NAV CANADA garners multiple awards at international conference
(Ottawa, November 10, 2015) – NAV CANADA is proud to announce that several employees have been duly recognized for their outstanding accomplishments by the Washington D.C. based Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA). The awards were presented during the 60th Annual ATCA Conference and Exposition held in National Harbor, Maryland from November 2-4.
“To see our people honoured by a distinguished international association is a source of pride for NAV CANADA,” said John Crichton, President and CEO. “Their achievements exemplify the dedication and commitment that has significantly contributed to NAV CANADA’s excellent record for safety and efficiency.”
Among the NAV CANADA award recipients was Sid Koslow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, winner of the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, ATCA’s most prestigious honour. The trophy was presented to Koslow at the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award Banquet on the evening of November 4. (See news release announcing the award.)
The other ATCA awards were presented on November 2 at the Conference & Exposition’s Awards Luncheon. The following employees accepted the awards referenced below (Biographies are attached):
Anne Breen: The Andy Pitas Memorial Award
This Medallion Award is presented to an individual or group who provided flight assistance in the previous year that resulted in the safe recovery of an emergency aircraft through the application of exceptional air traffic service.
Maureen Stevens: ATCA Air Traffic Control Specialist of the Year (Flight Service Specialty)
The award presented to an individual civilian air traffic control specialist who has during the previous year performed in an exemplary or extraordinary manner in support of ATC.
Du Jin Moon: ATCA Airway Transportation Systems Specialist of the Year Award
Award presented to an individual military or civilian airway facilities technician acting in a non-supervisory capacity who has, during the previous year, performed in an exemplary or extraordinary manner in support of ATC.
François Bisaillon: ATCA Life Cycle Management Award
The award recognizes the individual(s) or group whose design, development, deployment, maintenance or logistical support had a significant positive impact on the performance or operation of an important ATC system in the previous year.
NAV CANADA also received the Chairman’s Citation of Merit Award, for Light the Way, the Company’s mental health peer-support program for employees with personal or family mental health issues. NAV CANADA was one of the first private-sector companies in Canada to implement a mental health peer-support program in 2012. During the two years following its launch, “Light the Way” has grown and its “no stigma” message and supportive philosophy became a part of NAV CANADA’s culture.
In February 2015, the program was recognized by the Canadian Mental Health Association, which awarded NAV CANADA its C.M. Hincks Award. (See news release.)
Peer support team members accepting the award were Chris Cassey, Pierre Gaumond, Paul Lutman, Dennis Mitchell, and Lyne Wilson.
NAV CANADA is the country’s private sector civil air navigation services provider. With operations from coast to coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.
Anne Breen, Air Traffic Controller, Vancouver Area Control Centre
A highly respected air traffic controller at the Vancouver ACC, Anne calmly and professionally assisted a pilot flying with an engine out and in danger of losing control of his aircraft. In the judgment of her peers, Anne was responsible for the aircraft’s safe landing while continuing to assist other flights in her area of responsibility.
On December 19, 2014, Island Express Air Flight 405, a twin-engine Piper Navajo, had departed Nanaimo Airport (CYCD) in poor weather for Abbotsford, British Columbia. Shortly after departure, the pilot reported his right engine out and requested a return to Nanaimo.
With a low ceiling, the pilot required radar vectors for an ILS approach. Anne and her colleagues in the Victoria Terminal Specialty realized the pilot was having extreme difficulty maintaining the assigned altitude and heading. He was flying towards higher terrain, at one point dropping below the minimum vectoring altitude. Drawing on her experience as a pilot and an air traffic controller, Anne helped the pilot remain calm and in control of the aircraft.
Anne’s colleagues are unanimous in crediting her “calm, professional reaction and timely instructions” for helping the pilot steer the aircraft away from surrounding hills. As her supervisor said, “I was standing by Anne that day, watching the radar screen in disbelief. The pilot could not maintain either altitude or course, was obviously struggling to keep the aircraft flying, and was definitely headed towards higher terrain.”
Another colleague who was present said: “Anne calmly and professionally helped the pilot land safely in Nanaimo after experiencing an engine failure. She handled everything so well, I’m sure that it helped avoid a much worse outcome.”
Maureen Stevens, Flight Service Specialist, Îles-de-la-Madeleine Flight Service Station
Îles-de-la-Madeleine Airport (CYGR) is located on one of the Magdalen Islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Flight Service Station (FSS) provides services to general aviation using the airport, and maintains the Remote Aerodrome Advisory Service (RAAS) in Natashquan and Havre‑Saint-Pierre, both located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence.
When two winter storms struck Eastern Canada in close succession in 2015, Flight Service Specialist Maureen Stevens went well beyond the call of duty to keep these services operational. She prepared for the storms by bringing personal belongings and enough food to last several days to the station. Faced with extreme winds gusting up to 75 mph and 14 inches of snow, Maureen stayed at the FSS for almost 48 hours, working 18 consecutive hours at a position and sleeping two nights at the airport because the roads were closed.
Maureen kept the FSS and the RAAS open until their regular closing time, and also opened them the next day. By keeping the station open, Maureen ensured the island’s residents had access to emergency air ambulance services, which do not fly to Îles-de-la-Madeleine in emergency conditions unless a Specialist is on duty at the station. Her actions also allowed her colleagues to stay home with their families and not risk travelling to the station. As a result of her commitment to safety, NAV CANADA operations at Îles-de-la-Madeleine were “Ops Normal” throughout both storms.
Du Jin Moon, CNS Team Supervisor, Vancouver Tower
On the morning of November 26, 2014, the Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) at Prince George Airport (CYXS) in British Columbia failed, leaving air traffic controllers and pilots without critical weather information. The airport was forced to close, leading to the cancellation of 35 flights and leaving 900 travelers stranded.
The technologists who maintain NAV CANADA’s equipment at CYXS are based in Vancouver and normally fly to Prince George to maintain and repair equipment. With the airport closed, this was not an option. At the time the AWOS failed, Du Jin Moon, the Vancouver CNS Supervisor, was performing maintenance at Fort Nelson Airport (CYYE), about 500 miles north of Prince George. Rather than assigning the job to one of his staff, he chose to do the work himself.
He was able to book a flight to Prince George, but the flight was diverted to Fort St. John, B.C., some 270 miles short of Prince George. At that point, knowing how important it was to restore the AWOS, Du Jin decided to drive from Fort St. John to Prince George.
He started at 3:00 p.m. in a snowstorm, which continued as he made his way through the mountains, at times without cellphone coverage. He arrived in Prince George at around midnight and began repairs. Working through the night, he brought the AWOS back online at 6:00 a.m. on November 27, enabling the airport to re-open to scheduled flights.
Without Du Jin’s extraordinary dedication, commitment and 24 straight hours of effort, this outage would have been longer and would have had much greater impact on the airport, the airlines and the flying public they serve.
François Bisaillon, Data Systems Coordinator, Montreal Area Control Centre
François Bisaillon has been one of the driving forces behind the design, development and deployment of a software data adaptation for NAV CANADA’s Extended Computer Display System (EXCDS), or electronic flight strips. This adaptation enables air traffic controllers and flight service specialists to perform all required coordination procedures electronically.
In February 2014, François oversaw implementation of the EXCDS adaptation in the Montreal ACC’s East Low Specialty. The Montreal ACC is the first within NAV CANADA to use electronic transmissions for all exchanges of operational data between enroute, terminal, towers and flight service stations. The adaptation has been so successful at the Montreal ACC that it will be implemented at all of NAV CANADA’s ACCs.
Exchanging information exclusively via electronic data increases safety in many ways. It greatly reduces the risk of errors in exchanges between controllers, since they all use the same data. It minimizes the time spent on exchanges, allowing operational staff to focus on their main task and reducing potential distractions. And, because information presented to the controller is adjusted based on the operational context, controllers can process information more quickly and spend more time on planning and control duties.
Other benefits include eliminating inefficient paper-based tasks and voice transmissions for relaying clearances and instructions to pilots, and increased speed and tactical response during traffic surges.
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