Snowdrop Foundation: NATCA Joins in Supporting Childhood Cancer Patients and Survivors

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Childhood cancer patients demonstrate indestructible attitude and spirit while battling their life-threatening illness. That’s why the hearty snowdrop flower is the symbol of the Houston-based Snowdrop Foundation, and why the organization caught the attention of the NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF). NCF has made Snowdrop one of the four charities that will benefit from money it raises as part of NATCA’s 18th Biennial Convention in Houston (May 27-29, 2020). 

Check out snowdropfoundation.org to learn more, and stay tuned for more soon about this charity, the important work it does in assisting patients and families, and how you can get involved. NATCA supports the organization’s mission of providing scholarships for college-bound pediatric cancer patients and childhood cancer survivors while raising awareness and funding for continued research to cure childhood cancer.

NATCA Leadership in the News

Large Regional Facility – Washington Center – Reaches 100 Percent Union Membership Status


In an astounding achievement for labor union organizing and solidarity, the local chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) at Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC; ZDC) has become a 100 percent NATCA facility, meaning all 379 NATCA-represented air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals who work there have chosen to be dues-paying NATCA members.

ZDC, sometimes also referred to as Washington Center, is the first regional center and largest facility in the National Airspace System (NAS) to have all of its NATCA-represented employees become members of the Union.

“We are proud to represent each of our members who – through NATCA – have a strong voice to improve both their workplaces and their aviation safety professions. But what Washington Center has accomplished is truly remarkable and groundbreaking and has raised the bar for what is possible when we are unified in solidarity,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “The men and women of ZDC have earned a special place in the 32-year history of NATCA and we are so excited for them and for our entire Union!”

Click Here to See Full Press Release


After NATCA Honors Gordon Graham, He Delights, Educates CFS Crowd for Fifth Straight Year

NATCA gave risk management expert Gordon Graham two special honors before he took the stage at CFS for the fifth straight year. First, Graham was presented with an honorary NATCA membership that the 17th Biennial Convention voted last April in Philadelphia to bestow on him. Next, Graham was given the James Oberstar Sentinel of Safety Award.



NATCA created the Sentinel of Safety Award as a way to honor aviation leaders outside NATCA who have displayed outstanding achievement in the advancement of aviation safety. Graham, who has become a very good friend to NATCA, has been a tireless advocate for safety for decades. And each time he speaks, safety professionals leave with vitally important information that better prepare them to approach their jobs with even more care and professionalism than before.

The wildly popular Graham spoke to another captivated CFS audience about making a commitment to risk management through ethical decision making. “In every profession, there are different types of external risks in all situations,” he said. “People make commitments to risk management. What control measures do you have in place to prevent these risks?”

He went on to say that things normally go right in aviation for air traffic controllers, statistics show. But when things go wrong, the proximal cause - what happens right before the tragedy - should be identified to prevent future events from happening. “Real risk managers ask what were the causes before, that everyone knew about, but no one did anything to change.”

Graham gave a 10-step process on how to think things through, in order to limit mistakes and prevent risks in the ATC profession:

-      Identify what needs to be decided.

-      Do you have time to think?

-      Do you have jurisdiction? If you don’t, give it to the people that do..

-      What does your policy say? Look it up policy and follow it.

-      Think about past practices and ask how have WE done it before? It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done it, ask if someone else in your facility has.

-      Are you doing the right thing? Ethics has to be a part of your decision making.

-      What are the consequences if you do it? And what are the consequences if you don’t do it? Make consequence analysis a part of the decision-making process.

-      Make the call and do something.

-      Document the process.

-      If you learn something new, share it with others.


Graham told the audience that controllers should be training daily, to avoid mistakes and make good decisions. He also emphasized the need for the Union to capture the knowledge from members that did great things in their career, before they retire.


“Collectively, this group knows everything about ATC, but individually, ATCs have limited knowledge. You must learn and share,” he said. He continued to say that every day, controllers are making people safer and, at the same time, improving the quality of the ATC profession. “You are sending people home to their families daily,” he said. “Your profession is so important in the scheme of things, that continuous improvement is warranted. Take this message and work safely.”

Communicating for Safety

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Communicating For Safety 2019;
Full Coverage.
CFS 2020 Save the Dates: Sept. 21-23, 2020


Biennial Convention

Houston 2020 logos The 18th Biennial Convention, Houston, May 27-29, 2020. 
More information

NATCA in Washington

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  NATCA's premier legislative event.
March 23-25, 2020. More information.