Don (FH) Fiveash was a great friend to ZLA who passed away over the weekend of May 13, 2006.
His contribution to the Los Angeles ARTCC in the areas of pilot training, controller training, and VFR awareness was monumental. At a time when most pilots and controllers had their sights set on working big towers, approach and center, Don chose to staff the tower of one of his old stomping grounds, Santa Monica (KSMO), a small field just a few miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Night after night, he plugged in for hours at a time, providing wonderful, friendly service to the one or two pilots that would show up. Word quickly spread that on any given night, a fun little field was being worked by a knowledgeable controller who would bend over backwards to help people out with the basics of flight, be it pattern work, phraseology, or just how to fly the plane.
Don quickly developed of following of pilots, and later, other student controllers who elected to work Santa Monica in his absence, rather than KLAX. The VFR movement at ZLA quickly gathered steam, and simply wouldn’t have happened if Don hadn’t picked up the torch.
He was also an avid mentor to our student controllers, working countless hours showing students the basics, and then later, the finer points of running a tower properly and efficiently.
This forum is named in his honor, where we seek to impart knowledge in much the same way he did with those who were lucky to work with him.
Rest peacefully, FH.