The WNCPA sponsors a “Fly-a-Controller” (FAC) Program, wherein members volunteer their services to let the Asheville Controllers experience flight in our environs.
The first FAC event was held on February 20, 2012. Organized by WNCPA member, Robert Poole, five controllers (see photo below) flew with WNCPA pilots (also in photo below). The flights began at the Asheville Regional Airport, with flight to the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport to acquaint the controllers with departing and re-entering Class C airspace from the pilot’s perspective. From Greenville, the controllers were flown back to Asheville via the Transylvania Community Airport to show the controllers the topography to the west of Asheville. The one challenge the controllers noted was difficulty pilots have locating air traffic when called out by ATC.
We continue to offer FAC flights because we feel that an open, collegial relationship between pilots and controllers leads to a better understanding of each others’ procedures and environments resulting in increased flight safety and air traffic efficiency.
In June 2014, WNCPA member, Ruffin Benton, organized another round of FAC flights and on June 27, WNCPA pilot, Tim Anderson, flew controller Cale Walker from Asheville to and from the Greenville Downtown Airport. Cale also noted the difficulty pilots have in seeing other traffic.
Controllers and pilots at the Febraury 2010 FAC event. Left to right back row: Ed Benson (Pilot), Rick Ondrovic (Pilot), Rex Dowtin (Controller), James Moody (Controller). Jamie Szczecinski (Controller), Don Short (Pilot), Mike Minlschmidt (Controller), Rhett Grotzinger (WNCPA member), and Russell Steiner (WNCPA member). Front row: Robert Poole (pilot) and Cindy Carter (pilot).