Aviation In Canada

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Thanks for Kind Words

I've received a few e-mails, and seen some of the comments to my posts recently which prompted this post. Air traffic control is largely a thankless job. Often, the job satisfaction comes to us in believing we did a good job, rather than being told so. Hey, I can understand it, too. I fly and have had the same doubts as to whether the guy in the tower or the center is doing everything he can to give me the best he can. It's really easy, too, to get the feeling that what you're interested in at any given moment should be the priority. And maybe it should be! In the absence of all the information, as with any position, it's difficult to understand the decisions being made. And ATC makes mistakes, too, like anyone else.

The praise of a manager or supervisor is all too often, in the ATC business and perhaps elsewhere, disregarded as an attempt to cultivate "good employer-employee relations" rather than a genuine pat on the back -- rightly or wrongly. The praise of a controller's peers often means so much more. With many pilots willing to nag controllers on the frequencies, and even some who desire the confrontation of a phone call after landing, it's a real refreshing moment when a pilot calls or writes to thank ATC for the job done. I'm certainly not asking for things to change and for every pilot to include a phone call to ATC after tying down the airplane. That would be too far in the other direction, to be sure. Nor am I trying to say that we, as a group, deserve praise for what we do every day, either.

This is merely a thanks on behalf of ATC for those who have taken the time to write the odd letter or make the odd phonecall thanking ATC as a group for things they have done. They are happily received.