Agostino Punturi is a name you may well not recognise unless you are a regular visitor to Cumbernauld Airport. Agostino is a member of the ops team there so his smooth Italian voice may be more familiar than his name, emanating from the tower with weather and traffic information.
I met up with him recently to find out more about his role and the operations at this handy and very scenic little airfield. Cumbernauld is operated by Cormack Air Services and seems to be an excellent portal for a career in aviation as well as a light aircraft gateway to the Highlands.
Agostino studied for five years as a navigation assistant in Rome, a course available in high school there believe it or not. His interest in air traffic control blossomed and the next post was as a simulator pilot in radar controller calibration. I imagined this was to test systems but it was actually to recreate a "live" aerospace environment to test the controllers, not the machinery.
"The best part of being here is being in contact with the core of the business and the people you are actually helping. I get a lot of knowledge here from the pilot community and the people here. My vision is that we are here to help the pilots. For pilots talking to ATC is like entering the lion's den, I'm your companion on the ground."
In addition to duties in the tower, the ops team are also responsible for marshalling, ground handling, refuelling, baggage handling and even fire fighting.
Agostino's fascination with the procedural aspects and the bigger picture of how everything fits together means that his ideal job would be to move to Oceanic Radar eventually. This interest has led to a project at Cumbernauld to design approach procedures for the new GPS system which is still in the planning stage at present. Owner George Cormack informed me that the idea is to attract more business traffic but the procedural aspects of planning applications can take an awful long time to process. Agostino started to show me the programming he was doing to make the project work and be a user friendly experience for pilots, but I'll be honest, it was way beyond me.