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NATCA Remembers Rep. Alcee L. Hastings as a Champion of Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today joins the nation and Florida’s 20th Congressional District in mourning the passing of Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, a courageous and outspoken leader who endeared himself to the aviation safety professionals in Florida and across the country by taking forceful public stands at a time when…

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National Office Staff Employee Spotlight: Bill Bamford

We have an amazing National Office staff that our membership can be very proud of. They work hard every day and are committed to providing our members with the very best service and representation in organized labor. Today, we feature Bill Bamford, our Deputy Comptroller. Thank you for all you do, Bill!  Where are you…

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Insider Story Idea?

What’s happening at your facility? We want to know! Hosting a solidarity event? Participating in a charity drive? Doing something fun and interesting in your off time? We want to hear about it, and share your story with the NATCA family, via the NATCA Insider! Send your ideas and questions to publicaffairs@natcadc.org.

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Press Releases

NATCA Remembers Rep. Alcee L. Hastings as a Champion of Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today joins the nation and Florida’s 20th Congressional District in mourning the passing of Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, a courageous and outspoken leader who endeared himself to the aviation safety professionals in Florida and across the country by taking forceful public stands at a time when…

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NATCA Congratulates Greg Regan And Shari Semelsberger On Their Election As TTD President, Secretary-Treasurer, Respectively

WASHINGTON – National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi today issued this statement in support of Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, who were unanimously elected Wednesday as President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), by the organization’s Executive Committee. Rinaldi represents NATCA on the Executive Committee. “On behalf of NATCA…

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Podcasts

In honor of Women’s History Month, NATCA is presenting the second of a four-part conversation between two incredibly inspiring women in the world of aviation. NATCA’s own Jamie Sanders, an air traffic controller at Denver/Centennial ATCT (APA), who is also an experienced pilot, interviewed Major Katie Cook, a third-generation military aviator and the first female pilot in the storied history of the great Blue Angels team of the Navy.
In this episode, Cook talks extensively about her military experience including flying in locations around the globe. She was one of the few female aviators that flew in combat. She flew missions in mountainous Afghanistan and was based at Camp Bastion, a U.K.-operated airfield at 3,100 feet. Most of the missions were close air support aboard a C-130 with a Hellfire missile rack.
“It was extremely rewarding,” she said. “You join the military because you want to serve your country and you become an aviator particularly in the Marine Corps, to support the Marines on the ground. That’s what our entire structure of the Marine Corps is about.”
Cook was the only female pilot on the aircraft. She tells the story of one mission in particular where they came to the support of a group of Marines being fired upon. She could hear on the radio the explosions. They shot two Hellfire missiles to take out the enemy. Six months later, in a chance encounter in Europe, she met one of the Marines she helped save. “He said, ‘you guys saved our life,'” Cook said. “I have a face with the name and so it’s super rewarding.”
Cook described what that mission was like. “We’re taught to compartmentalize. At that moment, I was like, ‘I can’t fail. These people need the support,'” Cook said. “But in the back of your head, you’re like, ‘I’m about to shoot a missile at people; at a live person who’s probably not going to be alive after I do this.’ That’s kind of a heavy burden. They were shooting at Americans, so it was completely justified but it’s still a heavy burden that a lot of people don’t ever have to deal with.”
She also talks in this episode about applying and then being selected to join the Blue Angels on its Fat Albert aircraft, as well as her interactions with women of all ages and especially young girls that look up to her as an inspiring role model.

NATCA in the Media

Politico: FAA May Adopt Gender-Neutral Drone Language

By Stephanie Beasley The FAA has asked its drone advisory panel to explore moving away from words like “unmanned,” “manned,” “airman” and other gender-specific terms for drones as the agency and industry look to attract a more diverse and younger crop of people to the field. The agency’s Drone Advisory Committee, whose members are mostly…

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Las Vegas Review-Journal: McCarran Airport name change backed by air traffic controllers

The decision to rename Las Vegas’ airport to Harry Reid International Airport is garnering national support. National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi issued a statement Wednesday backing the Clark County Commission’s unanimous decision last week to rename McCarran International Airport after the former Nevada senator. “We strongly support this decision. Harry Reid International Airport is…

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