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NATCA Advantage: Retirement Briefing Webinars

Whether you’re building for your future in retirement, or ready to put your retirement plan into action, NATCA offers a valuable benefit to members via online retirement briefings. These briefings are a valuable resource that explains the features of the federal benefits program, including choices that can be made at retirement and the impact of…

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NCF Seeking Member for its Board of Directors

The NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF) is looking to fill a position on its Board of Directors. Directors should be prepared to dedicate at least five hours per week to start. Apply by Jan. 22 by sending your resume here. “NCF can’t survive without its passionate, dedicated volunteers and is proud to have a 100% volunteer…

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NATCA, Union Plus Scholarship Programs Now Accepting Applications

The NATCA scholarship fund is established for the spouses, children, stepchildren, and legally adopted children of active, retired, and deceased NATCA members with continuous membership in good standing of at least two years. These scholarships are for full-time attendance at accredited colleges and universities within the United States and its territories for an undergraduate degree…

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NATCA Insider Archive

Press Releases

NATCA Thanks FAA ATO COO Teri Bristol for Efforts to Build Collaboration, Improve Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today congratulates Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Organization (ATO) Chief Operating Officer (COO) Teri Bristol on her upcoming retirement and thanks her for her efforts every day in working to develop and solidify collaboration between the FAA and NATCA as well as across the aviation…

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NATCA Thanks Transportation Chairman DeFazio for More Than Three Decades of Leadership to Improve Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) thanks and congratulates Oregon Congressman and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Chairman Peter DeFazio, who for more than three decades has been a passionate advocate and fierce champion for aviation safety, transportation labor, and the front-line workers who power the engine that drives our…

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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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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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