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Celebrate Giving Tuesday by donating to NCF

Started in 2012, GivingTuesday has become a day when millions of people do good by making contributions to nonprofits serving their communities. NATCA members can join the effort and give through the NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF). NCF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that works to make a difference in the lives of many. NCF’s philanthropic…

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Happy Hanukkah from NATCA!

To all of our NATCA brothers and sisters celebrating Hanukkah this week, we wish you peace and happiness. Happy Hanukkah! The AFL-CIO has information about how you can include union-made-in-America recipe ingredients and drinks in your holiday celebrations. The sources of this information include our union brothers and sisters in the Machinists (IAM), United Farm Workers (UFW), the United Food…

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Happy Thanksgiving from NATCA!

We want to take a moment to express our thanks for so many things this week as NATCA members and staff celebrate Thanksgiving in our homes as well as in break rooms and common areas with our colleagues. Thank you to our 16,000 dues-paying members, who have continued throughout the global pandemic to provide the…

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NATCA Insider Archive

Press Releases

NATCA Statement on House Passage of Landmark Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

WASHINGTON – Rich Santa, the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), which represents nearly 20,000 aviation safety professionals, issued this statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the landmark Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA): “This bipartisan infrastructure legislation is not only great news for the country, but also very significant…

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NATCA Strongly Supports Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021, Passed Today Out of the House T&I Committee

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) strongly supports H.R. 4042, the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021, passed today by the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I). The bipartisan bill, which has widespread aviation stakeholder support, would authorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to draw from the Airport & Airway Trust…

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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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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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