FRIENDS OF THE HOLE There’s about 60 people in my area, The Hole is mostly worked by 2 people. There’s the southern sounding guy, Scotty, and the Southern California guy, me, FO. Between the hours of 7am-9pm MST/MDT, you’ll probably find one of us there. We both are pilots and enjoy dealing with our kind back there. People maneuver to avoid The Hole, we maneuver to get in The Hole. Quite often people maneuver themselves out of The Hole just so I can get in it. There is a handful of other people that don’t mind The Hole, but probably wouldn’t go out of their way to work it. Some hate it just because it’s off by itself and not part of the main control room. Some hate it because they don’t want to deal with the complexities of its design. Some just don’t speak the same language as a large portion of the traffic back there. But all work it, sooner or later. I just do more than most.
HISTORY OF THE HOLE The Hole only came into being when we moved into our new (DSR) control room. It’s in what we call the “overflow bay”. Prior to this it was among all the other sectors in our old (M1) control room. It was worked quite often by someone who usually called it the “ShadeTree” (RQ – rest his soul). Shady since for long stretches it’d be pretty slow. Not anymore. It can now be a powder keg and get extremely busy very quickly. Luckily it’s a large piece of airspace and you have room to put airplanes. But it uses 2 different VHF and 2 different UHF frequencies located at 5 sites, so frequency congestion and aircraft stepping on each other is not uncommon.
FUTURE OF THE HOLE Someday The Hole will be gone. It will be brought back into the fold, so to speak, when it rejoins the rest of its area in a new bay. The “overflow bay” will no longer be overflow, it’ll be its own area. The sector itself may still have this nickname attached to it, but in time the newer ones will not get it, and The Hole will fade away and live only in memories of those who worked it. And also here.
Life In The Hole (LITH) is based on real-life Air Traffic Control (ATC) stories from pilot and controller Chris Rodriguez (unless otherwise noted) of Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The comments and opinions are only of the authors and do not reflect the opinions or positions of any other company or organization.