Oshkosh Approach Control Changes

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An unheralded but vital aspect to the (mostly) orderly aerial migration to EAA AirVenture each year is undergoing a major change. Approach control services, which have been handled by Chicago Center since 1969, are switching to Milwaukee’s tower and TRACON facilities for the 2008 show. "Chicago Center employees do a remarkable job with Oshkosh, and we have a good story to tell," Bill Cound, the center's air traffic manager, told MyFAA, the employees’ online newsletter. Although a lot of well-deserved attention is paid to the tower controllers and those operating the mobile centers in Oshkosh’s immediate vicinity, funnelling all that traffic into the area also has its challenges. Chicago Front Line Manager Rita Thiel has been working the Oshkosh traffic for 18 years and told the newsletter it stretches staff and resources. "Every year the Chicago North Area Team braced up for one heck of a week," said Thiel. "Usually four controllers are working with split frequencies because of sheer volume. One controller would work departures and one would work arrivals. They would pass their breaks for sometimes five hours because it was simply too busy to give a briefing. I am so proud to have worked with such energetic, ingenious controllers who really just got in there, pulled up their sleeves, dug themselves out, and always, always got the job done."