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NATCA Celebrates Its Members During National Engineers Week - (2/22/2012)

CONTACT: Sarah Dunn, 202-220-9813

WASHINGTON – These professionals are a part of every one of the 50,000 flights that safely take-off and land each day. They design, construct and remodel air traffic control facilities. They analyze, improve and upgrade radar and communications coverage. They are committed to making aviation technology the best it can possibly be.

These professionals are the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) engineers, who NATCA proudly represents and recognizes for their many contributions to the workforce during National Engineers Week.

“NATCA-represented engineers employed by the FAA operate in the background for the most part, but they provide essential services that the flying public doesn’t usually consider when they think of flying in the U.S. today,” said NATCA Region X Vice President Mike MacDonald.

NATCA-represented engineers are separated into four bargaining units. These engineers are accountable for a wide range of duties that are imperative in keeping the nation’s air traffic control standards the safest and most efficient in the world. About 500 NATCA members belong to the largest unit, the Engineers and Architects, and are responsible for the design, construction and remodeling of air traffic control facilities and equipment.

Many other NATCA engineers are employed in either the Safety and Operations Support Group, responsible for maintaining the National Airspace System (NAS) equipment, or the Aviation System Standards group, in charge of the maintenance for the fleet of flight inspection aircrafts. Approximately another 100 engineers work in Aircraft Certification, where they ensure aircrafts are properly designed and tested. This group also investigates aircraft incidents. A smaller number of engineer members comprise the Airports Division, accountable for the approval of airports improvements, the implementation of new programs and the oversight of development projects. There are also engineers located in En Route and Terminal Automation, providing operational computer software support and maintenance for en route centers and terminal environments.

Just a few months ago many of these professionals were furloughed when Congress failed to pass another FAA funding extension in August 2011. The odds seemed not in their favor when nearly 4,000 were prevented from going to work, 1,200 represented by NATCA. But Congress passed a funding extension in September allowing FAA engineers to return to their jobs. And just last Tuesday, Feb. 14 the FAA finally received a full reauthorization, which will ensure continued safety in America’s skies, keeping hundreds of jobs intact and create a safer, more modern and more efficient air traffic control system.

Said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi: “We devote this week to honoring NATCA’s engineers and their outstanding work. They contribute greatly to the success of the safest and most efficient aviation system in the world and this week is a reminder of just how valuable these hard working, dedicated men and women are.”

For more information about Engineers Week, click here to go to the National Engineers Week Foundation Web site: http://www.eweek.org/Home.aspx.

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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association represents over 20,000 highly skilled controllers, engineers and other safety-related professionals.
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