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Local Air Traffic Controller recognized as hero

TUCSON – Twenty to 30 feet is how far apart two aircraft were in a life or death situation.

“We were all sitting there and the only thing we were thinking of are these two planes going to hit? and they didn’t and all of us were cheering,” said Allen.

Traffic Controller Scott Allen is being called a hero after he jumped into action.

A King Air Flight just landed and was taxing while an F-16 fighter jet by the name of Popeye2 was cleared to land on the runway.

“He was already right in the middle of the way on the runway,” he said

Allen reacted quickly.

He was able to give instruction to the pilot of Popeye2, just enough time to throttle up, get airborne and angle his aircraft to avoid the king air.

“So when that happened my instincts instantaneously got to think what is the safest thing to do and luckily we had enough power in the F-16 to go around and an accident was avoided that day,” the traffic controller said,

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association honored Allen with its highest honor, the Archie League Medal of Safety Award. This award is given to Air Traffic Controllers who have performed life-saving work.

Allen is humbled by the award, but it didn’t really hit him until he met the F-16 pilot, Kurt and his wife.

“Kurt and his wife they said hey thank you and his wife said thank you,” he said. “My kids say thank you.”

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