Story and photo by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault
4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Air traffic control specialists trained on the Air Traffic Navigation, Integration and Coordination System at Butts Army Airfield, May 14.
The ATNAVIC system is a tactical radar system that provides a rapid air traffic control response for conditions — such as radio failure at the tower and inclement weather with no visibility, which affect pilots’ ability to land without equipment — that prevent the air traffic control tower from working effectively.
The Soldiers from Company F, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, find the equipment useful.
“In situations in which aircraft have low visibility due to weather, and the tower has bad radio reception, we can get the aircraft on a safe approach using the ATNAVIC system,” said Staff Sgt. Samuel Siegar, radar management supervisor, Company F, 2nd GSAB.
The Soldiers also appreciate the system’s portable nature.
“The ATNAVIC system is very mobile, perfect for tactical environments and can be set up anywhere. All you need to set it up is a runway and a tower,” said Spc. Anthony Willis, air traffic controller, Company F, 2nd GSAB.
The system is also easy to set up, with appropriate training.
“The system can be set up by four highly-trained people in one hour,” said Rahn McCullough, product management air traffic controller net trainer. “Although I haven’t seen it done in that time, it is still a rapid assembly and effective piece of equipment that can be used by air traffic controllers.”
Company F had seven air traffic controllers go through this training for the first time, and one that was already certified.
Siegar was the only ATNAVICS certified air traffic controller to go through the training.
“I have been certified for six years on this type of radar system,” said Siegar. “There (have) been three software version updates in the last two years. I needed this training to keep me up to date on all the changes in the system.”
The Company F first-time ATNAVICS trainees also found this training useful to their job.
“Getting certified on the ATNAVIC system allows air traffic controllers to become rated on radar systems,” said Willis. “We become more well-rounded air traffic controllers. We can use this knowledge when we get out of the Army and want (to do air traffic control) as civilians.”