Lots of readers ask me what happens to Ryan Kelly. I have a sequel in mind that would involve him and an en route center, where the challenges of air traffic control are much different than at a TRACON. However, the next few thrillers on my drawing table are unrelated to aviation. Like TRACON, though, they examine the double-edged sword of technology and its effect on our everyday lives.
After researching TRACON, are you afraid to fly?
Ive always loved to fly. Looking at the world from aloft helps me put things in perspective. Im more aware of the issues that controllers (and pilots) face, but I feel safer knowing how these professionals work behind the scenes on behalf of everyone who flies.
Is Ryan Kelly someone you know?
Kelly is a composite. His personality represents many controllers, although his star status ranks him with the elite of his real-life brethren. In a profession that demands perfection, controllers have to be good. But there are a select handful who are considered naturals. Like musicians with perfect pitch, they choreograph their aerial ballets with relative ease while most of their colleagues work a little harder at it. They can weave a string of pearls on final approach with identical separation between each planedown to a hundredth of a miledespite howling winds and a host of other variables. It is a remarkable feat akin to building a house of cards on the deck of a sailboat rolling in heavy seas.