Soupy Campbell

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The most hated man in Flight Data. It’s too bad I say that, as I really didn’t know Soupy very well, but he was a legend when I got down to the floor to start writing strips. If you’ve been following my stories and my biography elsewhere on this site, you’ll recall that our raison d’être in Flight Data was to prepare strips for each sector on flights which would traverse our area. There was a standard (set by Airspace & Procedures, a staff office in each facility) which prescribed what fix postings were to be represented in each sector in general and which ones in particular for particular flights.

Some sectors had more than one fix posting (which was denoted by a special strip with the fix name on it—all live strips were sequenced under the appropriate bay), so the sector might get two strips on a particular flight. Now I don’t know the genesis of the process of determining the fix postings for the sectors—most of it was settled well before I got there and had no doubt evolved from the original company inspired air route traffic control system.

In particular to this story, the PNS sector had two fix postings in it—PNS and 2OL (Harold intersection). So far as I could tell, it had been that way since Archie League was waving flags (look him up—he’s considered the first air traffic controller). In any event, there was essentially only one airway in the sector—V22 (changed later to V198) which didn’t even go over PNS, but which 2OL was on. It was a small sector, and frankly could easily be managed with a single fix posting. All of us, even in Flight Data with wet credentials could see that. Soupy might even have been able to see it, but so long as the book called for a 2OL strip for V22 flights, he wanted one.

As luck would have it, the PNS sector was right next to Flight Data. That was good news and bad news, since every time we had a V22 flight to prepare all we had to do was look up and to the right about six feet, and see whether Soupy was there or not. Sometimes we got tricked as we’d do a session on Flight Data while Soupy was on break and not make a 2OL strip, but by the time the flight hit his sector, he was back and ready to explode. Of course the guilty party was on break by then so Soupy often wasn’t able to confront the malefactor, doubly frustrating him, I’m sure.

I didn’t really know Soupy and once the second (and third and fourth wave) of new hires hit, I left Flight Data pretty much for good. Then, once I went to D-School, I was situated in Low East (PNS was Low West) and never had to deal with him. Sometime later, whatever cool heads had authority in the matter did a study or whatever it is they do, and eliminated 2OL as a fix posting in the PNS sector. By then all affected parties had moved on and there were other windmills to tilt.

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Last updated: 20 December 2009