PASS Members Reach Great Heights

Patrick Greenfield, Chapter TM1, is an airways transportation systems specialist stationed at the Memphis Air Traffic Control Tower. He works primarily “outside the fence” on equipment and systems on the Southern link that support Memphis Center. His work responsibilities include mostly environmental work as well as some communications work, including maintaining General Aviation sites and equipment, long-range radar sites, beacon-only sites and instrument landing systems. Plus, at least annually, he climbs to the top of an approximately 400-foot Radio Communications Link (RCL) tower.

“Whenever people ask me how I do these climbs, I tell them you are only as good as the person next to you,” said Greenfield, who was joined in his climb by fellow PASS member Marc Bocz. “They say you can’t choose who you work with, but I say, in these situations, you sure can.”

Greenfield and Bocz scaled the RCL to perform an annual inspection. It took about 45 minutes to climb the tower and work was performed at midpoint and at the top of the structure. In one case, Greenfield had to hang outside the tower to fix obstruction lighting located on the outer structure. “You pay attention to what you’re doing,” he said. “But I’m a firm believer in the rule of ‘5, 15 or 50.’ It doesn’t matter how high you are; you have to be safe.”

Greenfield, who previously worked for a telephone company, said his experience in that job prepared him for climbing. He was hired by the FAA in 2006 and joined PASS right away. “I came from a union job and was a member of the Communications Workers of America,” he said. “My stepfather is a retired telephone man and union guy, and my brother works for UPS and is a member of his union. It seemed like the smart choice to join PASS.” He currently serves as a PASS representative.

Climbing is a big part of Greenfield’s job and he emphasizes the importance of safety. “We are definitely getting safer,” he said. “We were already using the two-man rule prior to its implementation. For this climb, Mark and I were on the tower, another employee was on the ground and there was a rescue climber. Safety can always improve, but we are definitely getting on board.”

PASS thanks Greenfield and Bocz for their dedication to ensuring the safety of the National Airspace System—on the ground and on a tower hundreds of feet in the air.


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