Airways air traffic controller Lucy Mitchell (third from left), winner of the Jilly Murphy Scholarship for Aviation Safety, stands with Jilly’s father John Murphy (left), Airways CEO Ed Sims, and Christchurch Airport Chief Operating Officer Andy Lester beside the memorial seat erected in Jilly’s honour outside Christchurch Control Tower.
A fascination with aviation from a young age, and a career
commitment to understanding the human factors involved in aviation
safety, have proved a winning combination for a talented air
traffic controller. Lucy Mitchell has been announced as the
inaugural winner of the Jilly Murphy Scholarship for Aviation
The scholarship, offered jointly by Airways New Zealand and
Christchurch Airport, is provided in memory of Jilly Murphy, an air
traffic controller at the Christchurch Airways tower, who died in
the central city during the earthquake of 22 February, 2011.
Andy Lester, Chief Operating Officer at Christchurch Airport,
said the airport company and Airways believed a scholarship in
Jilly's honour would provide a fitting memorial for their much
loved and respected colleague.
"We wanted to find a way to remember Jilly and to honour the
dedicated work she did so very well and was so passionate about,"
he said. "Our winner, Lucy Mitchell, demonstrated an obvious
and enthusiastic passion for aviation safety. Her very strong
interest in human factors related to safe operations was very
compelling and she demonstrated to us that she thinks about
aviation safety every day," says Mr Lester.
Lucy Mitchell believes her background in the British Royal Air
Force formed her desire to attain the highest standards when
controlling, and developed her exceptional levels of awareness in
identifying safety issues. Lucy trained and worked as an Air
Traffic Control Officer in the RAF for five years before joining
Airways in New Zealand in 2010.
"Day to day, safety is always in the forefront of my mind,
particularly in relation to the ever increasing interface between
people and technology," she says. "As we're advancing in
aviation, we have a greater number of automated tools, with
increased reliance on computers, and the risk elements are found in
how people interact with that technology. High levels of
discipline and professionalism are essential in our industry,
particularly in regards to the critical safety aspects. I'd
like my career to benefit the aviation industry through specialised
knowledge in this area of human to technology interaction," she
Airways CEO Ed Sims said Lucy models the commitment and passion
that Jilly Murphy had for aviation safety.
"We were delighted that Lucy Mitchell was the successful
scholarship winner this year, as her commitment to aviation safety
made her the perfect inaugural winner. We know Jilly would be
very proud to see the scholarship fund used directly to keeping New
Zealanders safe," he says.
The scholarship will be awarded in a ceremony today at the base
of the Airways air traffic control tower at Christchurch Airport,
where a memorial seat has been placed in honour of Jilly
Lucy Mitchell's scholarship prize of $5000 will partially fund
the Master of Science in Ergonomics and Human Factors that she
intends to complete in her spare time while working at Airways.