PALMDALE, CALIFORNIA – In what will mostly likely become one of the most memorable days in all of aviation history, President Donald Trump visited the Los Angeles ARTCC, a radar facility, on Friday, in an effort to get to know air traffic controllers better.
“These men and women are hard working people, and believe me, nobody does it better,” said Trump, as we walked down the seemingly never-ending hallway to the training lab, known as the dynamic simulator, or DYSIM.
“These buildings, quite frankly, are very old, and I think they should be rebuilt. Every one of them,” the President said, echoing remarks made by others who suggest the only way to better improve the agencies air traffic control infrastructure is through privatization. Still, not all controllers agree. “You know, on the [control] floor, one of the guys said, hey Trump, I bet you can’t even do this job. And I said, who told you that? Watch me. And so I guess I’m heading down to the lab here to show them how it’s done,” Trump said.
Trump agreed to attempt 3 training scenarios, that perfectly mimic the busy skies over Los Angeles. He did have some special requests, however.
“I really want every plane to either be Air Force One, or N757AF. Those are, quite frankly, the only aircraft that really matter,” he stated.
Trump sat down and was offered a head-set, but preferred the hand-set, as he wanted to ensure he got his hands as busy as possible. The scenario began and aircraft began to pop up on his scope. Front-line Manager and 25-year-veteran controller Andrew Stark would be guiding Trump through the first scenario.
“Ok, here’s a guy at 11,000 feet. You need to tell him to get down to eight and then just tell him to tune his radio to this,” Stark said, pointing to a long list of frequencies on the wall, known within the field as a ‘horse-collar’. President Trump nodded in agreement.
“Ok, airplane, get to eight,” he said, in a firm, overly commanding tone.
“Roger,” the ghost pilot (operated by two off-duty controllers) in the other room, replied.
Immediately, a smile lit up on Trump’s face. “I could get used to this,” he reaffirmed. “I don’t have to fire these airplanes. They do what they’re told, like good employees!”
“Ok, here’s a jet inbound for LAX. This time let’s use some real phraseology,” Stark said.
“Sure,” Trump agreed.
It was an Air Mexico flight, and after only a few seconds of conversation, Trump nodded that he understood what he was supposed to do and say in order to get this aircraft into the LAX airspace.
“Air Mexico Four Twenty-Two, please turn around, you’re not welcome here,” Trump said, in a very confident cadence. “Also, let me know how the wall looks from up there!”
“ok, ok, that was not exactly right,” said Stark. “Let’s try this again.”
The two discussed things for a while, when suddenly an Air China flight began flashing ‘EMRG’ on the scope, a sign that plane was having trouble.
“Ok, cool, this is your first emergency! Clear him to any airport. How about that one off his right wing,” Stark said.
“Air China, I see you’re having an emergency. Now frankly, you guys should have listened to me when I told you that trade deal was no good for you. Believe me,” Trump said.
Trump then began typing S-A-D onto the radar scope keyboard, and hit enter
There was no comment from Stark.
The sector was beginning to get busy, as targets began moving to and from the bottom left of the screen, where LAX airport was located on the radar scope.
“Ok, now, here is one of our departure planes. See this one at 16? Climb this departure to 15, and then once we get him under this guy, we can keep him climbing!,” Stark said.
“Ok, ok, well, I don’t want to call you fake news or anything, Andrew, but looks to me like we can still have him climbing,” Trump stated.
“They’re 6 miles apar-”
“What do you think this is, Stark, CNN?”, Trump snapped.
“Ok departure jet, keep climbing to the moon! We need to get a man on the moon!”
Suddenly, Trump began fumbling with the voice-control monitor, or VSCS, which acts as the switching control to other controllers at the facility. Various beeps and clicks could be heard for the next 10 seconds on the recording, until a timid female voice answered.
“LA Departures on.”
“MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”, Trump shouted on the landline to the second ghost pilot, before the line immediately erupted with the ear-piercing sound of audio feedback, resulting in the ghost pilot falling backwards in her chair. Stark cut the line. Suddenly Trump stood up.
“Excuse me for one second,” he said, as he pulled his phone out of his pocket.
“I have to Tweet something.”
The tweet was rather simple, in Donald Trump style.
After the tweet was sent, President Trump sat back down, and looked at the scope.
“So, I have to say, Andrew, this is pretty easy. Why do you guys get paid so much?,” he inquired.
“Well, the job can be taxing at times,” Andrew said.
“Taxing is not in my vocabulary, Andrew. As a matter of fact, I plan on lowering taxes for the top 0.3%, so people can enjoy spending money on stuff they like, like these people,” he said, pointing to a Spirit Airlines flight on his scope.
“I’m pretty sure they’re not enjoying that flight, Mr. President.”
Trump went on to complete the other two scenarios. The last had to be stopped prematurely however, because there was a now-deleted Twitter war between The President and the CEO of Lockheed. Supposedly, Trump found out who designed the radar system he was using, and realized that there was no option that displayed Trump properties on the radar display.