My eyes are tired. The coffee, black. My board is clear, but only because I never rest. Green lines flutter across my screen. 30,000ft, 10,000ft, taxi, run way 2 and 3. Everything in order.
Exhausted. I must push on. Shift almost over. This is what you want, this is what you trained for – I tell myself.
One error, hundreds of souls vanish.
I should get someone to sit in for me, just for 20 minutes. The green tails of these planes are creating a maze in my mind. I’m starting to lose it a bit.
“Edwards, still frosty? It’s a lot for your first night,” supervisor Jonas yells from across the room.
“Need 20 minutes Mike, just 20,” I reply.
“Very well, you’re relieved,” supervisor Jonas ordered.
Mike Jonas, a 20 year vet, took to my station. As I walked down the stairs to the break room, I heard Mike laughing with the other controllers. Shouldn’t he be more professional, keeping his eyes on the board? He’s the experienced one, I’m the rookie. I’ll mind my business.
Staring out the window, sipping my disgusting black coffee, I notice a shooting star tearing over the night sky. It’s so beautiful, but travelling so slow? Must be a satellite, or maybe the International Space Station. Sitting back with my feet up, about to shut my eyes, I look closer. A flickering tail? “Jesus christ!” – it dawned on me what had happened.
I race upstairs, it was pandemonium.
“WHICH FLIGHT, MIKE!?” Hollering in any direction.