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Features Air Traffic
Nav Canada Tackles Emergency

Some of the most important things in life are the ones you can take for granted.


October 24, 2007
By Ramon J. Kaduck

Topics

Some of the most important things in life are the ones you can take for
granted. They go on quietly in the background so that everything else
around them works. On September 11, Nav Canada's air traffic control
system came through again, providing the safe and seamless service that
the travelling public expects.

While
the world focused on New York, Nav Canada's effort concentrated on the
North Atlantic. The Federal Aviation Authority closed US airspace, but
the morning banks of transatlantic aircraft were already enroute.
Approximately 400 aircraft were inbound for the US. Those that were
able to return had to be re-cleared to their airports of origin. Gander
controllers and the Flight Service Specialists who communicate with
aircraft over the Atlantic worked hard to turn the flights around and
return them off established tracks and at non-standard altitudes. But
more than 240 aircraft had already reached their point of no return,
and had to be diverted and safely recovered at Canadian airports.

When
she got the call, Nav Canada's assistant vice-president of air traffic
services, Kathy Fox, was in an ATS management committee meeting at the
Nav Canada Training Institute (NCTI) in Cornwall, Ontario. With her
were all of the general managers of IFR facilities and airport
operations and the head-office directors: "When my cell phone rang
three times in a minute, I decided I better find out what was
happening. I actually learned it from Dave Rohm, our national flow
manager, who was in New Hampshire at the FAA's flow control centre at
the time.