdorfer, Kansas City Tower / TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control)

EASTERN REGION: Louis Ridley, Potomac TRACON

GREAT LAKES REGION: Kristin Danninger, Madison, Wisc., Tower / TRACON

NEW ENGLAND REGION: Kevin Plante and Christopher Presley, Portland, Maine

Troy Decker, Salt Lake Center

SOUTHERN REGION: Jessica Anaya (Miami Center), Dan Favio (Fort Myers, Fla.), Lisa Grimm (Miami Center), Nathan Henkels (Miami Center), Carey Meadows (Fort Myers), Brian Norton (Fort Myers)

SOUTHWEST REGION: Natasha Hodge and Douglas Wynkoop, Dallas/Fort Worth TRACON

WESTERN PACIFIC REGION: Ron Chappell, Southern California TRACON

Click Here to read about each winner and their flight assists.

Click Here for audio recordings from each of the nine flight assists.

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