OOPPS…OFFICERS OF PRESENT AND PRIOR SERVICE
While the airport continues, this timeline is only from the early 1990s to 2016. Some of the following staff may have continued on in their positions or migrated to new ones after 2016.
AIRPORT OPERATIONS MANAGER
This position is ultimately involved with every aspect of the airport although other managers are delegated to focus on specific segments of the operation. This is almost a year round position reporting to the Manager of Black Rock City Community Services, Terry Schoop – Retro.
Lissa Shoun – TigerTiger (1996-2013)
- First “Airport Operations Manager” although officially that title didn’t exist until much later, she was our leader from 1999 through 2012.
- Instrumental in creating an official airport at Burning Man.
- Wrote the first formal Airport Operations Plan in 2004.
- Helped to create additional manager/volunteer roles.
Charles Petrie – Calamity
- Airport Operations Manager 2013-2016.
- Worked with TigerTiger and crew from 1999 onward.
- Assistant Airport Operations Manager 2010, 2012.
- Created the APATS system that tracks our arrivals and aircraft and detects rogue charters
- Instrumental from taking Black Rock City Airport from a small GA airport to one handling many, many more flights and major air charter operations.
AIR OPERATIONS MANAGER previous known as AIR COMMANDER previously AIR SAFETY, RUNWAY MANAGER
This position has gone through some name changes! It is a year-round position reporting to the Airport Operations Manager. This is the manager of the Air Division of the Airport and develops rules and recommendations for managing airplanes in the air and on the ground. Oversees runway/ramp placement and maintenance. Responsible for all things related to air traffic including FAA, BLM, and BMORG safety and charter recommendations and regulations.
On-playa Runway Manager is a duty officer position held by the Air Division manager as a default and then assigned to other responsible managers for periods of time.
Mike Bunch – Hoot (1999-2011)
- First Air Commander (1999-2011).
- Formally recognized by the org with the official “title” of Air Commander from 2007 through 2011. Instrumental in helping to create the first Advisory and Pilot Briefing.
Dean Siracusa – Hawk (2011- 2013).
- Active at the airport since 2000. Created first charts for navigating around the airport
- Created clockwise movement around the Event known as the “Scenic Pattern”.
- Worked in conjunction with Hoot, DragonFly! and Squeezebox to create Advisory and Briefing. Worked with FAA to get our airport designated 88NV and to have it placed on FAA charts.
Mark Krajcar – System (2014 –2016)
- Instrumental in creating dual runway operations and “bringing airport to the 21 century”
- Created Token System with Avi8trix for controlling number of planes in the Scenic Pattern.
- Updated Advisory with Squeezebox and WriteHand
- Proposed Briefing Test, registration, and Pilot Manifest be done on-line.
- Launched 88NV website in 2014 which became officially part of the Burning Man’s website: airport.burningman.org
- Became the “Horizontal Air Commander” unable to attend the event due to a spinal injury in late July 2015. Avi8trix became the acting Air Commander supported by Runway Managers Squeezebox and Dogpilot. System was unable to continue and
Daniel Corbett – Cavu became Air Operations Manager with Avi8trix and the assistance of Squeezebox in July 2016.
CUSTOMS MANAGER: MINISTRY OF CUSTOMS
Customs Manager is almost a year round position reporting to the Airport Operations Manager. This division has been responsible for the people/gate/ticket aspect of the airport. Prime Ministers and their supporting Attaches are knowledgeable in the over-all procedures and help resolve problems as the “Officer of the Day” supporting the Customs Manager and Airport Operations Manager. Squadron Leaders monitor the schedule and training of volunteers and recruit on-the-spot volunteers for vacancies.
Interceptors meet the arriving planes and assist in the flow of arriving passengers and paperwork. The Box Office moved out from under Airport management to become an extension of the overall Box Office in 2015. Passport Officers help process arrivals after tickets are validated at the Box Office. Customs Officers have the joy of inviting people to ring the bell, roll in the dust, and “Welcome everyone Home”. Border Control manages the flow of people in and out of the Airport Gate One and maintain gate security. The Ride Wrangler (2014) and Tokenator (2016) matches eager Burners looking for a Scenic Flight with pilots gifting rides.
Charles Petrie – Calamity
- Founder of Ministry of Customs 2006
- Customs Manager 2011, 2016
Rebecca Kraft – littlepiggy “Queen of Customs” (2004-2010)
- “Official” Customs Manager (2008-2010, 2012)
- Instrumental in developing the procedures and rules governing this division. She is noted for the extensive manual that she wrote.
Original Ministry: Lissa Shoun (TigerTiger), Charles Petrie (Calamity), Rebecca Kraft (littlepiggy), Kevin Bowman (The Mayor), Michelle Cadieux (Squeeky). Shortly thereafter: Heidi K(Red Tutu), Steve Clarke (Spitfire), Lana Spitz (lana) and Adam Meyerson (Fido).
Frederick Leist – Lightning (2013– 2015)
Continued to refine the Customs procedures and eased the transition of Box Office.
Advises the Air Operations Manager on safe practises for managing aircraft. Schedules, trains and supervises radio operators as an “advice only,” volunteer-run Unicom. Often serves on-playa as Runway Manager.
Roger Ryon – DragonFLY! (2004-2007)
- First Unicommander. Created the first Unicom manual 2004.
- Created processes for managing pilot and aircraft issues that occasionally occur. Compiled information into first formal written “Advisory” and “Pilot Briefing”.
Carl Sagerquist – Zeus (2008 – 2013)
- Assisted in 2007, became UniCommander in 2008.
- Refinement of “advice only” system based upon his years as an Air Traffic Controller.
- Tracked take-off/landings
- Noted for the celebratory certificates he gave to Unicom volunteers
Sheila McCombe – Avi8trix
Co-Unicommander with Zeus in 2013, independent (2014-2016) Instrumental in updating and streamlining Unicom procedures and rewriting the manual and creating the Token System for the Scenic Pattern. Acting Air Commander in Systems absence 2015 and in 2016 Assistant Air Operations Manager. She has the longest commute to the playa with the distinction of being an Air Traffic Controller in Dubai.
LAND aka LOGISTICS
This involves much more than just set-up and tear-down with many months of planning and coordinating between different departments.
Michael Twing – Rebar
- Worked in conjunction with BRTA in building the Airport Village (1999-2005)
- First “official” logistics Manager (2006 – 2012)
- Layout of the village and runway survey with Glassman.
- Introduced black cones for runway.
Chris Boyle – Blaze (2013)
Paul Fiore – Venture (2014) He went on to help in many other capacities, drawing ramp layout and assuming Charter Liason 2016.
Meg Kosowski – Dee Zaster (2015-2016)
AIR TECHNICAL OFFICER
Set-up Unicom, set-up and maintain airport org and av radios used by staff.
Paul Drucker – fireFLY
EQUIPMENT / SET-UP aka QUARTER-MASTER/MISTRESS
Eric Bong – Eric Bong
- Handled Airport equipment and set-up (1999-2008)
Plan B (2009-2010)
Paul Fiore – Venture (2011- 2013)
- Organized storage containers
Krisztina Holly – Z or ZipTie (2014 – 2016)
Roger Plowe – Glassman (2003-2013)
- Glassman is one of the early ones…flying to the playa since 1995. Helped Rebar with
airport village layout 2003 onward, as well as runway and fuel depot construction.
- Introduced chevrons at end of runway, tie-down lines on ramp, whiskers/pan ID of parking place, and first telescoping radio tower.
- Proposed two runways with airport Village in the middle…took us years to get to 2 runways, we are still not camping between them!
James Wallace – Dogpilot and Runway Crew (2014, 2015)
Surveyed area and laid-out dual runways. Created a crew that interfaced with DPW for runway maintenance.
Jeff Thompson- Owl and Mark Krajcar- System did survey for runway/ramp 2016
LEAD BRIEFERS / BRIEFERS
The on-playa Briefings began in 2004 after an unfortunate fatal accident in 2003. While other people have helped with Briefings as well, these are the main founders:
Roger Ryon-DragonFLY! (1990s-2007)
- Contributed first Advisory from group notes, revised by Hoot, Hawk, Squeezebox, etc. Invented the pre-event ATIS-type information system (Advisory) wherein pilots could get vital operational info prior to flying out.
- Implemented using a code to inform others that pilots had done their homework and read Advisory. The first year the “secret code” was Information X-Ray, in 2005 it was Whiskey-Breath.
Mike Bunch – Hoot (2004– 2013)
- Did most of the large group briefings in the beginning, then shared with Hawk.
- Worked with Hawk to create first written Briefing
Dean Siracusa – Hawk (2004-2013)
- Supported Hoot, became main large group Briefer when Hoot became Air Commander.
Mikel Kovach-Long – Squeezebox (2005-2016)
- Supported Lead Briefers, gave 1:1 briefing to charter, medivac, etc.
- Gave input to Hoot and Hawk to create Pilot Briefing Manual (2005-2013)
- Lead Briefer (2014-present/2016)
- Worked with Sandi Kovach-Long – (krzylade) WriteHand:
- Revision of Advisory and Briefing for website 2014, 2015
- Creation of website Pilot Briefing Test
- Created and conducted Charter pre-event Briefing 2015
- In 2015 he refrained from group Briefing on-playa and focused upon training Briefers for pre-event and on-playa Briefings
AIRPORT SAFETY OFFICER
Mikel Kovach-Long – Squeezebox (2014 – 2016)
- Worked with Sandi Kovach-Long – (krzylade) WriteHand, to revise plan and created Emergency Safety Manual 2014, continued to review and amend annually.
- Playa Safety Council 2014 – present
- Introduced dual-walled fuel tanks instead of barrels in Fuel Depot for 2016.
ART DIRECTOR: VILLAGE ART AND SHADE
Steve Ramseur – Fabar (2005-2016 )
- Created PeaPod, Mood Swings
- Brought-in artists, liason with Artery
- Terminal Shade 2005-2013
- Instrumental in working on StarPort.
REMOTE CONTROL BLACK ROCK CITY: RCBRC 2014
Paul Drucker – fireFLY co-founder
Sandi Kovach-Long – krzylade aka WriteHand co-founder
- Created RCBRC Remote Control Black Rock City.
- Researched and created rules governing safe RC flight.
- Registered and trained 200 RC/drone pilots in 2014.
- Conducted on-playa Briefings with wristbands/registration upon completion
- RCBRC was moved out of airport supervision in 2015
AIRPORT VILLAGE MAYOR officially started 2014
Blaze says his role of Mayor is to oversee placement, represent community relations, and support the management staff in communications and role back up.,
Kevin Bowman – The Mayor Part of the original Ministry of Customs.
Chris Boyle – Blaze (2014 – 2016)
Blaze has been active at the airport for many years beginning in 2006 and part of the Ministrey of Customs 2008-2011 and 2014-2016.
Ericka Willet (Kosina) First volunteer coordinator 2003
Chris Boyle – Blaze (2008-2012) MileHigh began helping him.
Erin Johnson – Mile High (2013-2015)
MileHigh went on to become the Administrative Assistant to Airport Operations Manager.
Chuck Manion-Slapshot 2016 with assistance from Harold Webster-Meathunter
- Coordinate scheduling of 211 Customs volunteers using BMORG ShiftBoard in 2015
- Contact volunteers regarding duties and track time.
- Expanding in 2016 to include more Air Division volunteers.
- Meathunter also founded the Know-It-All booth for airport information.
WEBSITE: AIR INFORMATION OFFICER and WEBSITE SUPPORT
Port of Entry ( ? – 2013)
- This was the original website created by TigerTiger.
- Hawk started managing it in 2005 with help from Dove aka Shelley Delayne (his future wife).
- Mark Krajcar – System spearheaded the movement to create an org-backed website.
Stephen Brosseau – Rocky the Flying Squirrel (2014 – 2016)
- Air Information Officer: Created new website as official part of Burning Man in 2014.
- Programmed pilot test, Flight Manifest, and registration system.
AIR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Sandi Kovach-Long – WriteHand (krzylade) gathered information from System and Squeezebox and was primary author of revision of Advisory and Briefing, which was transferred to website.
- Reorganization of website content (2014 – 2016)
- Emergency Safety Manual (2014 – 2016).
- Documentation of Air Division meetings pre-event
- On-playa Incident Reporter (2016).
BRTA Black Rock Travel Agency 1996-2016
BRTA has been instrumental with providing structures, Galley meals, and entertainment at the airport since the early days. Although “it” is not an “official position” (and sometimes has fluctuated as an “officially registered” theme camp), “it” has always considered itself the FBO: Fixed Base Operator. Whatever the form it has taken, it has endured. After a nationwide contest Ross Smith’s design was picked and in 2014 the StarPort was born: a 3 point shade-star rising to a viewing platform.
Founding agents as recalled by Rebar:
Michael “Agent Nation” Anderson and John “Dream Eleven” Blunt and senior agents signing on directly after, Greg “Shuggy” (Meshugganah) Rodenburg, Michael “Rebar King” Twing, Roger “DragonFly!” Ryon, Daniel “Yogi Baba” Stellenwerf, Michael “Ryker” Archer, then Steve “Fabar” Ramseur and Gordon “Flash” Mills.
According to Rebar, many other people have contributed to the airport and have been viewed as part of the team aka “Agents” regardless of whether they were or were not “officially” part of BRTA. A few of these (and there were more): Dean “Hawk” Siracusa, Roger “Glassman” Plowe, Sal “Drunken Pilot” Latina, Shelley “Backstage” Burst, Nik “Canvas” Valle, Sandy “Painted Lady” Mills, Paul “Venture” Fiore, Martin “Savior” Kosina, Dave “Purple Haze” Barrett, Lana “Jet Slag” Spitz, and Mikel “Squeezebox” Kovach-Long
ORIGINAL CHARTER COMPANIES
Advantage Flight Solutions (2005-2015)
Bryan Lang -Twilight also contributed the terminal in 2006-2008 which was repurposed and partly used through 2013. His Black Rock Air Force F-15 interceptor art car was a favorite. Bryan was instrumental in forming Burner Express Air or BxA beginning in 2016.
Alpine Aviation (2012 – 2015)
- Gordon Mills-Flash and Sandy Mills-Painted Lady
- Martin Kosina-Agent Saviour (2014, 2015)
- Flash and Painted Lady have helped with taking down the infrastructure since 2008 in support of Land/Logistics and have been heavily involved with the StarPort and forming of a board for BRTA since 2013 – 2016.
Black Rock Air (2013-2015)
- Actually a broker created just for the Event.
Boutique Air (2011-2015)
Centurion Flight Services (2008-2015)
Diamond Aviation (2010-2015)
El Aero (first helicopter charter) (2009-2015)