Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When You’re Hot You’re Hot



And I’m hot ! As I told several people today, I could have stayed in Georgia if I wanted to be hot. Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just whining for no apparent reason. Yes, it was a bit warm today but it really hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm. This is still a great place to be.

After the interview on EAA Radio this morning I did my usual stint at the NATCA tent. Mostly “meet and greet.” We get a lot of people dropping by and an even wider variety of questions. Many have technical questions they’d like answered and others are just getting a general feel on how controllers feel about the issues of the day. The big topic is User Fees. NATCA is against them like virtually every other organization and individual here. Everybody knows they’re wrong -- except the people that stand to make the money off of them.

We do our best to give all the visitors the best answer possible. I’ve got 25 years at Atlanta Center, Darren is an Air Safety Investigator for NATCA, Jesse is the “young gun” and does a great job with the “How do I become a controller” crowd. Grant is a legislative rep. for NATCA and Michelle used to work OSH (back when the FAA ran it) and has several OSH “pink shirts” in her closet. Bob manned the very first booth for NATCA at OSH (and I think every one since) and then my friend Chuck should be here tomorrow and he has a few “pink shirts” in addition to being one of the finest people I know.

As you might notice, NATCA doesn’t really need me. They have a wealth of talent to choose from and I am incredibly flattered that they asked me to come back even though I retired last year. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of this organization and the people that make it work. Speaking of which, my (cowboy) hat is off to Kelly from the National Office. He is the Ring Master of this circus. How he pulls it off every year is beyond me but he always does -- and every year it’s better.

I guess the non-aviators might be interested in knowing about a “pink shirt.” Somewhere back in the past, someone had the idea to put all the controllers working OSH in the same color shirts. I assume that this particularly shocking version of pink was chosen for it’s high visibility out near the runways. Whatever the real reason, it stuck and everyone here knows what it means. The only down side to wearing one is a sore right hand from all the hand shakes they get from pilots thanking them. It’s an honor to get one. And well deserved. Alas -- a poor, ignorant Center guy like me will never get one. This gig is for the Tower folks only.

I had this list of things to tell you today but like everything at OSH -- it’s overwhelming. Just the number of old friends I bumped into -- Bruce with ASF, Harry from LGB, Eric from ProPilot, Cole and Geoff from AVSIG -- the new friends -- the guy that became a mechanic in 1947 (add that up), the young lady (all of 16) that has enough moxie to be the next Administrator -- it’s just crazy fun.

I’ve got to quit so I can get up and do it again tomorrow.

Don Brown
July 25, 2007

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