Joseph Basha knew right away he was talking to the same person who saved his life nearly 11 years ago.
A general aviation pilot, Basha was flying through a portion of Memphis Center’s airspace last December when he was handed off to Vince Scott, a former Jacksonville Center controller who had guided Basha safely around pockets of severe thunderstorms as he flew a short-winged Piper Caribbean Colt from Alexandria, La., to Kissimmee, Fla., to watch a Space Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral in the summer of 2006.
“Your voice is distinctive,” the pilot said to him. “I know I remember it and that’s where I remember it from. Thanks very much. We survived that trip and had a wonderful time.”
Basha recalled he was flying at night, without any sophisticated equipment in the aircraft. Although none of the nearby airports were reporting hazardous weather, convective weather popped up over central Florida, and he got stuck in the middle of it. Scott then came to the rescue.
Vince Scott sits at his scope at Memphis Center. (Photo: FAA)
In a recent letter of gratitude to Memphis Center, Basha wrote that Scott was “highly professional, confident, and calming” as he provided vectors that kept him clear of weather hazards and directed him into clear skies.
A controller who routinely worked traffic through stormy weather in the Southeast for 17 years, Scott couldn’t recall that particular event, but he appreciated the pilot’s praise.
“I don’t quite remember because we do it a lot, but thank you for remembering,” Scott said to him.
This is another example of a controller providing outstanding service to a pilot in distress. A voice that saves lives is one that is never forgotten.
“I am confident in stating unequivocally,” Basha wrote, “Mr. Vincent Scott personifies all that is great about professional air traffic control and flight service personnel.”