Brandon Delgado’s voice was calm while a passenger plane was directed to a runway to prepare for take off. It was equally precise giving instructions to an arriving aircraft.
Delgado of Tulsa, Maci Morehouse of Vermontville, Michigan, and Daniel Gutierrez of Broken Arrow watched tower monitors carefully, aware of other aircraft circling the airfield as pilots waited for their turn to perform touch-and-go landings.
Any mistake could result in a collision that would be reflected on the monitors.
The scene at a fictitious airport inside the Tulsa Community College facility at the Richard L. Jones Riverside Airport is introducing students considering an air traffic control career.
Delgado, Morehouse and Gutierrez have completed the Tulsa Community College’s Collegiate Training Initiative and are looking ahead to the next step — a four-month training program at the Mike Monroney Federal Aviation Agency Center in Oklahoma City.
The TCC Aviation Center equipment is identical to that used in Oklahoma City, said Gary W. Wescott, ATC coordinator. It offers TCC students — if they are accepted — a better chance of success to complete the FAA training.
Morehouse, Delgado and Gutierrez said their longtime interested in aviation led them to the program at TCC. Morehouse said she always has had a love for aviation and found TCC while searching the internet for the best possible air traffic control program.
The most challenging part is learning and memorizing the rules and regulations, she said. As work becomes more routine on the simulators, it is easier to get the hang of what is going on.
Everything has to be on point, and if one is constantly observing, there is no reason that shouldn’t happen. Evaluations are the most stressful, she said.
“There was some room for errors during classes, but come eval time, you have to be on point.”
Delgado has had a love for aviation since he was a child. He originally focused on being a commercial pilot but decided he would rather be home at night.
An air traffic control career became the next choice because it closely fit his personality and skill set, he said.
Delgado already was attending TCC when he found out about the air traffic control program, and he talked to a friend who gave him good information about it.
The most stressful part of the training is the constant need to scan air space. One cannot be surprised at delays, even on the simulator, he said.