by Michelle Judice
Vladimir Vallejo has worked at Westchester County Airport since 2015 and chances are you may have spoken with him without even realizing it. He is an Air Traffic Control Specialist at “Westchester Tower” who admittedly loves his job because everyday is different. His career is taking off and he leaves us in August to continue his role at one of the busiest airports in the nation...LaGuardia Tower. The move is a career enhancement that will provide a fun challenge and what’s more, his new “office” offers a view of the Manhattan skyline and NYC bridges from the state-of-the-art facility.
It all started when an airline pilot friend suggested he become an Air Traffic Controller. He didn't know anything about the profession but moved ahead full throttle and applied to Vaughn College and was accepted into the ATC program. Essential skills for a controller are the ability to listen and talk at the same time, absorb a lot of information at once, quickly organize your thoughts and develop a plan and most notably, work under pressure. Although that may seem overwhelming to you and I, Vladimir assures me that experience and repetition enable him to prioritize which makes the job less stressful. Besides, he doesn’t think about this because he’s too busy!
The best part of his job at HPN was meeting and working with a great group of people. He's been known to pop into an FBO to talk with the pilots of a particularly cool airplane. I am told by an anonymous source that the coffee might have something to do with this as well. Kidding aside, his favorite aircraft are the HondaJet, Cirrus Vision SF50 and the Cessna 208 Caravan with floats.
Vladimir has also appreciated the support that Airport Operations provides to ATC. They facilitate dialogue, answer any questions thrown their way and in general, have been an ally to his team. This may explain the good friend he found in Airport Operations Supervisor, David Montiverdi who speaks highly of "Vlad" and his character. He says, "If you ask around, you will find plenty of pilots who can speak to how well liked and accommodating he has been over the years. Very cordial, he often makes conversation with the many familiar voices in and out and even makes a point to know the names when he can."
Not surprisingly, assisting with Tower Tours was a highlight during his time here. He enjoyed the chance to educate pilots about useful information but more importantly, explain why controllers issue these instructions or restrictions. There is a reason and it usually relates to flow control, entrail spacing, weather or the controlled chaos of coordinating the arrival and departure of everything from light aircraft, helicopters and flight students to scheduled commercial flights all at the same time. Tower Tours are not currently available but will resume when safe to do so.
Good luck Vladimir from your friends at HPN! Maintain your best forward speed.
Westchester Aviation Association is a non-profit organization.
P.O. Box 447 | Purchase, NY 10577-0447