US DOT Deputy Secretary Visits the Aeronautical Center
Vol.8 Issue 5

When people visit the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City for the first time, usually their expectations are exceeded. Such was the case when DOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg visited the Center on June 8th. During the visit, Michelle Coppedge, Director of the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, along with her Deputy Director, Kevin O’Connor and several members of the leadership team escorted her around the 1,056-acre complex. The team showcased many of the diverse missions being accomplished throughout 137 buildings.

A visit to the Academy’s Tower Simulation System provided U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary, Polly Trottenberg with a glimpse of how to maintain the flow of air traffic in a simulated environment.
The Aeronautical Center is a Pollinator Flagship Facility as designated by the DOT. Not only do these native areas support local pollinators, but they also reduce operations and maintenance costs by decreasing the need for mowing and trimming.

Some of the visits on the tour included going to the FAA Academy, seeing first-hand what it takes to be an Air Traffic Controller, and learning the importance of the technicians who maintain all the systems within the National Airspace System. This involved visiting the Tower Simulation System (TSS), and the Air Traffic En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM). Deputy Secretary Trottenberg gained an appreciation for the complexity of Air Traffic Control after sitting in the position of an air traffic controller and directing simulated traffic in the FAA Academy’s labs.

The next stop on the tour was the Office of Facility Management where Deputy Secretary Trottenberg had the opportunity to see the Central Control and Monitor System that is used to control the Center’s energy consuming systems such as heating and cooling systems and monitor the meters for electric, gas, and water. She also was provided a driving tour of the projected solar photovoltaic project (to be the first one in the FAA), the fleet of electric vehicles and charging stations, new building construction and conservation methods being implemented, which involve landscaping and strategically placed, triple-paned windows in buildings. A portion of the tour highlighted the Center’s long-standing reputation for being on the forefront of environmental programs and the initiatives in the areas of green energy, innovation, sustainable buildings, pollinator flagship habitat, and water conservation.

Polly Trottenberg (U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary) boards one of the FAA’s newest Flight Inspection aircraft at the Aeronautical Center’s Hangar 9.
U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg (center) visited employees at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute.

After the facilities tour, the special guests then walked through Flight Program Operations’ Hangar 9 to get a glimpse of some of the Flight Inspection aircraft and observe time-sensitive overhaul renovations being made on a newly acquired Challenger aircraft. These types of aircraft are used to conduct flight inspections to ensure the integrity of instrument approaches and airway procedures that constitute the National Airspace System (NAS) infrastructure.

Another stopover during the tour was the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) where the dignitaries experienced a water survival research facility, a human factors laboratory, genomics research, the Biodynamics Impact Sled Testing Facility and the Flexible Aircraft Cabin Evacuation Simulator; altitude chambers, and various flight training simulators. They received presentations on the financial and information technology shared services provided by the Enterprise Services Center, as well as learning about the Center’s outreach efforts with regard to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary visits the Transportation Safety Institute’s aviation "Boneyard" where training takes place for Accident Investigators.

After visiting CAMI, the next stop was the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) where the Deputy Secretary had an opportunity to meet with leadership and a large number of employees from several other modes of transportation such as Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After meeting with employees, the visitors walked through the "Boneyard," which is an aircraft wreckage storage area used for TSI’s hands-on training for Accident Investigators.

Polly Trottenberg, U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary, in the cockpit of an Airbus A330/340 simulator. The flight simulator is part of the Aeronautical Center’s Flight Technologies and Procedures Division and Analysis Branch.

The full-day tour concluded with a visit to the Flight Standards, Flight Technologies and Procedures Division and Analysis Branch, where the guests were able to demonstrate their piloting skills in an Airbus A330/340 aviation simulator and learn about various missions accomplished at the Center, such as the analytical underpinning of standards development for departure, enroute, arrival and instrument approach procedures that leverage the capabilities of new and emerging technologies with flight operations.

After experiencing the numerous contributions that the Aeronautical Center employees make towards aviation safety, Deputy Secretary Trottenberg was escorted back to Will Rogers World Airport to catch a flight back to Washington D.C. One can’t help but think that the trip to the Aeronautical Center might significantly change the way that she views the actual process of flying altogether.

DOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg visited the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center Video

For the second consecutive year in a row, the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center celebrates being designated as a Top Workplace in Oklahoma. (L-R) Doug Rodzon (Group Manager Flight Research and Analysis Branch), Kevin O’Connor (Deputy Director of the Aeronautical Center), Kim Sheppard (Aeronautical Center Chief of Staff), Polly Trottenberg (U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary of Transportation), Ann Shikany (Counselor to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation), and Michelle Coppedge (Director of the Aeronautical Center).
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