Robert Kirkpatrick entered the aviation world in 1964 when he enlisted in the Air Force and trained as an Air Traffic Controller at Keesler Air Force Base. Later in his Air Force career he became an instructor there. His current boss was one of his students. While in the Air Force Robert was assigned to 5 different facilities, one of which was an assignment to a NATO facility in France where he worked international traffic with controllers from several other countries. His last assignment was a seven month tour in Viet Nam.
In 1974 Robert entered the FAA as an Air Traffic controller in Las Angeles ARTCC (Air Route Traffic Control Center). From there he transferred to Atlanta ARTCC. Next, he was transferred to San Juan ARTCC in Puerto Rico where he received a special achievement award for excellence on the job. When his tour in Puerto Rico was complete he was transferred to Pensacola, Florida where he worked in the control tower and RAPCON (Radar Approach Control). His next air traffic control assignment was Kabul, Afghanistan, where he and several others brought up the air traffic control system for Afghanistan. When he returned, he went to Miami ARTCC as an instructor, and is currently an instructor at PanAm International Flight Academy.