ATC Tower gains new position, first two Airmen earn ratings
By Senior Airman Keith Holcomb, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 06, 2020
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The first two Airmen ever in the Air Traffic Control Tower are now certified in the Tower Coordinator position.
Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, Air Traffic Control Tower leadership developed and implemented the new Tower Coordinator position, effective June 1, 2020, splitting the duties and responsibilities of the overtasked Flight Data (FD) position.
“Senior Airman Nico Buonsanto and I are both on the more experienced side of controllers in the Columbus AFB tower,” said Senior Airman Miranda Fisher, 14th Operations Support Squadron Air Traffic Controller. “It was exciting to be chosen to be the first ones rated in the CT position.”
Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safe and expeditious flow of air traffic. The tower visually controls the flow of aircraft from the taxiways, runways, and in local flight patterns.
Both controllers began their U.S. Air Force air traffic journeys in the Columbus AFB tower and have become experts in their craft. The tower leadership said it was hard to decide who would receive the ratings first, but were confident in the two Airmen chosen because of their experience in Flight Data.
“At first I didn’t think it was a necessary position and I think most other Airmen who never controlled in a control tower with the CT position didn’t think it was necessary,” Fisher continued, “but once Nico and I controlled in CT it was obvious how much better it worked.”
The new CT position is vital in ensuring even safer and overall improved communication between controllers and from the tower to the pilots.
“Flight Data is like a secretary of the tower, calling for weather, maintenance control, updating weather conditions, and more,” said Buonsanto. “Before the split it got overwhelming to coordinate traffic with the other controllers and accomplish Flight Data’s responsibilities. The CT will alleviate that stress on FD and allow us to really execute our mission more safely and effectively.”
Fisher and Buonsanto accomplished their training July 17, 2020 and July 29, 2020 respectively.
“It was really cool to be the first airman to go through CT training, it’s something I’ll always have,” Fisher said.