New Hampshire Air National Guard air traffic controllers impart wisdom
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt, 157th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published May 21, 2012
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Three members from the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron from the New Hampshire Air National Guard (NHANG) traveled here to participate in a week long Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) with the El Salvador Air Force May 7 through 11 that focused on sharing air traffic control experiences.
Chief Master Sgt. Alfred Orsini, Master Sgt. Richard Reed and Master Sgt. Pranav Zaveri shared their experiences in air traffic control to members of the Salvadoran ATC community.
The El Salvador Air Force, scheduled to stand up their own air traffic control squadron soon, looked to members of the NHANG for experiences and lessons learned during their process.
"The 260th squadron is a relatively new squadron, having stood up in 1997," said Master Sgt. Pranav Zaveri, a NHANG air traffic controller. "We're here to share our experiences with them as they begin that same process."
Although to be effective, Zaveri needs to know their needs and how the NHANG can provide them with the tools to be successful moving forward.
"What we've learned here is the resiliency of the El Salvador Air Force for having such a small budget and what they have done with it, which is remarkable," continued Zaveri. "Lack of funds, lack of equipment and lack of a training plan, the politics that prevents them from having a full training squadron. But they still make due and have a smile on their face every time we see them, which is great."
Through briefings and open discussions, the training is providing the Salvadoran air traffic controllers an opportunity to pave the way for managing its future.
"We're training controllers on how we can be world-wide deployable and be able to control traffic anywhere in the world," continued Zaveri.
"It's very exciting to know you are going to a hostile area helping aircraft from your own country get down to the ground safe," said 1st Lt. Nathan Ortiz, El Salvador Air Force.
The group from N.H. also had the chance to tour air traffic control towers at two local airports.
The collaborative exchange is a continuation of the ongoing partnership between New Hampshire and El Salvador.