IFATCA 2013 CONFERENCE: NATCA’s Team Very Active in Discussions
Friday, May 31, 2013

By Dale Wright
Director of Safety and Technology

In late April, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) held their annual conference in Bali, Indonesia. NATCA has been a member of IFATCA for many years and has a very active role in the Federation. This year’s team for the conference was:

•    Director – Melvin Davis (Southern California TRACON)
•    Committee B – Mark O’Neil (Safety and Technology Department)
•    Committee C – Deidre Hatchard (Detroit TRACON)

Mr. Davis and Ms. Hatchard were advised of their roles rather late due to sequestration effects on NATCA. Their ability to read hundreds of working papers and grasp the main issues benefited NATCA greatly.  

NATCA also maintains a very visible role on the IFATCA Executive Board and at this conference had three NATCA participants:

•    EVP-Finance – Darrell Meachum (Fort Worth Center, Retired)
•    EVP-Technical – Patrick Forrey (Cleveland Center, Retired)
•    Board Secretary – Adell Humphreys (NATCA Retired)

Dr. Ruth Stilwell (ZMA) attended the event to assist with discussions on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Navigation Commission (ANC) activities on which she has been representing IFATCA during the past year. Dr. Stilwell’s position is an IFATCA position with which NATCA appreciates being able to assist. The ICAO ANC is the international body that addresses air traffic control procedures and changes to already established procedures.  

NATCA’s team was very active in the conference discussions. Mr. Davis was instrumental in addressing administrative and constitutional changes to the Federation’s manual. He worked closely with the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA) on several items. Mr. Davis also did a great job of coordinating activities with the office in Washington despite the time difference.

Mr. O’Neil’s work on Committee B was an extension of the work he has been doing this past year on the Technical Operations Committee (TOC). He has participated in many discussions representing the controllers in the United States. His work is well respected by the international community as well as here in this country. He was re-elected to the TOC.

Ms. Hatchard’s work on this committee was outstanding, especially for someone participating in their first international conference.  NATCA received several emails from IFATCA officials on the quality of her work, and, for the first time in four years, NATCA put the United States up for election to the Professional Legal Committee (PLC). The member associations elected the United States to the PLC, and NATCA leadership has appointed Ms. Hatchard to this position. The PLC is the IFATCA Committee that works issues dealing with Just Culture, Safety Reporting and Working Conditions.

Mr. Forrey and Ms. Humphreys completed their commitment and terms with IFATCA.  Other member associations of the Federation have assumed their positions, but IFATCA and NATCA appreciate their work and commitment to both organizations. Mr. Meachum will continue with his term as EVP Finance. The Directors accepted IFATCA’s financial report and audit, and the Federation is on solid financial ground.

In the upcoming year, NATCA will see more involvement internationally as there are more positions available where NATCA can assist.  Chris Stephenson (Safety and Technology Department) has been working on the ICAO Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Working Group, but two more NATCA members are going to participate on other working groups. Scott Pressley (Birmingham) will be working with the ICAO Wake Turbulence Study Group, and Jeff Richards (Chicago Center) will be on the ICAO Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) Working Group.  

Next year’s conference will be held in the Canary Islands and hosted by Spain.

As NATCA becomes more involved internationally it is imperative we as an organization have our best people involved. If any member of NATCA would like to have more information on this type of work, please forward your request to the Safety and Technology Department at dwright@natcadc.org.