Michael is a controller at Moncton ACC (i.e. “Moncton Centre”), one the seven area control centres that handle aircraft cruising through Canadian airspace (including, in Michael’s case, trans-Atlantic flights). The stereotypical controller is a jaded, tired, complaining Don Brown sort-of person; from the little contact I’ve had with Michael so far, he’s just the opposite: in fact, he loves his work so much that he actually goes home and does more air traffic control on his own time for the VATSIM flight-simulator network, trying hard to educate the sim users about how the real system works. He seems like just the kind of person you’d like to hear at the other end of the radio after a long, tiring flight.
Before he joined the blogosphere, Michael published a series of excellent articles on the rules of flying called Aviation Topic of the Week. The articles are aimed at flight simulation users, but most of them are just as useful for real pilots, and I was thrilled to find a source of Canadian aviation information online. That was in early summer 2004, and I was planning a family trip through Michael’s airspace (I’d never flown down east before), so I sent him a quick e-mail to ask about routings, etc., and he sent me a helpful reply. I then suggested that he think about moving to a weblog format so that he could reach a larger audience, and offered technical help if he was interested (though I hadn’t started by own blogs yet). At the time, Michael wasn’t ready to make the move, but clearly now he is, and this weblog — which is already well underway — will be an excellent addition to the growing aviation blogosphere. It’s great that he’s Canadian, of course, but I expect that pilots all around the world will be interested in hearing from a Centre controller off the record.