By Guest Blogger Lia M. Keith
Aviation is in my blood. My family is immersed in it. My mother worked for the 459th Tactical Air Lift Wing from the time I was born until I was almost an adult. My step-father is a pilot for US Airways, my brother, a corporate pilot for a Fortune 100 Company, and my husband and I are Air Traffic Controllers. The aviation community is a like a tribe with its own special language, culture and rituals. When I tell people I am an air traffic controller, most ask me what airport I work at. I’ve given up explaining that I don’t work at an airport at all and that I never even see real life airplanes in my job unless I go out on a break and stare up at the sky.
I was an air traffic controller on duty at the Washington Air Traffic Control Center on September 11, 2001 and will never forget the sense of powerlessness I felt on that tragic day. As someone who tends to try to always be in control, it was a unique perspective into the way your life can change in a moment and the fear that remains after the moment has passed.