Facility Spotlight: Aircraft Certification Service Local
Thursday, April 04, 2013

There are 18 NATCA members in the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) NATCA Local (EW1). The NATCA Executive Board (NEB) approved EW1 in November of 2008. Prior to that, the members located at EW1 were part of the Engineers/Western Pacific Region (EWP) local, located about 18 miles from the EW1 office.

EW1 covers all NATCA Bargaining Unit Employees (BUEs) in the AIR profession in the Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (LAACO). This includes two units under the Multi-Unit CBA, as well as engineers and the administrative staff. The LAACO is located in Lakewood, Calif., on the north side of Long Beach Airport. All NATCA units in EW1 are in Region X and are covered by the Multi-Unit CBA. There are also two Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) bargaining units at the EW1 office.

The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) certified the AIR unit in September of 2000. AIR professionals are responsible for the certification and approval of new designs, as well as modifications to already approved designs of all types of civil certified aircraft. AIR professionals are also responsible for the “continued operational safety” of aircraft, which could include everything from investigating in-service issues with aircraft, participating in accident investigations, and issuing Airworthiness Directives to require design changes to aircraft when safety issues have been identified.

EWI NATCA President Scott Odle says that over the years the LAACO has been responsible for certifying many aircraft, ranging from small general aviation aircraft and helicopters to large transports, like the MD-11 and Boeing 717. The LAACO has been directly responsible for working with large manufacturers such as McDonnell Douglas aircraft and helicopters, and Robinson helicopters.

Odle also says the LAACO office has also certified many smaller aircraft modifications, as well as public safety-related aircraft and modifications. This includes the DC-10 fire fighting tanker, the 747 fire fighting tanker, fire fighting helicopters, and numerous other tankers for entities like the California Department of Forestry (CDF). Some of these aircraft, like the fire retardant dropping DC-10, have been featured in the news fighting brush fires.

Odle says the NATCA employees in the LAACO are a very dedicated group of people.

“Everyone works together to ensure the safety of the aircraft is maintained and that new aircraft and modifications to existing aircraft comply with the regulations and meet the minimum prescribed levels of safety,” he says.

EW1 members keep NATCA solidarity strong by not only getting together several times per year to take care of local business, but also wearing NATCA EW1 local shirts on Wednesdays and attending regional events, hosted by the EWP Local or the NATCA Western Pacific Region.

Odle has been the local president since EW1 was formed in late 2008. He says the best part of being the EW1 president is that it allows him to continue to focus on the work that is important to his members.

“Working to represent the bargaining unit employees in AIR and in this local is very important to me as it allows the members to focus on the safety-related mission they are responsible for,” he says. “This has led me to spend much of my time working with NATCA in many areas.”

Besides being the EWI President, Odle is the AIR Representative for the Transport Airplane Directorate (which covers offices in Seattle, Los Angeles and Denver), and he is on the NATCA Drug and Alcohol Committee. He was also a member of the Multi-Unit Contract Team for the Bargaining Unit’s current contract.

Odle says EW1 members living in the Southern California area are blessed with great weather, even in the winter. The EW1 office is located only a couple of miles from the beach, which provides numerous activities. There are also several ski resorts within a two-hour drive. Besides the many activities at the beaches and on the slopes, attractions like Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and Six Flags are all close enough for a day trip. Other cities with lots of attractions, like San Diego, are only a couple of hours away as well.