Air Traffic Controllers Celebrate ATC Day

As Air Traffic Controllers worldwide celebrate ATC day, I would like to pay homage to the thousands of men and women who maintain safety in the sky above us. October 20th was designated as ATC day by the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations.

As Air Traffic Controllers worldwide celebrate ATC day, I would like to pay homage to the thousands of men and women who maintain safety in the sky above us. October 20th was designated as ATC day by the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations.

Some of IFATCA’s main objectives are:
• To promote safety, efficiency, and regularity in international air navigation;
• To assist and advise in the development of safe and orderly systems of air traffic control (ATC);
• To promote and uphold a high standard of knowledge and professional efficiency among air traffic controllers; and
• To protect and safeguard the interests of the air traffic control profession.

In reflecting on my ATC career, here are a few people (not in any particular order) who have influenced my development while exuding the very objectives listed above.

Dennis Daniel: The backbone of the ATC training school in Guyana during my formative years. He’s the most patient instructor I’ve ever come across, who is capable of moving mountains to get you to understand a concept. He was the walking library when it comes to ICAO and ATC Procedures. He left a great legacy behind and remains my inspiration.

Robert Singh: A very witty and intelligent man who’s voice I constantly keep hearing in my mind saying “do the right thing“. As the SATCO during my formative years, he possessed excellent administrative and motivational skills. I have this human flaw which causes me to constantly compare him to other administrators. He’s the yardstick that I use.

Col. Anthony Mekdeci (Ret’d): “Err on the right side” is a phrase that he used to admonish air traffic controllers as Director of Civil Aviation in the 1980s and 90s. As a former military pilot and survivor of a crash, he knew the importance of maintaing safety in the air and promoted it at all costs.

Jeffrey Pierre: The epitome of professionalism. Jeffrey was one of the greatest advocates of ATC however unpopular he became in the eyes of the political directors. As the first Director General of the then newly established Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, he supported anything that was firmly grounded in ICAO or other international principles. He often referred to me as one of Timehri’s “Big Guns” whenever I entered his office….I’m still flattered.

Aubrey Alexander: He was a senior aviation official in the Civil Aviation Department in 1984 when he gave a career speech to the Third Formers at St. Rose’s High School, my Alma Mater. I was a captive member of the audience back then, and that experience has no doubt contributed to the decision I made to enter the ATC profession.

Jorge Fernandez: Jorge, the ICAO Lima Office ATM-SAR Officer who I’ve worked with at ICAO meetings and on official visits to Guyana, has enlightened me as to the need to balance national ATM development with the users’ ability to pay for it during its life. He’s full of great advise….the Caribbean and South American region truly benefits from this.

Capt. Gerry Gouveia: As a pilot and aircraft operator in Guyana, he was one of the few outstanding airmen who has supported ATC and it’s development. When I became president of the staff association, Gerry’s support helped the growth the Guyana Association of Air Traffic Controllers with his direct involvement in fund-raising and other activities. Simply put, he helped to restore the pride in being air traffic controllers in the early 1990s.

Malcolm DePeiza: “What’s in it for the controller” is the question he often asks. I first met Malcolm, a Trinidadian controller, in 1994 in Ottawa at an IFATCA conference. Years later, this profound question is often reverberating in my head when I have to make decisions or provide commentary on ATM issues.

There are thousands of unsung heroes out there and I am proud to be a part of such a glorious profession.

3 Responses


I join you whole heartedly to celebrate this auspicious day for us who have spent the creamiest part of life with headset and mike(lip-mike later) and pencil (glass marking) looking either at Runway or the Radar screen. I do felicitate those unsung, unseen (but always heard) heroes and heroines who are, in their unending, unnerving endeavor, bringing the aircraft down safely and expeditiously from the crowded sky all over the globe. I wish them success, good health and “Happy Controlling”.

PS : could you pass this to IFATCA for message to all controllers. I shall be grateful.


Oh Controller, who sits in Tower
Hallowed be thy sector
Thy traffic come, thy instructions be done
On the ground as they are in the air.
Give us this day our radar vectors
And forgive us our TCA incursions
As we forgive those who cut us off on finals.
And lead us not into adverse weather,
But deliver us our clearances.


On reading the blog I am over run with emotions and humbly flattered. The values learned from ATC has greatly helped in my current career.
Humbly Yours,

Subscribe to my Blog

About Wayne Farley

Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, an aviation safety evangelist who once made my living working in the control tower. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from the aviation world. After writing "13 Characteristics of an air traffic controller" in 2010, it went viral and established me as an unofficial ambassador for ATC.


Stalk me here:

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ RSS Feed

Dig Through My Archives

Follow on Twitter

atcblog on Twitter
Follow @atcblog
4659 people follow atcblog
DietmarK ChristianConesa Christia imlukesmith imlukesm Icelandair Icelanda AndrewMayne AndrewMa Helicenterd Helicent letovyprovoz letovypr waypointmag waypoint Hananqabartai Hananqab beluromanach82 beluroma

Latest Tweets