CAF Story | How Capt Jorgensen controls heavy air traffic at Maple Flag



Hi, my name’s Captain Joe Jorgensen, I’m from Calgary, Alberta and I live in Cold Lake, Alberta. Well now, I’ve been controlling the tower here for a total of six years’ now so it’s every day stuff for us. And they’re seeing the jets breaking over the field and doing battle breaks.

We depart them from Cold Lake, point them in the right direction. It’s very, very challenging. There’s not a lot of desk work. You’re here to do a job and you’re here operating every day. Busy your eyes and sharpen your ears you get control of everything.  You’re only talking to one or two planes an hour. It’s almost for sure those two planes are going to want to talk to you at the same time, and you still have to keep sharp.

We’ve got an extra forty aircraft here right now, so we always train to the heavy, complex traffic. But we don’t normally see that every day, but for a month long exercise, Maple Flag, we’re going to see it every day.

It’s pretty neat to be able to talk to the different pilots. You’ve got to get through language abilities and different accents. And you have different procedures at home, and they’re used to using those procedures. Kind of a steep learning curve for them at the beginning, as well as us. We just have to make sure that they fly their aircraft safe and we can get everybody down safely.

We’re setting up an airfield from scratch and training everybody up to a standard. It was fine, it was a neat experience. This trade is very common with the civilian air traffic controller. We use the same rules, the same regulations, and it’s always good to kind of step away from your normal job sometimes and you get to do some cool stuff. Like going up to Nunavik, going to Afghanistan, and we’ve had people deployed to Kuwait, UAE, Europe, United States. So it’s neat to change things up every once in a while.

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