February 10, 2023

Article from ATCA's Bulletin.

We dedicate this issue of the ATCA Bulletin to our friend, William ‘Bill’ Umbaugh. A 36 year veteran of the Federal Aviation Administration, Bill was also a guiding light to ATCA, being a vocal supporter and long-time advisor, including his having served on our Board of Directors.

Bill’s friend, Frank Frisbie, remembers...

“In reflecting on Bill I was brought back to a time under Administrator J . Lynn Helms when FAA was giving birth what came to be known as the “NAS PLAN”.

The foundation for the argument that, given a large infusion of funding, FAA had a detailed [believable] case for what and how the National Airspace would be transformed. Folks who are old enough to remember those days when the “Brown Book” was under construction most likely recall the prime architect was the late Jerry Thompson. What is too often overlooked is the heroic efforts of Bill Umbaugh and a small cadre of others that did the heavy lifting that resulted in the Magnum Opus that clinched the deal.

Bill described that experience as follows:   

“… I got to know Jerry real well and his work ethic oh too well during his creation of the NAS Plan. …. One of our tasks was to go through every approach plate and prepare a matrix that captured just what facilities were operating in every terminal in the NAS, be it FAA owned or non-Fed.  Jerry marveled over this stuff and treated it like we had just discovered another element in the periodic table. Naturally, during this time frame, eight-hour days were no longer the norm, and my commuting time back to Bowie was real short at ten o’clock at night.

Then, and in the years that followed, as an FAA employee and later as a consultant, Bill Umbaugh was the consummate professional whose technical expertise was an invaluable asset to FAA and the Aviation Industry. Not to be understated was the friendship that he so willingly extended to all of us.    

In closing I again want to use Bill’s own words where he foresaw a collaboration with Jerry “recommending improvements and changes to the infrastructure of the universe, and suggesting new ways that angels communicate and having their whereabouts tracked among the heavens.”

God bless you Bill and may you rest in peace!”