The goal of the Professional Standards Program, which is a core collaborative component of the NATCA/FAA collective bargaining agreement, is to promote and maintain the highest degree of professional conduct among participants. This is done through education and in compliance with our codes of professionalism. The purpose of the Professional Standards Program is to provide an opportunity for bargaining unit employees to address the performance and/or conduct of their peers before such issues rise to a level requiring corrective action(s) on the part of the Agency.
The Turn Off Tune In program is a collaborative, proactive initiative launched in 2013 at CFS by NATCA and the FAA to eliminate distractions in the operational workplace. Over the past five years, a collaborative workgroup composed of representatives from the FAA and NATCA jointly developed and implemented a proactive communications campaign designed to educate and increase awareness of the safety impact of distractions in air traffic control operations, with an emphasis on electronic distractions. The audience for this campaign is staff in U.S. air traffic control facilities, including air traffic controllers, supervisors, managers, and anyone entering the operational environment.
The Fully Charged campaign is a collaborative initiative established by the Collaborative Steering Committee (CSC), a joint leadership committee, and was launched in 2014 by the FAA, NATCA, and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS). Fully Charged works to socialize the issue of fatigue in air traffic facilities throughout the nation, and to change the culture of how the workforce thinks about fatigue, and values alertness. The group works to promote fatigue education and awareness to the workforce and also to provide them the tools to self-educate and mitigate fatigue hazards.
The Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP) launched 10 years ago as a collaborative effort between NATCA and the FAA and was fully implemented in 2010. ATSAP enables air traffic controllers to voluntarily identify and report safety and operational concerns. ATSAP is non-punitive and the data collected is shared between aviation stakeholders through the Confidential Information Share Program (CISP) and the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS). By providing a more complete representation of National Airspace System (NAS) operations, NATCA, the FAA, and participating airlines can more accurately identify potential hazards and develop more robust mitigation strategies.
ATSAP-X: In addition to controllers within the ATO, FAA employees from several other bargaining units – such as Engineers and Architects, Flight Procedures Team, and Staff Support Specialists located in the ATO Service Centers – are encouraged to file reports about system design issues that otherwise may have gone unnoticed. Issues include air traffic control system irregularities, airspace design and coordination, STARS/SID conflict with standard operating procedures, equipment issues, flight restrictions, and Federal Aviation Regulations waivers or authorizations.
The RESPECT initiative aims to establish and support a workplace that creates an environment of mutual dignity, support and respect between all individuals who are part of the NAS. Through Respect, we strive to foster continued professionalism in each of our workplace relations through education and interaction.
Partnership for Safety (PFS) is local people solving local issues. Through a facility's Local Safety Council, it puts facility-centric data in the hands of the facility’s team – the best people to solve the issues. PFS is a joint effort between the FAA and NATCA that encourages employees to become actively engaged in identifying local hazards and developing safety solutions before incidents occur.
All Points Safety is a communications campaign designed to raise awareness of how the FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and NATCA are collaboratively providing employees with improved tools, processes, and programs that enhance our ability to collect, find, and fix hazards in the NAS.
Take a Stand for Safety is a joint campaign between the ATO and NATCA to address emerging trends and hot topics related to safety, such as weather and IFR/VFR conflicts. Together, we are addressing safety myths, encouraging controllers to issue weather early and often, solicit PIREPs, complete the weather picture for pilots, call traffic, issue safety alerts, work with pilots to avoid IFR/VFR conflicts, and save lives on a daily basis.
The FAA is implementing Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B/SBS) into the NAS. By Jan. 1, 2020, aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B Out to fly in most controlled airspace. ADS-B enhances safety and efficiency by providing faster, more accurate information to air traffic controllers and free traffic, weather, and flight-information services to pilots. The ADS-B program also benefits airports, operators, and the public.
Command Center Space Operations (ATO) is responsible for the safe and efficient integration of space launch/reentry operations into the NAS. Space Operations works collaboratively with affected facilities to develop traffic management initiatives and airspace management plans. Space Operations is co-lead with the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) to form the Joint Space Operations Group (JSpOG). JSpOG is tasked with the real-time management of FAA licensed space launch/reentry operations.
The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) is changing how the FAA authorizes drone flights. LAANC provides access to controlled airspace near airports through near real-time processing of airspace authorizations below approved altitudes in controlled airspace. It provides air traffic controllers visibility into where and when authorized drones are flying near airports, giving them more flexibility to plan flight operations. LAANC enabled sites now cover 500 airports and nearly 300 air traffic facilities.
Everyone working in the NAS, especially Engineering Services employees, have an enormous responsibility to keep the system operating at peak performance while doing so as safely as possible. Operational Risk Management (ORM) is the collaborative process used to identify, assess and mitigate the likelihood and severity of an undesired event having a negative impact to NAS operations. NATCA Region X members are asked to follow ORM practices before the execution of any activity that could potentially have a negative impact to the NAS.
Runway Safety identifies and resolves significant runway surface safety issues through a collaborative, proactive, and risk-based system. Using feedback from operators, airlines, and regulators, NATCA members and FAA Safety and Technical Training have identified precursors to potential events and developed priorities that take into account airport geometry, operation levels, runway construction, and other factors. Runway Safety has played a role in the development of a variety of programs that reduce the number and severity of surface safety incidents, including ADS-B, Runway Safety Action Teams (RSATs), and Runway Status Lights (RWSL).