For Immediate Release

December 15, 2001
Contact: Joette Storm
Phone: (907) 271-5296

The Dillingham Flight Service staff will receive the FAA Flight Service Station of the Year award on Thursday, December 20, at an informal celebration at the flight service station. Being named Flight Service Station of the Year means the specialists have provided the highest quality service of all the 14 Flight Service Stations operating in Alaska.

"When people think of aviation and air traffic, they often picture a controller in an air traffic tower," says Trent Cummings, Air Traffic Division Manager in Alaska. "In Alaska, however, most of the day-to-day contact between General Aviation pilots and the FAA is performed by air traffic control specialists in Flight Service Stations.

The Dillingham station is a satellite of the Kenai Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS). It is staffed by several longtime Alaskans and 17 specialists who rotated from the Kenai AFSS on a weekly basis. The three principle specialists being honored are Nels Wahl, a native of Dillingham, who has worked much of his career there, Harry A. Lacy and supervisor Jim Miller.

During 2000, employees provided 141,462 services to their customers, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. These services include weather forecasts, airport traffic advisories, emergency services to aircraft in distress, aeronautical notice dissemination, search and rescue notifications, and flight planning assistance. They provided more than 29,000 pilot weather briefings, handled 10,768 flight plans and gave 31,436 airport advisories.

The Flight Service Station's area of service covers 6,500 square miles in and around Bristol Bay.

"Dillingham FSS has consistently provided a high level of service to the flying public," says Kenai Manager Michael Tarr. "During the last few years, FAA employees stationed in Dillingham have been complemented by employees rotating in from the Kenai AFSS. Despite this unconventional staffing approach, quality service to Dillingham aviation interests continued and even improved during the year. Dillingham FSS represents a success story in today's changing aviation environment."

Regional Administrator Patrick N. Poe and Manager of the Air Traffic Division Trent Cummings will travel to Dillingham to celebrate with the staff. The public is invited to meet the staff and share cake and coffee from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at the facility located in the Reeve Aleutian Building on the airport.