Monday, 12 August 2013

Santa Maria island, Azores - Air Traffic Control Centre, Santa Maria Tower and NAV, as well as former and current habitational quarters - The 6th of August 2013

We visited the Control Centre where many of my former Aviation English students were working as air traffic controllers, whilst a few undergoing on-job training.

I was clearly different from the one I had known in the past and the truth is a lot has been done in recent years to have them work under the best possible conditions, together with good housing facilities.

It was quite an experience to listen to their English and see them actually working. Whenever they are at the Training Centre teachers like myself prepare them for the job but rarely have the opportunity to see them performing their on-job tasks.

We then visited the Control Tower one had access to by using a rather exquisitely decorated lift, as if one were boarding a real aircraft and walking into the cockpit.


We would be briefly back the following morning so I decided to take some photos of the lounge which I thought was superbly decorated.

Once out of the building I decided to walk back to the hotel this time via Club ANA, which played an important role in the past gatherings of the airport personnel, the same way the old "bunker" houses as those living in them (air traffic controllers, communication operators and other technical personnel) used to refer to them.

They had their charm, not necessarily as seen from the outside, but the moment you had the chance of crossing the door and walk into what many called their homes and certainly miss today, despite being lodged in either NAV's habitational quarter or the Co-operative one, which I photographed.

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