In the dynamic realm of aviation, where skies become highways, air traffic controllers assume a crucial role in orchestrating safe flights for all. Operating behind the scenes, you may not know his face, but if you’ve flown at Albert Whitted Airport (SPG), there’s a chance you know his voice!
Introducing David Smith, affectionately known as “Smitty,” the Air Traffic Control Tower Manager at Albert Whitted Airport. With almost three decades of experience in air traffic control, Smitty is a crucial part of the airport’s operations.
Born in Rhode Island, Smitty joined the United States Air Force at the age of 18. Serving as an air traffic controller at various bases around the world, including Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Smitty easily mastered the art of air traffic control.
After his military service, Smitty brought his expertise to civilian air traffic control towers across the country. From Norwood, Massachusetts, to Naples and Bartow in Florida, and even Eagle County, Colorado, he ensured the safe navigation of many thousands of flights.
Most recently, before joining Albert Whitted Airport, Smitty served as a controller and eventually as the tower manager at Lakeland Airport in Florida where was nominated for ATC Manager of the Year. His wealth of knowledge and leadership skills make him an invaluable asset to any air traffic control team.
As the Air Traffic Control Tower Manager at Albert Whitted Airport, Smitty oversees a team of seven controllers, ensuring smooth and secure operations on a daily basis. No two days are the same at the SPG tower, and Smitty thrives on the challenges and responsibilities that come with the role.
Reflecting on his role at Albert Whitted Airport, Smitty shares, “I consider myself incredibly fortunate to manage the tower at this remarkable airport. The panoramic view from our tower is truly one of the best I’ve experienced in my career. Albert Whitted plays a pivotal role in the local community and economy, and it brings me great joy to witness so many aspiring pilots honing their skills here. This airport is truly a wonderful place to learn how to fly.”
When he’s not in the tower, Smitty embraces his love for outdoor activities. Biking, kayaking, and venturing to Colorado to ski and spend quality time with his children and grandchildren are among his favorite pastimes.
David Smith, aka Smitty, exemplifies dedication and expertise in the world of air traffic control. His unwavering commitment to safety, his passion for aviation, and his love for the vibrant community at Albert Whitted Airport make him an indispensable leader in the skies above St. Petersburg– and we are so lucky to have him as our very own tower manager!