Utah Guard Air Traffic Controller

Honored by FAA

 

By Senior Airman Andrew Howells

Published June 19, 2007

 

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Capt. Todd Lobato, 299th Range Control Squadron, left, receives award from FAA representative Bryan Neville.

Photo by Master Sgt. Burke Baker

Capt. Todd Lobato, 299th Range Control Squadron, left,

receives award from FAA representative Bryan Neville.

SALT LAKE CITY — Controlling the skies over the largest test range in the United States can be a daunting task, but members of the Utah Air National Guard have initiated a public program that ensures the safety of all aircraft both civilian and military.

Capt. Todd Lobato, Chief Air Traffic Control Trainer for the 299th Range Control Squadron, Utah Air National Guard, was honored by the Federal Aviation Administration as the FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. Lobato received this award for his role as aviation safety counselor for the Utah region.

Lobato was the driving force in creating a public-awareness campaign to educate civilian and commercial pilots about the dangers of mid-air collisions in the skies above the Utah Test and Training Range located in northwestern Utah and eastern Nevada.

Visiting more than 11 cities in a three-week period of time, Lobato volunteered his time and efforts to offer these education seminars to the public.

Capt. Todd Lobato, chief air traffic control training officer for the 299th Air Control Squadron, oversees the training of Senior Airman Luke Trent.

Photo by Master Sgt. Burke Baker

Capt. Todd Lobato, chief air traffic control training officer for the 299th Air Control Squadron, oversees the training of Senior Airman Luke Trent.

“I don’t think that there is a counselor that has done as much work and put in as much time as Capt. Lobato has for this program,” said Master Sgt. Hugh Marstella, air traffic controller for the 299th RCS.

Lobato has donated much of his time in giving these seminars because he knows the importance of educating the aviation community about the dangers that are inherent to the test range, said Marstella.

The Regional FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year is an award normally given to FAA personnel but was awarded to a military controller this year.

This award is something unique and quite an honor for not only Lobato but the Utah Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force as well, Marstella added.

Lobato, a Utah native, has been an air traffic controller for 16 years, and was commissioned as an officer in November 2002.