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Roles Reversed: SJAFB partners with local aviators for Scare-a-Controller event

Roles Reversed: SJAFB partners with local aviators for Scare-a-Controller event

Story by SSgt Michael Charles on 09/20/2019

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina —

Approximately 30 Eastern North Carolina aviators toured the Air Traffic Control Tower and Radio Approach Control (RAPCON) building Sept. 19, 2019, on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

The annual event is part of the Scare-a-Controller series, which partners the Airmen of the 4th Operations Support Squadron with pilots from Eastern North Carolina, showcases to each group what it feels like on the opposite end of the radio.

“This is a great way to partner our base with our pilots from the area,” said Mr. William Miller, 4th Training Squadron training manager. “It also helps us build our relationships with the people who fly consistently around Seymour Johnson AFB.”

The series is split up into two events. This portion, brought local aviators onto the installation to get an in depth feel on controlling an airfield from an air traffic control and RAPCON specialist perspective.

During the tour, each pilot received an in depth briefing on the rules and regulations required for controlling an airfield the size of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the roles of each member.

“Our number one priority when we are controlling the airfield is to keep everyone safe,” said Airman 1st Class Austin Goggin, 4th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist. “It is always beneficial to bring our aviators on base to share why we do what we do and how each process to ensure their safety in the air.”

The group also received a behind the scenes look at the airfield and a history lesson about Seymour Johnson AFB and the 4th Fighter Wing. One member, Mr. Bill Hood, a 35-year resident of Goldsboro and local aviator, articulated that he never knew all of the global missions Seymour Johnson AFB was involved in despite living less than three blocs away.

“Its mind blowing,” he said. “I’ve lived here most of my life and never knew half of the things I learned today about the installation. It’s truly eye opening to see how impactful the base is and how many aircraft operate from right here in Goldsboro.”

The second part of the Scare-a-Controller series will take place on Oct. 19, at Wayne Executive Jetport in Goldsboro, North Carolina. During this portion, air traffic control members will reverse roles and fly with the same aviators to see what it’s like to be on the other side of the radio.

“I’m excited, said Goggin. “I know it will be eye-opening to see how drastically different the approach to the airfield is going to be from a different perspective. I can’t wait.”

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