July 21, the Mojave Transportation Museum offered their thanks to the Mojave Unicom and Air Traffic Control at Plane Crazy Saturday.
While the event still welcomed the monthly static displays, tram-rides and vendors, the presentation was a unique tribute to the men and women that keep our airways safe.
FAA Air Traffic Control Specialist Support Manager Susan “Marmet” Staabs was featured as the guest speaker.
During her presentation she outlined the history of ATC and how operations are done today. According to Staabs, early ATC had very simple rules, “use caution, don’t hit the guy who took off ahead of you and don’t hit the guy who just landed.”
She added that, “Those basic general rules were not enough and we needed to increase our rules to prevent collision.”
By the 1930s, we had begun to use radio-equipped towers and in 1935 the first command center was opened in Newark, N.J. Today, there are 22 Air Route Traffic Control Centers across the United States. Of those 22 centers, Palmdale, Calif., has the 14th busiest with roughly two million operations per year, which is around 5,000 operations per day.
At the end of Staabs presentation, Dick Rutan offered his congratulations stating that, “In [his] experience, the controllers [in Palmdale] are extremely professional and they use the right phraseology and it’s always an honor to work with people [from the Palmdale facility].”
Cathy Hansen, founding director of MTM and PCS coordinator, presented several plaques of appreciation to Unicom and ATC employees as part of the salute. Recipients of the plaques were Mojave Unicom Operator, Sara Teeter and Mojave Tower Controllers, Carl Ingram, Johnny ‘JD’ Davis, Bill Kuhar, Dave Bytheway and Nick Booker.
Outside on the tarmac, visitors were invited to participate in a guided tour with Al Hansen and view static aircraft displays as well as aviation art by Douglas Castleman.
Making another appearance at PCS, was Joe Clark with his unique teardrop trailer appropriately named TearDropOne, since it’s decor mimic’s Mojave’s famed SpaceShipOne.
Clark recently renovated the trailer updating the interior with new space-themed bedding as well as other upgrades including a chrome back-splash to replace the wood paneling that it used to bear. The small trailer is even equipped with a miniature coffee pot and refrigerator. Clark said that this is his second show since the renovations were completed and that “it’s drawn quite a crowd and people really seem to enjoy it.”
“I think plane crazy is fantastic. As a pilot and a controller I love being able to get together and see aviation, meet with fellow pilots and talk about my job and their lives and hangar talk,” said Stabbs.
Plane Crazy Saturday is a monthly event held on the third Saturday of every month at the Mojave Air and Spaceport. Admission is always free, courtesy of the Mojave Transportation Museum.