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Union Members Feature: Utility Workers of America

NATCA continues to highlight our union sisters and brothers who are also essential contributors across our nation’s workforce, and also AFL-CIO affiliate unions. Today we highlight and thank our siblings of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA). UWUA represents over 50,000 members working in electric, gas, water, nuclear, call center, renewable energy, and related…

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NATCA Office Staff Employee Spotlight: Tom Adcock

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 Director of Safety & Technology Tom Adcock. Thank you for all you do, Tom! Where…

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Colorado Springs Members Participate in Labor Day Lift Off

Every Labor Day, roughly 70 hot air balloons float effortlessly over the beautiful Colorado Springs landscape during the Labor Day Lift Off. Colorado Springs ATCT (COS) members also work seamlessly to advise all arriving and departing aircraft about the hot air balloons, the general direction they are located, and how far away they are from…

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NATCA Insider Archive

Press Releases

Veteran Air Traffic Controllers Rich Santa and Andrew LeBovidge Take Office as New NATCA President and Executive Vice President

WASHINGTON – For the first time since 2009, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has a new president leading the Union that represents nearly 20,000 highly skilled air traffic controllers, engineers, and other aviation safety-related professionals. Rich Santa (pictured at left), a veteran air traffic controller from Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZDC),…

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WASHINGTON – National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi today issued this statement congratulating Liz Shuler and Fred Redmond, who were unanimously elected today as President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), by the organization’s Executive Council. Rinaldi is a Vice-President, serving on the AFL-CIO…

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NATCA Mourns Tragic Loss of Richard Trumka

WASHINGTON –National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi, who also serves as a Vice President on the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council, issued the following statement on the sudden and tragic passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “The nation has lost a truly iconic figure. The labor movement and working people across this country have…

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Fort Worth Center (ZFW) air traffic controller Randy Wilkins has worked enough general aviation traffic in his 13 years there to know that while he and his colleagues aim to provide the best support they can and the most information possible to pilots who encounter difficulty, ultimately, it’s up to the pilot to finish off a safe landing.
But Wilkins is passionate about training and developing his base of knowledge in as many different ways as he can to be prepared for challenging situations. That includes researching air safety investigations in his spare time, looking at how past NATCA Archie League Medal of Safety Award-winning controllers handled situations, watching YouTube instructional videos of VFR pilots encountering IFR conditions, and learning about the dangers of pilot vertigo in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).
“You watch a video and think, ‘well, what would I do? Would I know to say that? Would I know to think about this?’ So I really fall back on those replays,” said Wilkins, who said one of the most important things he learned from watching other Archie League Award event replays is the importance of being calm on the radio, as it helps keep the pilot calm and focused. “If I was a pilot, I would think, ‘if that was me, what would I want to know, and what would I want somebody to say to me before I did this?’ The worst thing you hear about is people getting disoriented and flipped upside-down. The likelihood of getting disoriented in clouds if you’re not used to it is pretty high.”
That was the situation a Cessna 150 pilot faced in Wilkins’s airspace as he flew in solid IFR conditions near the boundary of Kansas City Center (ZKC) airspace, between Oklahoma City approach control and Tulsa approach control. He was lost, definitely under stress, and sought help through the Guard radio frequency. He ended up talking to a Southwest Airlines pilot who was trying to figure out where he was.
Listen as Wilkins and fellow ZFW controller Chris Clavin talk about this event, for which they both will receive the Archie League Medal of Safety Award for the Southwest Region on Aug. 11, 2021.

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NATCA in the Media

FOX Charlotte: How Sept. 11, 2001 unfolded from the perspective of the man who ordered ‘every plane in the air to land’

(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Four hijacked planes took over the sky above America on September 11th. Watching everything unfold from in front of a radarscope were thousands of air traffic controllers. 9/11 was a day every contingency came together in tragic cross-country harmony for controllers, including Mark Di Palmo. “Exactly what was happening with the…

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