Air traffic controller/Safety improvement coordinator
A fascination with aviation from a young age, and a career commitment to understanding the human factors involved in aviation safety, proved a winning combination for Lucy Mitchell, one of Airways’ talented air traffic controllers. Lucy was the inaugural winner of the Jilly Murphy Scholarship for Aviation Safety in 2014.
A background in the British Royal Air Force formed Lucy’s desire to attain the highest standards when controlling, and developed her exceptional levels of awareness in identifying safety issues. She trained and worked as an air traffic control officer in the RAF for five years before joining Airways in New Zealand in 2010. Today, she enjoys a half time role as Airways’ safety improvement co-ordinator as well as continuing to work as a radar controller.
“Day to day, safety is always in the forefront of my mind, particularly in relation to the ever increasing interface between people and technology,” she says. “As we’re advancing in aviation, we have a greater number of automated tools, with increased reliance on computers, and the risk elements are found in how people interact with that technology. High levels of discipline and professionalism are essential in our industry, particularly in regards to the critical safety aspects,” she says.
Lucy joins many other women now working in what has traditionally been a male dominated career.
“When I joined Airways, I realised there is a really interesting range of people working here, men and women, young and old, and some really diverse characters, and everybody’s treated equally and with the same respect.”
“I love the flexibility that being an air traffic controller requires, you’ve got to make quick decisions, and you are accountable for those actions. We have a really supportive environment, and I just love the buzz and the unique atmosphere of the radar centre, where every day is new and different.”