NATCA Leadership in the News

Gov't Shutdown Means Hiring & Training Delays, Worsening Air Traffic Controller Staffing Crisis

NATCA President at House Aviation Subcommittee Hearing

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National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi​ on February 13, 2019 testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I), Subcommittee on Aviation, that the recent 35-day government shutdown was terribly harmful because it eroded the layers of critical elements necessary to support and maintain the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS).


Watch the full hearing here.

Read written testimony here.

Read the full press release here.

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi Testifies in Subcommittee Hearing

  • Jason Grider, Contingency Operations Representative, NATCA
  • Trey Madrid, Contingency Operations Staff Specialist

The goal of Contingency Operations is to ensure each facility in the National Airspace System has a contingency plan if an incident occurs that results in ATC-0 being declared.

“We come together and we look at what the conditions are. We look at how they can do air traffic and not be in their facility; restarting traffic at neighboring facilities,” said Madrid. “We look at it for towers, TRACONs, up/downs, the centers, and even for oceanic airspace. We look at how we can start traffic moving again once ATC-0 occurs. People may be evacuated at these facilities but planes don’t go away.”

Jason Grider

Philip Madrid

Madrid added that, “we need to do a better job of quickly reacting to the needs of the public.” He discussed the lessons learned from the Chicago Center fire in 2014 while praising the controllers who worked so hard to keep the airspace running in the hours, days, and weeks after the arson incident that knocked out ZAU’s communications infrastructure. “Every controller leaned in and did everything they could to bring the NAS back up to where it should be. What we’re trying to do is not wait for that next event to happen but instead plan ahead and have a system in place so that when it happens, we know what to do.”

Madrid and Grider discussed Operational Contingency Plans (OCPs) and contingency training. A working group is looking at training needs and there is a contingency overview video in development.

Communicating for Safety

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Communicating For Safety: Sept. 16-18, 2019;
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Biennial Convention

Houston 2020 logos The 18th Biennial Convention will be held in Houston, May 27-29, 2020.

NATCA in Washington

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  NATCA's premier legislative event.
May 20-22, 2019. More information.