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NATCA Bringing Controllers, Pilots Together This Week to Discuss Aviation Safety at Annual Event - (4/28/2003)

DENVER – As part of a continuing effort to address ways to improve aviation safety, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association is hosting its annual Communicating for Safety event on Tuesday, April 29 and Wednesday, April 30 at the Doubletree Hotel Denver. This gathering of controllers, pilots and officials from the Federal Aviation Administration will feature interactive forums evenly split between technology presentations and discussions and operational issues.

This is the 19th Communicating for Safety conference and the third since NATCA assumed responsibility for sponsoring and running the event.

“This conference provides an opportunity for line controllers and line pilots to talk through issues affecting air traffic control,” said NATCA Executive Vice President Ruth Marlin. “Effective communication between controllers and pilots is essential to maintaining the safety and integrity of the National Airspace System.”

Many different topics are on the agenda for discussion, including runway safety, National Airspace Redesign, the FAA’s Operational Evolution Plan and a National Transportation Safety Board incident analysis. Controllers, pilots and FAA officials will share thoughts and experiences in panel discussions and presentations.

“There are opportunities throughout the year for pilots to meet with pilots and air traffic controllers to meet with air traffic controllers. What I think sets this conference apart is the bringing together of these two groups for the only time of the year,” said Wes Stoops, Southern Region representative on the NATCA Safety Committee and organizer of the Communicating for Safety events. “Safety is obviously important to everybody involved in aviation and we want to take a leadership role in that and come alongside other organizations.”

In addition to Marlin, Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Air Safety Foundation, will deliver keynote remarks. The ASF has just published a new safety advisor entitled, “Say Intentions … When You Need ATC’s Help,” which details both the everyday and the emergency services air traffic controllers can provide. It includes little-known truths about the handling of in-flight emergencies and offers real-life examples of ATC helping pilots work their way out of bad situations.

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