Airway Pioneer Member
Thomas Doyle

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I retired from the FAA in August 1996 after 30 years of service. I started my career at Jacksonville Center. Shortly after becoming a journeyman controller, the Center started working with Model 1 which was the prototype of the future automation system. I transitioned into data system and eventually wound up at NAFEC helping to put together the en route automated system. From there, I went to Washington Headquarters and help prepare the budget for various AT automation programs and later prepared the AT operations budget. I was selected for the Education for Public Management program and went to Harvard to study. After receiving my masters degree I went to the Rocky Mountain Region and worked for the Regional Director and later the AT Division Manager. When the strike occurred I left the RO and went to DEN ATCT to help out. That changed my career path and put me back in the field for good. Following Denver, I went to Salt Lake City ATCT for several years and ended my career at DFW ATCT.

My career was filled with exciting moments and exciting people. I was briefly a charter member of PATCO and watched its rise and fall. I worked with a lot of very interesting people that taught me probably more than they care to admit. A lot of those people have become life long friends. Many are members of SOAP, and some have taken their last flight. I felt that I was always working on high profile programs helping to build the FAA and keep it moving in the right direction. I am still doing this, but from a different vantage point. I am involved in aeronautical research with NASA working on various futuristic programs that some day will be the new aviation system. I see a lot of my former colleagues from the FAA involved in these programs and similar programs around the country.

I was born in San Diego and left shortly after to travel to my dad's overseas assignment in Hawaii just in time for the bombing. My dad was a Naval aviator and remained in the South Pacific for the duration of the war. When he returned from the war he was able to remain in the Navy mostly on flying status.

Consequently, I was brought up on aviation from an early age. My dad showed me the first Navy approach radar and even encouraged me to think about air traffic control before I had any idea what it was. Through my dad's influence and encouragement I eventually became a commercial single engine and multi engine pilot with an instrument rating and still fly today. I also received my BS degree and two master degrees along the way.

No story is complete without mentioning family and heritage. My dad was a Crow Indian from Montana and came off the Indian reservation to go to flight school in Pensacola where he met my mother. She didn't know what an Indian looked like except in the movies and for some time thought my dad was Italian. We lived on the reservation for a while when my dad was at war, but most of my younger years were spent moving around every three years. I am an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe and do take part in various tribal activities. I spent a tour in the Marine Corps and was stationed at Cherry Point for most of the time. I married a schoolteacher from Abilene, Kansas and we have three children that live from one coast to the other. I can usually get together with my daughters at least once a year for scuba diving in Cozumel or some Central American country, and my son lives close enough that we play golf together throughout the year. So as you can see life is good. I don't know how much longer I am going to work for NASA, but as long as I am having fun why not stay. Tom Doyle-Leah Doyle

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