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News Archive 2007

NATCA Tells Acting FAA Administrator the Country is Facing “A Growing Crisis in Aviation Safety and Air Traffic Control"
Fri, Dec 21, 2007

In an attempt to establish a new working relationship on safety, technology and capacity issues at the highest levels of the Federal Aviation Administration, NATCA President Patrick Forrey met today with Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell.

Chicago Controllers Declare Safety Problem Sixth Serious Close Call Puts Facility over FAA-Mandated Limit for Incidents
Fri, Dec 21, 2007

Today, air traffic controllers at Chicago Center – the nation’s fifth-busiest facility – are declaring a safety problem after another close call in the skies gave the facility six serious incidents in just the past 11 weeks, eclipsing the limit of four for the entire 2008 fiscal year set by the Federal Aviation Administration with over nine months left to go.

Inadequate Training and Staffing Will Affect Safety of New Routes and Procedures in New York and Philadelphia
Wed, Dec 19, 2007

Air traffic controllers, completely shunned by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration on the final development and implementation of new headings, routes and procedural changes in the New York and Philadelphia airspace, today are having those new routes and procedures jammed down their throats by FAA management with wholly inadequate training and staffing, leading to mass confusion and new concerns that the FAA is compromising safety.

In Light of Recent Close Calls and GAO Report, on Runway Safety, NATCA Asks FAA for Emergency Meeting
Mon, Dec 10, 2007

National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Patrick Forrey has sent the following letter to Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell, requesting an emergency meeting “to see what we can do together to restore system safety before tragedy occurs.”

FAA Forces Controller to Work 13-Hour, 40-Minute Shift in Gross Violation of Federal Air Regulations
Fri, Dec 7, 2007

In a gross violation of federal air regulations and the Federal Aviation Administration’s own internal order governing safe working limits, the FAA earlier this week forced an air traffic controller at Syracuse Tower to work 13 hours and 40 minutes in a single shift, lasting from 2:20 p.m. EST to 4 a.m. EST. the next morning.

GAO Report Adds to Mounting Evidence Against FAA: Controller Staffing Shortages Causing Fatigue, Which Impacts Safety
Wed, Dec 5, 2007

The Government Accountability Office’s report today on runway safety states, “Air traffic controller fatigue continues to be a human factors issue affecting runway safety.” The report further states that fatigue “may result from regularly working overtime” and that, “We found that as of May 2007, at least 20 percent of the controllers at 25 air traffic control facilities, including towers at several of the country’s busiest airports, were regularly working 6-day weeks.” Additionally, the GAO concludes that, “progress on addressing runway safety will be impeded until the human factors issues involving fatigue are addressed.”

Second Serious Incident in Four Days in Four Days at Chicago Center Shows FAA Sacrificing Safety Margin by Overworking Fatigued Controllers
Mon, Nov 19, 2007

An incident Saturday in Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center airspace in which two private aircraft got much closer than rules allow – including one owned by the founder of Lands’ End clothing – was the second serious episode in four days attributable to an error made by a tired and overworked controller and the fourth such error in the first six weeks of the 2008 fiscal year. Only one serious error was made during the entire 2007 fiscal year.

FAA Violates Controller Rest Law, Causing Near Collision
Thu, Nov 15, 2007

The continuing air traffic controller staffing crisis at Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZOA) resulted in two aircraft passing dangerously close over the skies above Northern California last Sunday afternoon.

Palm Beach Air Traffic Controllers Avert Disaster over South Florida Skies
Mon, Nov 12, 2007

Just hours after a crippling communications failure last Friday (November 9) forced Jacksonville Center air traffic controllers to scramble to ensure a positive outcome to an unsafe situation in a wide swath of airspace above four Southeast U.S. states, Palm Beach Tower and TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) lost all communications and radar functions as well.

NATCA Uncovers More Evidence of FAA Wasteful Spending on Luxury Items, Further Ignoring Serious Safety Issues
Thu, Nov 8, 2007

Last month a NATCA press release detailing the end-of-fiscal year spending spree the FAA undertook at air traffic control facilities across the country received widespread media attention, not to mention its inclusion in a national media campaign by Citizens Against Government Waste.

FAA Misses Key Safety Goal for October by 36 Percent, Despite Creative Math Tactics to Artificially Lower Serious Incidents
Wed, Nov 7, 2007

The number of serious incidents of aircraft getting too close in the air rose sharply last month, exceeding the Federal Aviation Administration’s goal for the month by 36 percent.

One Month Later, FAA Still Cannot Explain Decision to Needlessly Delay and Reroute JFK Arrivals for 48 Minutes, Jeopardizing Safety, Costing Airlines Money in Fuel and Disrupted Operations
Tue, Nov 6, 2007

Dissatisfied at enduring a month of inaction and inattentiveness by Federal Aviation Administration investigators, air traffic controllers at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control today are speaking out about an October 6 incident in which an FAA management official at the facility ignored key information and continued with a decision to hold all arrivals into delay-plagued JFK Airport for 48 minutes.

Controllers Say Delays Will Likely Worsen, Beginning with the Holiday Travel Season, Due to Understaffing Crisis
Mon, Nov 5, 2007

As the government releases September flight delay statistics, air traffic controllers today are looking ahead and warning that the upcoming holiday travel season is likely to be plagued by delay problems because there will be 7.5 percent fewer fully trained controllers working than last year.

Salt Lake City Air Traffic Controller Named Air Traffic Control Specialist of the Year
Fri, Oct 26, 2007

The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) is honoring Alan Cole with its 2007 Air Traffic Control Specialist of the Year Award. Cole, a 21-year veteran and member of NATCA, is at Salt Lake City Tower. Cole’s candidacy for the award includes his overall dedication to the profession and his outstanding display of situational awareness in regards to air safety.

FAA’s New Approach to Safety: Spend More on Luxury Items, Less on Controllers and Equipment
Thu, Oct 25, 2007

Just two months after a high-profile Congressional hearing exposed widespread health and safety problems at Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control facilities across the country, and in the midst of crippling and unsafe communications outages, the FAA responded not by improving its maintenance practices but instead by going on an end-of-fiscal year spending spree to outfit scores of facilities with new and expensive furniture, televisions and other high-end items that have no relationship whatsoever to the safety of the flying public.

Air Traffic Controllers at Kansas City International Tower Worry About Mold
Wed, Oct 24, 2007

Air traffic controllers at the control tower and radar room of Kansas City International Airport (MCI) are working in a building that has a serious mold problem. This is, at least, the second attempt by the FAA to conduct mold removal within the past four years. Mold was discovered in the facility in 2003 and latest inspections by the FAA indicate it has returned – causing the FAA to begin mold removal.

NATCA Opposes the Nomination of Bobby Sturgell for FAA Administrator
Tue, Oct 23, 2007

NATCA opposes the nomination of Bobby Sturgell for administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. We oppose it because America's aviation system is experiencing record delays and an unprecedented degradation of safety margins, exacerbated by the largest decline in the number of experienced air traffic controllers since 1981.

Lack of Contract Fuels Record Surge of Air Traffic Controller Retirements and Total Attrition
Mon, Oct 22, 2007

A record number of air traffic controller retirements and total attrition in fiscal year 2007, fueled by outrage over the lack of a contract, soared past Federal Aviation Administration projections by 30 percent and has left the country with both a 15-year low in the number of fully certified controllers on the job and a glut of new hires – many with no air traffic control experience or education – that the FAA is failing to train either effectively or efficiently.

A Brutally Stressful Working Environment Turns Unhealthful: The Mold-Infested Saga of the Nation's Busiest FAA Facility
Wed, Oct 10, 2007

The nation’s busiest air traffic control facility, Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center, is currently the site of a dangerous mold and fungus infestation that has reached crisis proportions after sickening scores of employees, adding an extraordinary amount of anxiety and stress to an already difficult work environment and has even led an outside contractor to pull its employees out of the building due to the serious health concerns.

Reduced Staffing and Increased Traffic Volume Contribute to Error That Results in Close Call Near Las Vegas Thursday
Fri, Oct 5, 2007

Two jets were forced to take evasive action at 28,000 feet – 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas – on Thursday (Oct. 4) to avoid the possibility of colliding while en route to Las Vegas McCarran Airport. The jets where being maneuvered by air traffic controllers to comply with heavy delays into Las Vegas due to traffic volume. One of the aircraft had been cleared to descend through the altitude occupied by the other.

NATCA Testifies on Worsening Delays before House Subcommittee
Wed, Sep 26, 2007

NATCA President Patrick Forrey is testifying this afternoon before the House Aviation Subcommittee on the subject of worsening flight delays.

Air Traffic Controllers Praise Passage of FAA Bill as Last Hope to Save a Workforce in Dire Straits
Thu, Sep 20, 2007

Air Traffic Controllers Praise Passage of FAA Bill as Last Hope to Save a Workforce in Dire Straits

Detroit Metro Tower Air Traffic Controllers File Lawsuit Alleging Improper Mold Removal and Health Effects
Fri, Sep 14, 2007

Air traffic controllers from the Detroit Metro Air Traffic Control Tower have filed a lawsuit in Wayne County (Mich.) Circuit Court regarding a nearly three-year-old problem of toxic black mold that has sickened many controllers, including several who have missed significant amounts of work and continue to suffer breathing and other serious health problems.

Record Number of Resignations Since FAA Imposed Work Rules Further Deepens the Controller Staffing Crisis at Oakland Center
Tue, Sep 11, 2007

Three more air traffic controller trainees have resigned from Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center in the past four days, effective next Friday, bringing the total number who have quit to 14 since the Federal Aviation Administration imposed work rules and pay cuts on the controller workforce against its will one year ago. In a normal year, there are only one or two resignations at this facility, which controls the airspace above 10 percent of the earth’s surface.

Rash of Errors at World's Busiest Air Traffic Control Facility – Atlanta Center – Reinforces Link Between Staffing and Safety
Wed, Sep 5, 2007

Six air traffic control errors in a five-day period last week and another error earlier this week at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center – the world’s busiest facility – have alarmed controllers who are working record amounts of air traffic with an all-time low number of experienced controllers on staff.

Air Traffic Controller Staffing at Houston TRACON Plummets While Workload Increases
Tue, Aug 28, 2007

With historic levels of rainfall and the worst flooding in 50 years, the summer thunderstorm season has been especially brutal in Texas this year. Record flight delays and cancellations show this as the worst summer since 2000. There’s not much that can be done about delayed or cancelled flights caused by weather, but there is something that can be done about the health of our air traffic control system.

Six Operational Errors in Six Days at Memphis Center Alarms Controllers, Highlights Link Between Understaffing and Safety and Prompts FAA to Send Investigative Team to Facility
Tue, Aug 21, 2007

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Six operational errors occurred at the busy but understaffed Memphis Air Route Traffic Control center between Aug. 12-17, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to announce it was sending in a special investigative team to the facility – known as a “Tiger Team” – to look into the safety problems.

Rash of Errors at Understaffed New York Center Forces FAA to Suspend Training to Review Operation
Mon, Aug 20, 2007

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. – Four operational errors have occurred in one week at the same sector at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center and other errors spread out among other sectors has prompted local Federal Aviation Administration management officials to suspend training of new controllers for 30 days to assess the facility's training and staffing situation.

Understaffed Southern California TRACON Suffers Rash of Operational Errors; FAA Suspends Training to Review Operation
Fri, Aug 17, 2007

MIRAMAR, Calif. – Five operational errors have occurred in less than two weeks at the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) – the nation’s busiest such facility – including three that happened in a span of four recent days, prompting local Federal Aviation Administration management officials to suspend all training of new controllers for three days to assess the facility’s training and staffing situation.

Controllers Call on FAA to Retract This Published Statement: “Realistically, There Is No Such Thing as a Dangerous Staffing Level”
Thu, Aug 16, 2007

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today is calling upon the Federal Aviation Administration to retract the following statement attributed to FAA Spokesperson Ian Gregor in a California newspaper: "Realistically, there is no such thing as a dangerous staffing level.”

NATCA Gives Stamp of Approval to ASDE-X Commissioning at Chicago O'Hare and Charlotte This Month
Tue, Aug 14, 2007

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is looking forward to the commissioning of two sites this month for the Airport Surface Detection Equipment – Model X (ASDE-X) system that is very effective in helping controllers prevent runway incursions. ASDE-X will upgrade the ground radar systems at Chicago O’Hare and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Kansas City Controllers Call on FAA to Discipline Supervisor Who Was Arrested and Is Accused of Assaulting Controller at MCI
Thu, Aug 2, 2007

Air traffic controllers at Kansas City International Airport (MCI) are calling on local Federal Aviation Administration management officials to end three weeks of silence on an incident involving an FAA supervisor accused of assaulting controller Richard Brinker at the facility. Controllers want the FAA to discipline the supervisor and conduct an investigation into what controllers say is a pattern of abusive and intimidating behavior toward them.

Indy Tower Controller Resigns, Saying FAA's Imposed Work Rules Hurting Agency's Ability to Hire and Retain Qualified Applicants
Tue, Jul 31, 2007

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that effective Sunday, Aug. 4, 2007, I am resigning from my position as an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration at the Indianapolis Airport Traffic Control Tower.

Budget-Driven FAA at Work Again: Lack of Attention, Money to Local Cincinnati Radar Needs Costs Agency During Outage Sunday That Delayed Scores of Flights
Mon, Jul 30, 2007

For the second time in six months, a primary radar failure Sunday morning at Cincinnati Tower (CVG) and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and lack of appropriate secondary radar feeds severely delayed scores of flights into and out of the nation’s 14th-busiest airport at the beginning of a morning rush hour period.

NATCA Statement Regarding the NTSB Final Report on Comair Flight 5191
Thu, Jul 26, 2007

NATCA Statement Regarding the NTSB Final Report on Comair Flight 5191

FAA Admits Relationship between Shortstaffing at Key L.A. Radar Facility and Delays for Aircraft into LAX
Thu, Jul 19, 2007

The Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center is a “critically staffed facility,” according to a Federal Aviation Administration Traffic Management update last month and, as a result, flights are being delayed and operational errors are increasing.

Controllers Praise House Reauthorization Bill That Would Send Them Back to Contract Negotiating Table With FAA
Thu, Jun 28, 2007

Controllers Praise House Reauthorization Bill That Would Send Them Back to Contract Negotiating Table With FAA

Dallas-Area Air Traffic Control Facilities Continue to Suffer from Shortage of Controllers
Wed, Jun 27, 2007

DALLAS – A worsening shortage of air traffic controllers at several facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex continues to be a top concern for local representatives of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. They are worried about the effects on controllers’ ability to remain sharp, focused and well-rested as they battle thunderstorms, congestion and a summer travel season that has been marked by headaches and delays thus far. Here is a snapshot look at several facilities’ staffing situation:

FAA ‘Re-Baselines’ Controller Retirement Projections for Second Time in Four Months; New FY07 Total Expected to Reach 800
Tue, Jun 26, 2007

WASHINGTON – For the second time in four months, the Federal Aviation Administration has been forced to raise its air traffic controller retirement projections for the current 2007 fiscal year, an acknowledgement of the agency’s continuing inability to get a handle on the alarming rate of retirements that rose after the FAA imposed work and pay rules on controllers against their will last September.

Despite Denials of Recruiting Problem, FAA Forced to Offer $20,000 Incentive to Attract Controller Candidates
Fri, Jun 22, 2007

WASHINGTON – Despite numerous public statements that it is having no trouble attracting qualified candidates to enter the air traffic control profession, the Federal Aviation Administration is now offering a $20,000 “recruitment incentive” for applicants that have previous air traffic control experience, indicating the agency’s apparent inability to overcome a staffing shortage by simply hiring candidates off the street using MySpace and Facebook solicitations.

FAA Pouring Overtime Money into Atlanta TRACON, Closing Sectors of Airspace to Cover for Staffing Shortages
Thu, Jun 21, 2007

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – The Atlanta Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility is so short-staffed that Federal Aviation Administration management officials were forced to spend approximately $865,000 in overtime from October 2006 to March of this year to cover for staffing shortages, nearly seven times the amount of overtime spent in the same six-month period in 2005-06.

NATCA Asks Congress to Solicit Expertise of National Academy of Sciences to Conduct Independent Controller Staffing Study
Fri, Jun 8, 2007

NATCA Asks Congress to Solicit Expertise of National Academy of Sciences to Conduct Independent Controller Staffing Study; House T&I Committee Ranking Member Asks FAA for "Specific Details" on Agency Staffing Plan

Veteran Controllers Leaving Washington Center in High Numbers; New Hires Have to Moonlight at Second Jobs to Make Ends Meet
Thu, May 24, 2007

By this time next month, Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center will have lost 36 veteran air traffic controllers this year. In response, the Federal Aviation Administration has brought in 19 new hires that are struggling so badly in pricey Northern Virginia – due to a 30 percent pay cut imposed on all new hires nationwide last year – that several are having to moonlight at jobs with Home Depot, T.G.I. Friday’s and a local bar and restaurant to make ends meet and pay off mountains of student loan debt.

U.S. Reps. Poe and Filner Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Place Moratorium on the Consolidation of Air Traffic Control Facilities
Thu, May 24, 2007

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today applauds the introduction of H.R. 2443, the Federal Aviation Administration Facility Consolidation Moratorium Act of 2007. This is a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Representatives Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Bob Filner, D-Calif., that would place a moratorium on the consolidation of air traffic control facilities.

Air Traffic Controllers Unveil Two Online Resources to Help Air Travelers Try and Avoid Delays This Summer
Mon, May 21, 2007

Air traffic controllers are unveiling two online resources for air travelers today in an effort to try and help them better navigate what is likely to be a very busy and delay-prone summer travel season.

Understaffing Emerges as Serious Safety Concern for Cleveland Center Controllers at One of FAA's Busiest Facilities
Thu, May 17, 2007

Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZOB), the country’s fourth-busiest Federal Aviation Administration facility, has lost 34 veteran controllers since the FAA imposed work rules on the controller workforce last September – eight percent of the entire controller staff in the building. Fourteen of those losses are controller retirements from March 31 through May 3 of this year.

NATCA Warns of Air Traffic Safety Risks at Anchorage TRACON Due to Understaffing
Thu, May 17, 2007

The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed controller staffing at the Anchorage Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility to reach its lowest level in a decade.

FAA Forced to Close Charleston, W.Va., Tower for 90 Minutes Due to Controller Staffing Shortage
Tue, May 15, 2007

The Federal Aviation Administration last Friday, May 11, was forced to close the air traffic control tower at Yeager Airport in Charleston, W.Va. (CRW), for 90 minutes because it did not have enough controllers to staff the evening shift at the 24-hour facility.

Air Traffic Controllers, Pilots, Business Aviation Officials Urge to Restore an Operating Control Tower to Lakefront Airport
Mon, May 14, 2007

An operating Federal Aviation Administration control tower at New Orleans Lakefront Airport is essential to safety and the economic recovery of New Orleans, air traffic controllers, pilots and business aviation officials said today, pointing out that there has been no operating control tower at Lakefront since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, except for a brief 10-day period around the Sugar Bowl nearly five months ago.

Understaffed Kansas City International Tower Results in Delays for Air Travelers
Fri, May 11, 2007

Air traffic controllers at the control tower and terminal radar approach control room (TRACON) at Kansas City International Airport (MCI), are working so short that Federal Aviation Administration management is curtailing services. Just yesterday, May 10, in order to maintain safety, all aircraft flying into Kansas City were delayed by the Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center in Olathe, Kan.

Oakland Center Air Traffic Controller Staffing Shortage Grows Worse; Trainees Cite FAA's Imposed Work Rules as Reason for Their Resignations
Thu, May 10, 2007

The continuing air traffic controller staffing crisis at Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZOA) has gotten worse thus far in fiscal year 2007 with the loss of 19 controllers and trainees and the expected loss of as many as two to three dozen more by the end of this year.

FAA Delayed Evacuating Dulles Tower Wednesday for 45 Minutes, Making a Dangerous Situation With Carbon Monoxide Fumes Even Worse
Thu, May 10, 2007

The Federal Aviation Administration delayed evacuating air traffic control tower personnel at Washington Dulles Airport on Wednesday morning for 45 minutes, resulting in prolonged exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide fumes that ended up sending five people to the hospital and providing the third major recent example of a botched FAA response to a health problem in a major air traffic control facility in the Eastern United States.

Griffiss Air Traffic Control Facility Forced to Close on Mid Due to Staffing
Fri, May 4, 2007

The Federal Aviation Administration radar approach control facility at Griffiss Airfield (RME), a 24-hour air traffic control operation, was forced to close late Wednesday evening and into early Thursday morning due to a controller staffing shortage. The lone controller scheduled to work the overnight "mid" shift was sick and could not report for work, and there was nobody to call on to fill in. FAA managers didn’t use overtime to fill the position because it would have created another staffing problem in the schedule.

FAA’s Off-the-Street Mass Hiring Undercutting CTI Students' Work, Creating Class System, Jeopardizing Collegiate Program's Future
Thu, Apr 26, 2007

Why should a prospective air traffic controller spend many thousands of dollars at college pursuing a degree that leads to a job with the Federal Aviation Administration when they could simply respond to the FAA’s many current “help wanted” ads on MySpace, Craigslist or Facebook – without needing that college degree – and land the same controller job?

Reps. Bono and Filner, Sen. Feinstein, Lead Effort to Prevent FAA from Moving Palm Springs Radar Control to S. California TRACON
Thu, Apr 19, 2007

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association today is praising the work of U.S. Representatives Mary Bono, R-Calif., and Bob Filner, D-Calif., and Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in leading a strong, bipartisan effort to challenge the Federal Aviation Administration’s unsafe and unwise attempt to move the Palm Springs Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) to the Southern California TRACON (SCT).

Phoenix Tower/TRACON Understaffing Compromises Safety, Diminishes Benefits of New Tower
Thu, Apr 12, 2007

The Federal Aviation Administration officially dedicated a new air traffic control tower on Wednesday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Unfortunately, the Agency won’t be able to take full advantage of this beautiful new tower because it is losing far more controllers at the tower and adjacent radar room (Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON) than it is hiring and the resultant fatigue and stress on remaining controllers is reducing the margin of safety.

Two Southwest Flights, One Lifeguard Flight, Delayed at Manchester Due to Staffing Shortage
Wed, Apr 11, 2007

Two Southwest Airlines flights were put into a hold pattern and delayed 18 minutes before landing at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport last Friday, April 6, due to a staffing shortage in the Manchester Tower. The lone controller in the tower who was forced to work two hours, 40 minutes without a break finally was forced to take a restroom break and called Boston Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) to hold incoming flights.

Air Traffic Control Crisis in Southern California: Understaffing, Forced Overtime at Major FAA Facilities Threatens Safety
Tue, Apr 3, 2007

A worsening air traffic controller staffing crisis at major tower and radar control facilities in Southern California is shrinking the margin of safety to dangerously low levels due to tired controllers forced to work overtime and even six-day work weeks, a high number of retirement-eligible controllers either leaving or about to leave due to the Federal Aviation Administration’s imposed work rules and reduced pay bands and a high number of new hires that are taxing the FAA’s ability to train them efficiently and successfully in some of the world’s busiest and most demanding airspace.

FAA Botches Jacksonville Roofing Project, Fails to Clean It Up and Now Has Seven Ill Controllers Unable to Return to Work
Tue, Mar 27, 2007

A botched roofing project and failed Federal Aviation Administration oversight and cleanup efforts have left air traffic controllers at Jacksonville Tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) exposed to toxic fumes for a month, leaving seven of them still unable to return to work because of respiratory system problems, chemical burns to eyes, nose and throats, and other ailments, and exacerbating an already difficult working situation due to understaffing at the facility.

NATCA Reacts to DOT IG Report on Understaffing at FAA Facilities
Wed, Mar 21, 2007

“The IG’s report very clearly confirms that it took a disaster for the FAA to get around to making sure its facilities were complying with its own order on proper staffing. The urgency with which the Agency acted after the crash to ensure proper midnight shift staffing should have been done immediately after the Raleigh-Durham incident in 2005. That was the time to act. Not after people lost their lives. That’s too late.

Controllers Call on FAA to Lift Ban on Weather Radios in Towers
Tue, Mar 13, 2007

With many states observing Severe Weather Awareness Week, air traffic controllers are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to lift its ban on weather radios in air traffic control towers so controllers can receive the latest severe weather and tornado warnings to fill in the gaps left by radar equipment that only detects precipitation.

New York Center Oceanic Air Traffic Control System Failure Leaves Controllers Scrambling
Mon, Mar 5, 2007

At 1 a.m. EST this morning (March 5), there was a failure of the Advanced Technologies and Ocean Procedures (ATOP) system that New York Center air traffic controllers use to work aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean.

NATCA To Honor Congressman Costello and Congressman LaTourette With “Sentinel of Safety” Award; K.C. Center Controller Chris Thigpen Wins "President's Award”
Tue, Jan 30, 2007

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is honoring Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., and Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, with the third annual “Sentinel of Safety” award during each Congressman’s respective appearances today before more than 300 air traffic controllers gathered at NATCA’s annual legislative conference, “NATCA in Washington.”

Top Controllers Saluted with Archie League Medal of Safety Award for Exceptional Saves in Critical Situations
Mon, Jan 29, 2007

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association on Monday will salute the best examples of air traffic controllers who displayed extraordinary skill, dedication and focus to ensure safety in critical situations in 2006 with its third annual “Archie League Medal of Safety” awards.

Schedule Change at Understaffed Kansas City International Airport Control Tower Will Decrease Margin of Safety, Unwisely Burden Fatigued Controllers
Wed, Jan 24, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Air traffic controllers at the control tower and terminal radar approach control (TRACON) room at Kansas City International Airport, already working short 14 controllers now must contend with a new and unsafe situation: The FAA is going to force controllers at the end of the midnight shift to handle the heavy early morning traffic, instead of using fresh controllers who traditionally have started their shifts by working this morning “push.”

FAA Mismanagement at Charleston (S.C.) Tower Leading to Spike in Errors, Safety-Compromising Mistakes by Uncertified Supervisors
Fri, Jan 19, 2007

In the entire 2006 fiscal year, the Charleston Air Traffic Control Tower had no operational errors or deviations. But so far, in the first three-and-a-half months of the current fiscal year, there have been six errors, including one committed by a Federal Aviation Administration supervisor. Three others occurred when an uncertified supervisor stood watch. And air traffic controllers say poor management practices, including forcing them to work sick and subjecting them to intimidation is going to result in that error total rising even higher.

FAA Reports Third Straight Annual Drop in Air Traffic Controller Staffing Total
Thu, Jan 18, 2007

Air traffic controller staffing levels have dropped for the third straight year, to a new low of 14,206, according to the most recent Federal Aviation Administration “Administrator’s Fact Book.”

Schedule Change at Understaffed Tulsa Tower Will Decrease Margin of Safety, Unwisely Burden Fatigued Controllers
Wed, Jan 17, 2007

Air traffic controllers at the control tower and terminal radar approach control (TRACON) room at Tulsa International Airport, already working short 11 controllers from Federal Aviation Administration-authorized staffing standards, now must contend with a new and unsafe situation: The FAA is going to force controllers at the end of the midnight shift, after working 16 of the previous 24 hours, to handle the early morning heavy workload of traffic, instead of using fresh controllers who traditionally have started their shifts by working this morning “push.”

Understaffed San Jose Tower to Get Controller and Supervisor Transferred from SFO; Two Recent Incidents Highlight Problems
Thu, Jan 11, 2007

The San Jose Air Traffic Control Tower, which is missing nearly half of its authorized staffing after three controllers were recently poisoned by a toxic chemical in a botched air conditioning maintenance project, is finally receiving a small dose of help. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to send one controller and one supervisor to San Jose from San Francisco Air Traffic Control Tower. But their arrival won’t greatly alleviate the stress and fatigue currently experienced by the controllers who have been working short-staffed for many months.