Insight Aviation: Cedric Mcqueen


Wayman Eddy: I have a great episode today i was happy to have guests from the outside and today we have an excellent guest our north perry air traffic control tower manager mr cedric mcqueen as we get started i always like to ask everyone that’s watching us i know that this is particularly i think a very useful uh interview for anyone that lives here locally in the south florida area that flies in and out of north perry to students here at wayman aviation or around the airport that regularly fly with the help of the north perry tower but if we have any of our guests uh from far a field anyone that’s uh international or just out of town put in the comments where you’re from i’d love to know especially we have internationals in the line where you’re from and uh also so we can kind of direct questions more towards you and if you fly here at north perry also let us know go ahead and put it in the chat or in the comments on the facebook live uh where you’re from and of course if you have any questions for the excellent cedric mcqueen right so this is aviation insights brought to you by wayman aviation uh we’re flight school located here at north perry airport in south florida helping to launch students over south florida for the last 33 years if you want more information visit the hashtag flywayman or wayman.net so allow me to introduce our north perry airport air traffic control manager mr cedric mcqueen how you doing today?

Cedric Mcqueen: I’m good Eddy, how are you?

Wayman Eddy: Good good pleasure to have you i know we have a little technical skirmish i’m sorry you have to sit through that but it’s okay it’s okay your problems are right that’s standard aviation it’s always something new you know absolutely uh the tower i’m sure just like pilots we have to be adaptable that’s one of our waypoints right prepared and ready to adapt because you make the best plans and that’s really what you end up executing.

Cedric Mcqueen: Exactly and that’s one thing we try to uh that’s what i tried to get across to my controllers have a planned backup plan and a backup plan you know every time you think something’s going to work it might not work so it’s always best to be prepared.

Wayman Eddy:  And not to be surprised i’m no longer surprised in the world of aviation um you know cedric i always like to start with the beginning when we have such a great guest like yourself um you know we’ve had a chance to work with you for the last several years had you come over to the building several times talk to our students and of course uh we don’t even talk to you as much on the radio anymore because you’re more running the show but uh uh we’ve had a lot of chance to kind of get to know you but some of our viewers might not so i always like to know how did you get started in aviation when did that light turn on for you?

Cedric Mcqueen: Um 1996. I joined the uh the navy and i went in as an air traffic controller so boot camp air traffic patrol school at pensacola and then i went my first duty station was naval station patuxent river which is a test facility so there i got to see every aircraft the military had pretty much i was there when the new super hornets came out when the f-22 came out for testing so that was pretty amazing.

Wayman Eddy: Where is that? 

Cedric Mcqueen: Patuxent river it’s in maryland uh just south of dc.

Wayman Eddy: Nice and was it one of those um because I remember in high school taking like the military test like this is what you would be good at was.

Cedric Mcqueen:  It kind of one of those things or did you know you wanted to go into aviation i knew i wanted to go to aviation so you know my brother my brother my oldest brother was already in the military so i kind of knew the ins and outs but you know as long as you score high on the asvab you can pretty much pick any job you want it yeah so um i went in with the intentions of doing you know aviation so you know i scored pretty high they wanted me to go nuclear but i didn’t want to be on the sub at the time.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah i don’t know if i could if i could do that being a little submarine yeah that wasn’t going to happen so you almost have the opposite job of being on a submarine like being sort of being right in the tower yeah that’s interesting, so so your brother was already in the navy was he also an aviation side of the navy?

Cedric Mcqueen: Uh no he was uh administrator. 

Wayman Eddy: When did the aviation bug bite?

Cedric Mcqueen:  high school um local airport just going out and you know watching airplanes and saying one day i’m gonna fly that’s that’s the reason i went in the military because i was gonna do the uh semen admiral program so i could go into flying but all right i kind of liked aviation and you know air traffic better so i kind of just stuck with this.

Wayman Eddy: Excellent you know it’s amazing i hear you’re being in aviation of my whole life right and being surrounded by such wonderful and experienced aviators you kind of hear the same variations of the same story right grew up near an airport someone in the family was an airport always stared at airplanes rc’s model airplanes there’s a few paths that kind of inspire young people to kind of go in that direction.

Cedric Mcqueen: Very true very true and and it’s amazing you know that so many young people want to fly because flying is absolutely fun it is the happiest thing ever actually you know

Wayman Eddy:  It is it is i’ve had a i had a chance to fly aerobatic a few times and uh the guy that i flew was last time pitches it as a roller coaster without tracks okay that’s one way to think about it yeah that is very true so this is kind of funny i didn’t realize you had from a navy background because north perry of course is historically i believe a navy uh satellite base.

Cedric Mcqueen: Right yes back in the early 40s or 30s it was a naval training facility that’s when you get the old wagon wheel design if you ever seen that design um so wind was no option you know when was not a factor you had 10 runways wow if it was that many yeah it could have been at least eight yeah yeah like eight yeah that’s nutty imagine picking the active on that one and everything crosses everything crossed but let me know buy planes and stuff like that so it wasn’t yeah anything moving fast.

Wayman Eddy: That’s true you got more time to think about it just all of south florida in general of course had a huge boost from navy opa-locka is known for being a huge navy base back in the day glenn curtis uh with a big part of why that really got started that’s interesting that navy connection correct yeah yeah and we definitely want to talk about the runway pattern here so um so you came through atc and what was up so you went through navy you got to sign into atc and then you could have a navy and you kind of find your way to north perry airport or you have other assignments?

Cedric Mcqueen: Well after i got out of the military I went overseas for three years i was in Kuwait for three years contracting for the army um just south of iraq so yeah it was pretty Interesting.

Wayman Eddy:  Was that during the first uh war a desert storm?

Cedric Mcqueen: No this was uh 2011. so at the second no i’m sorry this is 2 000 and whoa when did i go over 2006  okay seven somewhere around there yeah 2007.

Wayman Eddy: So i’m kind of curious what do you think is the biggest difference between operating in that military atc environment versus civilians?

Cedric Mcqueen: Well the one one of the biggest things is the military is so structured you know um aircraft come in on the overhead you know they’re going to do the overhead the brake they’re going to be at this speed this altitude everything is pretty much set up you know from the natops from the uh naval air traffic control manual pretty much or the pallets manual so everything is pretty much structured you know kind of like with uh miami you know they have a lot of procedures standard procedures like like if you’re doing the uh ILS or the gps you know you’re going to be here you know unless they change it you know but pretty much you can expect this unless it’s slow then they can give you something else or if they’re busy they might change it but the military is pretty structured

Wayman Eddy: Sure sure and also i imagine i mean you’re you’re not working with students everyone there is already a professional pilot that’s protected chops they’re already flying in uh in the theater.

Cedric Mcqueen: Right so they’re they’re correct yes it’s no student so you know it’s pretty i guess it’s it’s easier to me sure in military i mean they move faster so you have to think quicker but you know with the structure you know everybody’s professional already for the most part nobody’s learning but that’s the fun part about perry though you know getting to watch the students and all the glory all their glory right the good the bad news.

Wayman Eddy: I can see a bunch of ugly landings all the time like oh look at that one yeah we great we great have you ever got the little numbers to pull up 

Cedric Mcqueen: yeah we used to have a little uh noisemaker oh wow and we key up all the it used to be pretty hilarious. but the good thing is you see the rough landings turn to great landings.

 Wayman Eddy: Absolutely i mean that’s what it takes it takes practice like no one’s using the first 10 20 landings are perfect right it takes correct i want to get that finesse you know i’m hundreds of hours in and every time i go for landing i’m like i did one that uh actually was me and one of our guys who’s a 737 captain from venezuela and we were we were on the west coast and the landings were so bad we each the first one we had to do go around i was like oh let’s let’s go around this one and try it again but uh you know it comes with proficiency you got to be flying a lot and consistently to really get there.

Cedric Mcqueen: It’s the same way air traffic you know nobody comes out with a headset plugged in talking airplanes like you know a god you know that’s why i try to tell students you know we’re humans too we make mistakes um if you hear something that doesn’t sound right ask you know i was never wrong to question anything.

Wayman Eddy: I have to say one of the favorite things of all our students was visiting the tower right and i recommend this to anyone out there in whatever airfield you are give the tire manager call it’s a guy sitting in an office like you you know wear shirts shoes sometimes shirts and uh you know they’re more i mean right now it’s weird times is going but for by and large it was pretty easy to get a tour of the tower and it breaks down this mental barrier you know people are nervous to talk on the radio exactly entry level private pilot and when you meet them and you shake a hand and you look out their window and you’re like oh okay i get it it clicks.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah and that’s i used to always recommend for pilots you know students to come by the facility and and see from outside see what we see because you know being that i fly a little not much but a little it’s different from the seat of a and you know the cop pick versus control tower so before the pandemic i used to always recommend that people come by and visit and i try to recommend to the controllers to take a fan flight so they can see because you know looking for traffic with you know background clutter you might not see that airplane you know it’s different you know so that’s why i try to you know get these guys to go take a you know an hour fan flight or so just to see what you see it.

Wayman Eddy: A fan flight we call those discovery flights we’re introducing discoveries yeah discovery flight instructor flight we’ve got lots of different names but that’s true for anyone interested in aviation a lot of people don’t realize that yeah you can just call any of these schools up and go for an hour of flight i still get calls when people are coming over to do testing or to visit our pilot shop it’s like it’s at the airport we have to go through security like how do i get into the airport and i’m like no no no just you know follow your gps you know walk in the door it’s right there.

Cedric Mcqueen It’s it’s not like you know an international airport 

Wayman Eddy: Yeah yeah and a lot of people have that um that just kind of like mentality that that uh preconceived notion of airports and don’t realize how many airports there are actually are you know i do a lot of career fairs in fact i have a career for this coming friday miramar high school i’m gonna be talking to miramar high school um on friday morning and i remember going to a career fair at north miami high school when i was mostly at opa-locka which is just you know 20-30 minutes south of us and talking to this girl who said there’s an opa locka airport there’s an airport in opa locka she uh she must have been like 14 grew up there like i was like yeah it’s like a mile and a half away he’s like really right like where do you think all the airplanes come from you ever seen i thought they all just came from international right you know people especially kids they have a small world you know it hasn’t really brought and uh and a lot of people don’t realize that yes everyone knows miami and a lot of people know for lauderdale right right but there’s north perry there’s fort lauderdale executive, tamiami.

Cedric Mcqueen: It’s like an airport every five miles in in florida like every five miles it’s like an airport.

Wayman Eddy: So yeah there’s seven in the immediate area and i use this comparison because of course as you know we have a lot of international students and so i use this point of comparison that in most countries uh you know that that airport infrastructure is just not there right so for example i’m originally from peru and in peru i believe there’s now a fourth airport that has uh uh an official instrument approach an ils approach right in the in florida alone i believe there’s 93 airports that have instrument approaches yeah you’ll see some hear this yeah you’ll see stuff here that you’ll never see anywhere else yeah so do you come out of the military did you go come right to north perry or did you kind of try out other airports?

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah so so at the kuwait i came to north perry so i’ve been in north perry for 10 years now excellent i’ve been controlling for 20 something years nice so i’ve seen a lot of your hand now yeah i’ve seen a lot that’s where the grade comes from i’ve been getting a two i’ve been getting yeah it’s pandemic is adding a lot of great to a lot of people’s hair i think Wayman Eddy: well you know let’s tackle that right now so north bay airport busiest uh contract tower in florida right and i think second in the country something like that.

Cedric Mcqueen No we were we were uh the busiest contract tower in the country wow last year yeah 300 300 and something thousand operations a year 300 and change.

Eddy Wayman: With the team how many?

Cedric Mcqueen Um i have 11 controllers but i’m always short so we’ve been like eight controllers seven controllers plus my system right so um we get it done with what we got you know 365 you know we’re always open so we make it happen.

Wayman Eddy: And and uh was it that attention that level of work that kind of led to you kind of popping up on people’s radar and you got uh atc tower manager of the year 2000 was that 18 or 19. 

Cedric Mcqueen: What we’re in 20 2018 2018 i get it my years have gone down yeah so that was that’s that’s huge in the country right like top airport uh tower manager in the country

Wayman Eddy: Um did you just get a call one day like are you in the running?

Cedric Mcqueen: I just got a phone call i just got a phone call and said congratulations you’re the uh you know civilian air traffic control manager of the year i was like oh okay wow i didn’t know i was even put in for it but you know it’s great to be recognized.

Wayman Eddy: Great to be recognized because you guys do great work you know for 300 000 operations across eight uh controllers that’s a significant workload right and uh and you gotta do a great job with it so for those of you that don’t know north perry airport do i have a map here i have a map in the other room that it is uh maybe we’ll put one up in the edit but it’s a tic-tac-toe pattern right take that to a pattern and so you’re always controlling the two active runways and uh sometimes you have that split frequency when it gets busy enough yes right which thank goodness for that because i remember. 

Cedric Mcqueen: Right it used to be one controller where it could you know 10 12 13 airplanes but um when i got enough staffing i was able to split the airport in half and you know one controller takes the south side north side or the east west runway and it was it was pretty awesome.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah i mean north perry has become a bit it’s become a jewel really here in south florida right because the big international airports you know they’re the heavies right and then your opa lockas your fort lauderdale executives they’ve really become jetports right correct because there’s a lot of business jets coming in and out of the airspace going to south america the caribbean then you get your super bowls and your art basels and like feels like every gulf stream in the hemisphere is here right yeah i remember that obamacare they would they shut down uh nine right the training was used for parking.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah i think i have a pic i might have a picture of that i’ll try to send it to you.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah and it’s that’s impressive because it’s you know one of the things we drive around the golf cart you see everything that’s new.

Cedric Mcqueen: Right it was so many airplanes then i went down there one day uh for a meeting and went to the tower and i was like you have no parking space nothing and it was it was pretty amazing and boca was the same way yeah absolutely you’re right boca is the same way they’ve just got that one uh yeah that one ramp.

Wayman Eddy: That brings us to north perry become a bit of a jewel because because these airports have really become heavies and jet ports um all most flight training most cessna’s piper um home builds they’re kind of being squeezed into north perry um still some at for a long executive but they’re basically being squeezed out of like the metropolitan areas right but it’s a huge population center so naturally even though pilots are i think i heard two percent of the population uh have their pilot license yes the you know you heard the one percent two percent that are uh pilots um that two percent of seven million people is still a significant number of politicians significant number of pilots correct absolutely and so there’s been this rush to north perry where uh we’ve got hangars being built uh there’s a project now going up on the east side uh oh sorry west side by uh mosquito control and uh and you see it you’re driving the ramp is packed packed.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah yeah they were out of hangers out of parking spaces so those hangers are going to be you know a god’s input pretty much.

Wayman Eddy: yeah because it’s a lot of people that still want to come here absolutely you know people want to be able to fly in and out uh in their own aircraft you know those that have put in the time earned the the privilege of flying that you know we have a lot of i know a lot of captains for example that live in central florida you know we’re talking about the clewistons the uh the winner haven’t spent that and want to fly into north perry so they can catch their flight out of miami international or for a larger international likewise some of my best students have been people that were here in south florida but they had projects i remember one guy who was a construction manager and he learned to fly so he could visit his projects in the naples area in the orlando area and still be home for dinner nice please and uh it’s just an amazing an amazing place with a lot of energy you know i think by my last count there’s like eight flight schools here now it’s 11 11. i lost count i’m sorry i thought i knew everybody.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah from uh the last report from the county it’s like 11.

Wayman Eddy: I live in flight schools yeah you know um and that’s a wonderful thing i remember you know going back to roblox days my brother who always said we the biggest we ever were was when there were six airports six flight schools at the airport right because everyone was going out there everyone’s doing career fairs and airport days and saying come on in learn how to fly right and uh and so there’s there’s room for everyone to learn how to fly now a lot of those are smaller operators you know one or two airplanes focusing on locals which is great uh the academy here of course we’re more professionally oriented with the big training center and that kind of stuff yes but it’s a great variety. 

Cedric Mcqueen: It is it is and and the group of people you meet in aviation is just amazing wonderful you know full of characters that’s for sure yeah you can’t get this any place else yeah i don’t think so no i don’t think so either no the the aviation world is is kind of unique because you don’t you know you go to a wing seminar to learn about something you find yourself sitting next to the owner of this restaurant and uh correct guy that built that and like it’s just great kind of networking environment so there’s a huge crossover between just the business world and the aviation world correct i know a lot of people that keep an office at their local fbo and they take their meetings there right yes it’s awesome you know you can’t you can’t get the city places and it’s really a wonderful thing for our community so just last year um i was pleased along with a lot of the people that actually i see on our zoom call hey everybody uh i see uh uh jerry and i imagine tony and uh and a few myron a few people in there so we had an opportunity to form the north perry airport community association just over a year ago and that’s been really interesting kind of just interacting more with the community around the airport right um the airport is kind of fenced in right everyone thinks of airport security and the airport spends in but what a huge impact the airport has on the businesses right around the airport yes all right uh it’s a big driver have you had a chance i mean 10 years here in north perry imagine you’ve had a chance to like frequent all the restaurants and all the everything.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah pretty much everything around here.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah shout out to don pepe’s on the north side right here like and all those great restaurants exactly when i was little it was a food desert right yeah because you have really much you don’t have much down there it’s cuban sandwiches every day yeah unless you want to go to hurricanes yeah and flanigan’s but that was still far away you know

Cedric Mcqueen: but yeah perry perry is great because it’s generally located in between a lot of stuff you got food you got you know you got everything you need here.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah i think i don’t recall if it was lyndon b johnson if it was ronald reagan who had a really good quote um you can tell the health of a community by their local airport correct and i always thought that was a great little quote right because yeah you know if the town is booming in that airport people are coming in you know they’re they’re visiting the businesses nearby all that kind of stuff so um so the association made a big push to go out and like get to know the the the community the housing associations that are right next door the businesses that are right next door we have a uh a seniors hospital right across the street and i think there’s some great outreach there so it’s a good thing bringing down the fences.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah and that was that was awesome of you guys because you know like you said a lot of people get a perception that the airport is like totally off grounds and everybody there is like er but you know to get out and meet the community um when we used to do the airport day i love you all day yeah it was an awesome event you know for everybody for the kids just for you know people that was just interested in planes yeah.

Wayman Eddy: Broward County if you’re listening bring back airport day if you want to do it i mean it’s going to have to be post coping of course but right right i know they were talking about it.

Cedric Mcqueen: Well uh prior to covet they were talking about doing one but then code happened so i’m sure it’s going to get pushed back but um it was a great event the last one we had because they were doing fan flights it was the car shows it was doing the discovery flights um they had the model airplanes outside you know it was just yeah it was just awesome that the simulators i think the simulators were from i think they were from bc i think broward college had brought out some simulators.

Wayman Eddy: also i think maybe experience aviation have brought out some of those like hot seat simulators on the sit-in and the kids can kind of go for it um we had our own young eagles rally last november my gosh almost a year ago now right it’s almost a year so what is the what is it like in the tower when you’re doing something like that because you got your regular traffic because nobody stopped flying right and then on top of that we’re gonna throw like another dozen airplanes full of kids at you.

Cedric Mcqueen: Um it’s interesting i mean it just makes it a little bit i’m not even say busier um because the events that you guys put on are kind of you know pretty structured you know we know what times you’re going to be in and out how long you’re going to be going for so we can pretty much you know adjust um the traffic patterns and stuff like that you know knowing times is awesome because that’s that’s in the military everything’s was speed and time sure you know so that’s how everything works so knowing times and everything like that so it’s just the the variables that might throw something off but.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah well you were very key working with uh i think was it robert uh that helped set up like the pattern uh that took us out to the beach and right back in so these young eagles rallies for anyone that’s never been if you have a kid ages eight to eighteen i think eight to eight i think was 18. young eagles.com and you can sign up for a young eagles flight which is basically a private pilot in their own aircraft or a rented aircraft you know we’ll take you out for a flight and it’s where the young eagles rally is when a group of pilots usually the young eagles chapter gets together to do this so we had the pilots from tamiami come on up and teach us how to do it right.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah but it was a great event it was no hiccups it was it just flowed beautifully so.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah i think it’s more stressful on the ground i think next time i’m gonna try to take a step back and just fly it because then i’m just responsible for myself my airplane and that one kid that’s with me maybe two right but on the ground you know we had a little mini career fair and we had a table set up in 99s women pilots association was talking about all these different things and actually we had navy there navy was there because i remember they had the helmets on the tables okay and so they were there kind of telling people about naval aviation so it was a fun one uh but of course i think it’d be better it’s better when it’s part of a larger airport day where like the fences are thrown open and we’ve got bounce houses and all that kind of stuff right that would be great yeah absolutely well and we’ve got a great partner in pembroke pines so the city even though it’s it’s a county right it’s a broad county aviation department that’s uh uh who runs the airport and runs the tower we’re officially part of oh that was your video for a second we’re officially part of pembroke pines all right and pepper pines has been really supportive you know there’s at least three commissioners there um who who have worked at the airport are working at the airport you know come around like a really big boosters of what the airport can be for the community great i mean do you feel the support.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah of course of course um the county for for sure and then with the city um the city has been awesome.

Wayman Eddy: I guess a lot of people don’t realize you know he’s he’s a great opponent for the airport which is awesome i guess a lot of people don’t realize you know if you’re not in the aviation world if you’re not aware of the aviation world what that special role is that a general aviation airport like north perry fills right they say no but nobody does what we do.

Cedric Mcqueen: Correct correct and uh like um for like super you know events like super bowl and all these we’re like a overflow airport yeah so that’s that’s what we’re labeled as an overflow airport for um you know major events and stuff like that uh natural disasters if something happened um coast guard helicopters you know customs anybody that needs to come can come as long as they know not over twelve thousand five hundred you know pounds but as long as they fit you know meet the uh the uh requirements they can come and you know it’s just additional help to the major airports

Wayman Eddy:  absolutely yeah and it just helps our communities i remember uh bahamas relief a lot of it flew out correct he’s relief when the hurricane two years ago went through the keys my brother-in-law was down there man they couldn’t get out for like two weeks oh wow Cedric Mcqueen: yeah yeah the bahamas relief was big they it was a lot of flights out here going to the bahamas with supplies and stuff like that so

Wayman Eddy: yeah it’s great to be a part of that yeah it is it is right and i think when they fly out there’s a special call sign right i remember um what is it there’s a special call sign saying that they’re like a relief flight flying out or something like that.

Cedric Mcqueen: Compassion flights actually.

Wayman Eddy: yeah yeah what does a signifier like that do does that like trigger something for atc or just to kind of keep track of what’s going on?

Cedric Mcqueen: yeah it it lets us know that um it’s either you know humanitarian or um a lot of compassion flights could be a patient being transported for uh surgery and stuff like that sure so you try to give them you know no undue delays and stuff like that 

Wayman Eddy: so i’m sure everyone’s kind of curious uh you know the topic that dominates every conversation i have nowadays is cloven 19 and how it’s affecting things so imagine we’re not at that 300 000 we were at last year no?

Cedric Mcqueen: um at last i checked we were at 160 something that’s not bad it’s not bad but it’s a drastic drop i mean we went from um doing 1200 operations a day 12 1500 operations a day to at one point three four hundred um six now we’re back up to eight nine or a thousand so traffic’s starting to pick back up 

Wayman Eddy: so we’re like in the sixty seventy percent of where we were at the height yes all right and you know what that’s about right for for flight school you know thinking about our own flight hours yeah we’re probably about 60 70 percent of uh of where the flying was last year um so i remember i think at the worst we we did uh the flight school we only had a full shutdown for a week maybe two right when that was that first like we don’t know what’s going on stuff’s hitting the fan like you know uh no lights on no toilet paper right right and we’re trying to figure things out um and yeah this place was a ghost town i remember coming just to check on things like wow wow middle of the tuesday afternoon beautiful day like it was bad.

Cedric Mcqueen: we were still here well you’re still there right yeah yeah we didn’t take any days um i think last time the tower closed was the hurricane last year.

Wayman Eddy: Wow yeah you know i actually do remember that the one that really freaked me out when all this coded stuff was was really kind of kicking in was i was going for a flight with my brother right so he flies a cicadas and we were going to fly up to atlanta to pick something up drop something off and uh i i fly by the three strike rule right if three things go wrong probably should apply right and like i printed out the charts and i left them right here on this desk and and then i was saying we were flying out of pompanos i’m like well there’s one strike right and then the second strike was i think the battery and the third strike was that that was the day that new york city went to uh tower zero four oh yeah and they shut down new york oh okay that’s a big sign yeah yeah.

Cedric Mcqueen: But i think what happened somebody tested positive and right they just got everybody out and did the cleaning yeah to let everybody back in you know they was trying to get their space back open as soon as possible.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah that was like my world war z moment i’m like is this the zombie movie like what’s happening.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah it was scary at first you know initially um yeah very scary.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah but you guys have been able to keep things under control taking your precautions.

Cedric Mcqueen: I mean you’re kind of in your own bubble right because there’s eight of you yeah yeah pretty much it’s only you know besides their families i don’t have any family here so i don’t go around anybody but um uh yeah we’ve been self-contained.

Wayman Eddy: That’s great that’s very good so things are picking back up right now i think you know south florida being such an international place you know for example we are about a 50 50 international domestic flight school right we love our domestic students they’re the ones that we love to kind of uh grow and develop and they become our flight instructors and their dispatchers and our maintenance apprentices and so you know we love our local students but it’s the international students that are here flying full time they keep the lights on right and uh they’re mostly hampered by embassies and airline tickets and those are all opening up now which is such a relief right so yeah getting students now uh mexico bahamas jamaica things are starting to pop up but it’s like whack-a-mole like this one opens that one closes.

Cedric Mcqueen: Right and i mean i think that’s going to be probably the case for the rest of year if not longer hopefully not longer but yeah at least longer.

Wayman Eddy: But you know aviation has taken a big hit i mean amongst all the industries aviation’s taking a big hit and um we’re lucky that airports are designated uh critical infrastructure right so that’s why you guys were open the whole time through yes you guys were open the whole time through and the flight schools were able to maintain you know with all the precautions in place got my uh i’ve got my learn from fly hand sanitizer this is thanks to the uh flight school association of north america um but you know with all those precautions because really flying is one on one right it’s you and your instructor you know oftentimes it’s a family that’s flying so they’re already in their bodyboard so general aviation i think i’ve been able to keep um at least a good portion flying right uh cargo is doing gang busters like a lot of our because we have uh airline flows right into uh certain airlines and they’ve all just redirected and flown into atlas and like amazon prime and all those kind of things.

Cedric Mcqueen: Oh yeah yeah they’re booming yeah it’s the commercial the commercial you know the computer side is taking a big hit without uh layoffs and stuff like that early retirements

Wayman Eddy:  so do you have any thoughts on on what this recovery is going to look like from from from your perch in the tower? 

Cedric Mcqueen: Um no i’m just prepared to get back busy i’m just you know i know it’s gonna be a surge um as soon as everything is relatively back to normal i’m sure it’s gonna be a huge surge and um i’ve told my guys upstairs i said you know we’ve had a little break you’ve got some rest that’s it’s going to be you know back on shortly it’s going to be back to humping so they’re mentally prepared you know.

Wayman Eddy: Well i certainly hope so i mean it’s it’s a it’s a big one right everyone everyone wants this return to normalcy but also i find um so we just had a whole safety thing uh conference with our instructors our instructor constantly doing safety training and our chief pilot who’s now flying one of those cargoes uh our assistant chief pilot sheik he’s uh out there flying for atlas air so i think he joined us from hong kong or north korea or somewhere like that and he was telling me about the normalization of deviation which i thought was an interesting topic right and that’s just that the human ability to normalize really crazy weird things right in his case he’s talking about safety where like oh yeah that uh uh that aileron’s always been rough or like the you know that engine always has a little bit more of a mag drop you kind of normalize these things it should be fixed yes right um and so i think similarly in our day to day we we’re normalizing mask wearing excessive hand sanitizer right yeah absolutely so i think that’s really how we get out of here is that we’re going to be a much cleaner species i hope so not to mention a whole generation of kids that are going to grow up as germaphobes.

Cedric Mcqueen: We may never have enough toilet paper but it should be.

Wayman Eddy: It should be it should be interesting oh yeah it’s there’s definitely some new stuff coming around but you know what we’re coming kind of coming into the last a little bit of our interview here i’d like to open it up to questions i know we had a few pre-submitted i see katie on the line here and i’m trying to look up her question that she sent to me he said what is the importance from air traffic source perspective of north perry airport in the national airspace system?

Cedric Mcqueen: Uh well within the within the nas um like i said perry is is pretty important i mean we had 330 opera 330 000 operations so if we can sustain that amount of traffic just to look at the traffic we took off miami or the ability for you to even train because if you can’t you can’t just go to miami like that you know bravo air space charlie air space with lauderdale you know everybody’s squawking and talking so to get the amount of you know training that’s needed you know touching goals and full-stop taxi bags short approaches you won’t get that at you know places like you know lauderdale and miami so perry is very important especially for generation 

Wayman Eddy: I thought it was pretty crazy back in may june seeing a lot of ga landing at like jfk laguardia.

Cedric Mcqueen: They didn’t have any traffic so they were like we’ve got to talk to somebody

Wayman Eddy: It’s a once in a lifetime once in a lifetime kind of opportunity for those of you that did it i think i think there’s at least a couple of north korean-based pilots that did that um so we got a question from rick here in the zoo and again anybody on facebook or in uh the zoom please go ahead and type in your questions so we can get a few here for cedric do you want to know why there’s no lineup in weight at north parity it seems it would help speed things up?

Cedric Mcqueen: Well uh north perry doesn’t meet the faa requirements for line-up and weight we have to have a stand-alone supervisor in the tower we don’t have that position um and it’s some other requirements that that’s required for a line up and wait. 

Wayman Eddy: Okay i thought it might have something to do with the runway length like you know you want as much runway as you can.

Cedric Mcqueen: But not even that but i mean that is kind of a factor but not really it’s you know the standalone supervising tower and some other responsibilities that we can’t provide because we don’t have the manpower.

Wayman Eddy: All right that makes sense yeah because there’s more supervising because you’ve got to be very clear when someone’s leaving the wrong way before somebody else is able to to take off and if you’re definitely waiting there against a difficult situation yes i’ve got a question for you right i flew maybe like um two three months ago and there was like a cell going around and in the in my am i doing two approaches into north perry airport the one we changed three times we went from like eastbound to northbound to westbound operations and i was like what is going on?

Cedric Mcqueen: Well i mean we’re supposed to stay within you know well we’re supposed to stay with the runway most aligned with the wind sure so if it’s you know 20 you know 10 15 knots crosswind you know we don’t know everybody’s skill level sure so it’s just easier to switch the runways than to have someone come in trying to do a crosswind uh approach or landing and then go off the runway or you know another you know something else happens because uh in the event of an incident or accident the first thing they said was what was the win what was the wrong way that’s right so that’s why we switch like that we hate it.

Wayman Eddy: So you’re looking out for everyone you’re looking out for everyone right correct and that makes a lot of sense because i remember so when that happened i talked to our chief pot about it and he said well florida usually follows miami international like whatever miami internationals do in florida they usually fought each other and so block as well follows them right so everyone’s kind of facing the same direction he’s like but north perry just has its own thing.

Cedric Mcqueen: because because they don’t have the north south runways yeah yeah no i think it’s a wonderful thing yeah they don’t have the ability to just say you know winds 0 1 0 at 15 let’s go north you know yeah they don’t have that.

Wayman Eddy: So um the thing that sounds great because you as a as a low time training pilot you never have like a crazy crosswind right it borrows you from going out and flying which is huge yeah especially when we gotta make the most of it when it’s raining every other hour.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah yeah exactly so um you know switching up the runways like that it can tend to lead to confusion sometimes especially if somebody’s been on tin right for you know the last 30 minutes and then now they got a switch but you know it’s good training but um it can lead some confusion so if we don’t have the switch we try not to um it’s usually like a five you know five knot wind component you know if it’s five knots or you know but it’s 10 15 20 we’re going to switch.

Wayman Eddy: All right um so rick also with a follow-up question about run-up areas that everyone runs up on the taxiway if uh if there’s any solution to that if there’s a run-up area people should run up at?

Cedric Mcqueen: Well um they have a construction in the future it was supposed to start last year but um i’m not sure when it’s going to start they’re going to do a run-up area on lima um your bravo tax way okay so on the on the east side of uh zero one right nice so yeah.

Cedric Mcqueen: So one one one left will be shortened and they’ll cut off that that ten right entrance part so you know you have to go one left to get the 10 right yeah yeah they go cut that l out that bend so it’ll just be a run up area then straight to 10 right to get the one left you’ll have to cross somewhere.

Wayman Eddy: So run up there’s coming run-up areas are coming?

Cedric Mcqueen: They’re coming they’re proposed and they they started the plans they they had plans i think um the person at broward county that was in charge left so they had to start over oh yeah so yeah it’s going to happen i’m just not sure exactly when how.

Wayman Eddy: Um it’s it’s kind of uh it’s bittersweet like you know that these improvements these upgrades to the airport are coming but they always seem so far away by nature it’s right bureaucracy because it’s a government uh thing right yeah and uh yeah so actually you know here’s a curious question for you right because a lot of people don’t understand the difference between like the contract tower faa towers you know it was something that i was introduced to in opa locka but um you know is there any way you could kind of summarize like the differences at one point north perry got designated a contract tower or a sign correct.

Cedric Mcqueen: Um i think somewhere in the late 80s early 90s i think um the faa went into a safe money plani should say so towers that were they went by traffic count so towers that did less than this amount of traffic uh they went to the federal contract program because it’s less staffing than a fa facility and you know it’s just house perspectives you know so yes so perry went contract i think it’s like um 270 something contract towers in the nation now that’s quite a bit yeah it’s uh quite a few i think it’s too let me tell you it is 256 contract towers in the nation so um it just went by traffic and you know cost savings for the federal government um we’re we’re we have less staffing but you know some places only do 40 000 operations for the year which makes sense that’s true you know it makes sense yeah right so that’s true.

Wayman Eddy: And at the time you know probably north perry was one of the four or five airports in the area that did more GA. 

Cedric Mcqueen: When i first got here we had one air taxi um company the twin cows that used to be parked at uh north perry central all right before it became north perry central it was an air taxi they used to fly every morning from here to fort lauderdale uh international that’s the sort of flight yeah but i didn’t know where they went after that but they would leave here a little they’re basically yeah yeah and then you guys were at opa locka at the time we have been down there 33 years yeah so excellent.

Wayman Eddy: Well hey cedric as we’re coming to the end of our hour you know so much of the population here at north perry is uh is students and people are learning how to fly making those steps from the tower i mean what nuggets of advice would you give someone that’s you know starting their aviation adventure learning to fly here under your eyes?

Cedric Mcqueen: Um initial contact uh when you first call the tower who you are where you are what you want um that helps us plan better instead of asking a thousand questions um you know just just tell us what you want who you are um if you have a question about any instructions given from the tower ask you know if if you feel like again you know if they took you always better to be safe you know they told you 10 left but normally you go to 10 right or they told you 10 right in the beginning on the initial check-in and then 10 left when you reach three miles be like hey uh what’s up did you switch me you know i’m saying because you know it happens you’re we’re you know people talking and you meant to say 10 right but you said 10 left so if you have anything question it um don’t be afraid of controllers we’re humans um just like you like i said you know everyone here is either military ex-military or ex-faa so it’s a lot of a lot of years traffic yeah so um if you feel like anybody’s downgrading you or talking bad on you call me that period putting yourself out there yeah oh i’m just saying i mean this is we are customer based service this is customer service no matter how you look at it reflecting service to you guys and uh that service is supposed to be enjoyable like i say plan is supposed to be fun um it’s a great career but you know if you fly on the weekends or a private pilot it’s supposed to be you know fun so if someone is being you know a jerk let me know let me know.

Wayman Eddy: Well you know there’s a lot of stress in the tower too.

Cedric Mcqueen: Yeah yeah it is a stressful environment it is a stressful environment but you know at the same time like i said it’s a lot of experience so deal with it.

Wayman Eddy: you know so so my takeaway your advice there is communicate ask questions ask them to repeat stuff basically don’t be afraid to ask right don’t be afraid to ask yeah yeah and i think a lot of that when when the cover restrictions come up do visit cedric and the team at the tower i think that helps to take away that like fear of asking as well right.

Cedric Mcqueen: I’ll definitely let you know whenever they lift the um visitation restrictions that way you can let everyone know.

Wayman Eddy: Absolutely yeah we love we’d love to do it again so cedric thank you so much for joining insight aviation.