The public suddenly has its eyes turned on the Air Traffic Controllers. Really?
There has always been something missing from this Blog, in my opinion. Examples of my actual job, unedited. When I have a fantastically busy session at HNK/DNY -- my perfect phraseology, creative crossing restrictions to ensure separation, subtle vectors when a crossing restriction won't work, my D-side calling New York to get control for lower on the ALB arrivals, delivering Area E some awesome looking in-trail -- I can't ask my supervisor for a recording of my frequency and land lines to upload here, and I can't take a quick screen shot from the Falcon program to show off to you how proud I am of the work that we all do on a daily basis. Giving you access to that information is a security risk, a violation of policy, and copyright infringement. And if you're not a pilot, you'll never get access into my building for a tour to see it all first hand. Instead, I do my best to explain what happened using rudimentary maps, some excellent Flightaware.com links, and my words. I appreciate all of you for following along and your comments and encouragement.
But there are people hovering. Folks just waiting for me to screw up. They're pretty sure I will; I'm human, after all. And when I do screw up there is a major possibility that what I have done, what I've said, and how horrible of a person I am, will be plastered all over the media-scape. Life really isn't fair, after all. I'm not allowed to share with you the 99.9999 percent positive aspects of my work with you here, or anywhere, but that .00001 percent may be used against my entire profession without rebuttal.
Perhaps what I want to show off to you all is too complicated, and people could be afraid of what they don't understand. But the point would be made. What I, and 15000 other air traffic controllers in the US, and tens of thousands more around the world do every day, cannot be explained to the general public in specific terms. And if the public can't understand the positive details, how can they judge us on the negative details?
So maybe we should stay locked up behind windowless doors and just do our work everyday in quiet perfection. Have we created an unfair expectation of ourselves because we do our jobs perfectly almost all the time? Have we silenced ourselves by focusing on undramatic things like "safety"? When the specifics of our rare mistakes are made public but we can't defend ourselves with details of our constant and habitual commendable actions but once a year, getting the flying public home in a safe and efficient manner, then we're loosing an unfair fight. The only thing that gets shown off is a negative image. But that isn't how I see my work at all. If only I could show you.
Till next time...