Brothers and Sisters,

We just experienced another successful Communicating For Safety (CFS) conference in Las Vegas, with our focus on enhancing training for all, no matter the level of experience. For those that were able to attend one of the premier aviation safety conferences in the world, we thank you for your participation and hope that you have already relayed valuable information received during the conference to your colleagues. For those of you that were not able to attend, we thank you for the sacrifice you made to allow your colleague(s) to attend, and hope that you will be able to attend and experience CFS next year.

CFS includes industry and government leaders from nearly every discipline in aviation.  It's our opportunity to show the rest of the aviation community that NATCA is an organization of professionals who are passionate and serious about safety and the advancement of our field. CFS is open to the public, but NATCA members comprise approximately two-thirds of the conference attendees.  

Below is a recap of the entire conference: sessions discussed, keynote speakers, award winners recognized, and more. We invite you to read below, click on the videos to view presentations, and learn more about what was discussed to help enhance our Union for the future and for the better.

In solidarity,

Paul Rinaldi, President
Trish Gilbert, Executive Vice President
Steve Hansen, Chair, NATCA Safety Committee
Jim Ullmann, Director, NATCA Safety and Technology Dept.
For the first time, NATCA introduced a pre-conference breakout session called Tech Talks to Communicating For Safety (CFS). NATCA’s Director of Safety and Technology Jim Ullmann, told the audience that these talks were a chance for attendees to hear detailed updates from the NATCA and FAA subject matter experts (SMEs) in the fields of Time Based Flow Management (TBFM), Commercial Space, Remote Towers, and DataComm. Read more.
NATCA President Welcomes Attendees to CFS
NATCA President Paul Rinaldi welcomed a crowd of more than 1,500 to Communicating For Safety (CFS) on Sept. 16. He talked about CFS being the place where NATCA takes a stand for safety because aviation safety is the cornerstone for everything our members do as aviation safety professionals. “The commitment we have to aviation safety is second to none,” said Rinaldi. 
One of the goals every year at CFS, he said, is to accept the challenges that arise to change the aviation culture. Over the years, NATCA has rolled out numerous initiatives. Said Rinaldi, “we make the right decisions for the right times for the safety of our NAS (National Airspace System). That’s truly why we’re here.”
Aviation safety has been pretty safe around the U.S., Rinaldi continued, but it has not been the same feeling around the world. In speaking about the Boeing 737 MAX crashes, Rinaldi said, “this is why we never say we are good enough, or when we are fully trained. It’s a reminder that technology alone will never keep a safe system; but it’s the human being that will enhance the safety of the system.” Read more. | Watch video.
NATCA Executive VP Offers Support to Members in Need
NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert closed Day 1 of Communicating For Safety with an impassioned speech supporting all members who are in need of assistance and outlining an array of Union-provided resources for members including medical advice to suicide prevention awareness.
“I have often said that air traffic control is not a job. It’s a passion,” Gilbert said. “It is who I am, how I identify myself, even though while serving in my current role as NATCA’s Executive Vice President I have not moved airplanes in 10 years. I do miss working directly in the profession I love. But sometimes, things take us away from it, whether we want them to or not. Sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently.”
Gilbert noted that medical restrictions for safety critical positions are stringent, and the obligation to report is serious. “This is a worldwide issue for air traffic controllers and many other safety critical professions,” she said.
She then outlined the different programs and initiatives that NATCA offers its members and included one program offered by the Federal Aviation Administration for its employees. Read more. | Watch video.
ALPA President: Prepare for the U nknown, Unexpected, and Inconceivable
Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) President Capt. Joe DePete, who began his term in January, came to Communicating For Safety (CFS) for the first time and addressed the conference with keynote remarks.
“I like what I’m seeing,” he said of CFS. “You have a strong member presence and tremendous enthusiasm and energy here!”
DePete was very pleased to see NATCA’s new “Every Day is a Training Day” initiative because training is of paramount importance to ALPA as well. The union operates under the lifesaving value of training called “Trained for Life.” Read more. | Watch video.
NATCA Welcomes Back Brian Shul to CFS
Retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Major Brian Shul flew 212 missions in his career. He flew the nation’s top-secret spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, which is the fastest plane ever. Because of his work and service, he was recently inducted into the Air Force Hall of Fame.
Shul was pleased to be asked to return for a second year to speak at CFS. Shul was revisiting the story of his accident near Cambodia. He was sent to Okinawa, Japan for rehab. While there, he was becoming more and more depressed, and he realized attitude was everything. So he decided to change it. “The slightest change of attitude can change your whole life,” he told the audience. 
After a year of being in rehab, Shul was able to leave and he knew two things very clearly: 1.) Life is short and it’s uncertain, and 2.) Pursue your passion and achieve your dreams now. Don’t wait because life is short and uncertain. Procedure training taught him how to get out of a plane during an accident. All the training the USAF had taught him had paid off and saved his life. “I was young enough to be following all the procedures exactly,” said Shul, mentioning that if he had worn his uniform more relaxed like the more experienced pilots did, he wouldn’t have survived the crash. “I was lucky. Training is important, just like safety, and sometimes we don’t get excited about it, but we should.”

To help Shul retell stories of his adventures, he surprised the audience with a special guest... Read more.
A4A President and CEO: The Work You Do is Critical to This Nation
Both Airlines for America (A4A) and NATCA have four-word slogans, noted A4A President and CEO Nick Calio during keynote remarks to open the third day of Communicating For Safety on Sept. 18.
A4A: We Connect the World.
NATCA: We Guide You Home. 
“Four simple words,” Calio said, without any indication of the difficulty of what goes into making those things happen.
“It’s a reminder of the work that you do that is critical to this nation,” said Calio, whose organization is the trade association for the country’s leading passenger and cargo airlines. “You get planes off the ground safely. You guide flights home every single day with grace, and you take pride in what you do and it shows. You train every day. All of us at A4A are grateful for the work you do. We are grateful for our partnership in the skies and for your partnership in Washington.” Read more. | Watch video.
Attendees at Communicating For Safety (NCF) were very generous with their charitable donations to the NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF). A total of $31,000 was raised. In addition, donations made through payroll deductions were increased by over $8,300 per year. 

Activities during CFS included a poker tournament ($2,000), a silent auction, and a live auction that raised more than $12,000. 

Prior to the start of CFS, facilities across the country sponsored NCF at CFS, and raised $9,500!
Congratulations to NATCA members recognized throughout CFS for their professionalism, commitment, and dedication to safety. Click here to read more about the Award winners and their commitment to excellence. Click here to watch the video presentation of awards.
Panel: Every Day is a Training Day
Moderators: Tom Adcock, National Training Rep, NATCA; Steve Hansen, Chair, National Safety Committee, NATCA
Panelists: Patrick Morrison, Assistant General President for Health, Safety, and Medicine, International Association of Fire Fighters; Capt. Frank Cheeseman, Human Factors and Training Group Chairman, Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA); Ron Kittle, retired Major League Baseball player; John Allison, former Blue Angels pilot

Panel: The Impact of Weather on the Operation
Moderators: Jim Ullmann, Director of Safety and Technology, NATCA; Tony Schneider, FAA ATO Director of Safety
Panelists: NATCA Air Traffic Control System Command Center (DCC) Traffic Management Specialist Jessica Strahley, NATCA Washington Center (ZDC) Traffic Management Coordinator Ben Dengler, NATCA ATSAP ERC Rep Dave Cook, New York-JFK ATCT (JFK) FacRep Gerald Quaye, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 357 ASAP Representative Rachel Rae, and American Airlines Dispatcher Mike Sterenchuk

Panel: Pilot/Controller Communications
Moderators: Dawn Johnson, NATCA; Richard Kennington, NATCA
Panelists: Brandon Johnson, Northwest Mountain Region Safety Representative, NATCA; John Murdock, National Procedures Representative, NATCA; Erin Phelps, Central Service Area ATSAP ERC Analyst, NATCA; Don Dobias, Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA); Matthew Cain, Safety Chair, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA); Paul Flynn, NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP)

Panel: ATC Training: Excellence Has Got to Be the Norm, Not the Deviation
Moderators: Trish Gilbert, Executive Vice President, NATCA; Tim Arel, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, FAA Air Traffic Organization
Panelists: Tom Adcock, National Training Representative, NATCA; Jeffrey Vincent, VP of Air Traffic Services, Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Organization; Glen Martin, VP of Safety and Technical Training, FAA Air Traffic Organization; Don Moran, National Supcom Chair, FAA Air Traffic Organization; Brian Shallenberger, ZDC Facility Representative, NATCA; Carl Adams, ZDC Air Traffic Manager, FAA Air Traffic Organization

Panel: Surface Safety: Don’t Let That Airport Mislead You
Moderator: Bridget Singratanakul, National Runway Safety Representative, NATCA
Panelists: Capt. Steve Jangelis, Aviation Safety Chairman, Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA); Jim Fee, Runway Safety Manager, FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO), Emily Banuelos, Runway Safety Team Manager, Western Service Area, FAA ATO

Panel: Unmanned Aircraft Systems - Impacting Your Airspace Sooner Than You Think

Panelists: Greg Tennille, Director of Safety and Operations, The MITRE Corporation; Tom Prevot, Director of Engineering, Airspace Systems, UBER Elevate
Greg Tennille, The MITRE Corporation
Tom Prevot, UBER Elevate
Panel: Commercial Space: Integrating the Future of the NAS

Introduction: Paul Behan, Commercial Space Representative, NATCA
Panelists: Kevin Hatton, Senior Project Manager, ACTA; Jim Kuzma, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Space Florida

Paul Behan, NATCA
Kevin Hatton, ACTA
Jim Kuzma, Space Florida
Panel: International Collaboration
Moderators: Peter Duffey, President & CEO, Canadian Air Traffic Control Association; David Grizzle, Dazzle Partners, LLC
Panelists: Paul Winstanley, Chair, U.K. Prospect ATCOs' Branch; Kelvin Vercoe, ATC Director, New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA); Rudy Kellar, Executive Vice President Service Delivery, NAVCanada; Vincent Capezzuto, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Engineering, Aireon; Rachel Jackson, Executive Technical Director, Raytheon; Fran Hill, Senior Vice President Operations, Leidos

Speakers: Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator; Paul Rinaldi, NATCA President

The ability to think quickly and remain calm under pressure while maintaining situational awareness are just some of the unique qualities that air traffic controllers possess. Their willingness to resolve complex situations without hesitation, offer a reassuring voice to those on the frequency, and the ability to coordinate their efforts with other controllers help these dedicated professionals be successful at maintaining the safety of the National Airspace System.
While many controllers often feel that they are "just doing their job," their hard work is often viewed by others as remarkable and extraordinary. The  Archie League Medal of Safety Awards  were named for the first air traffic controller, Archie League. The program highlights a variety of aviation "saves" - some which involve a team of controllers working together, while others are the result of one controller's efforts.

Click here  to view the 2019 Archie League opening message from FAA Air Traffic Organization COO Teri Bristol.
Region X Commitment to Safety Award - Michael Collins, Retired, Aircraft Certification (AIR)
Michael Collins: This is really an honor. I'd like to thank everyone I worked with on safety issues. Read more.

Alaskan Region - Gabriel Zeifman, Juneau ATCT
Gabriel Zeifman: I've loved aviation all my life. It's been a constant in my life. Thank you. Read more.

Central Region - Andrew Crabtree, Kansas City Center
Andrew Crabtree: I was just doing my job, and I've heard that's a common phrase here at the Archie’s. I am honored to be selected, and I now know what I was missing, as this is my first CFS. When we do it well, we rely on each other, so thank you for my colleagues that I work next to every day. Read more.

Eastern Region - Brian Rabinowitz, New York TRACON
Brian Rabinowitz: Y ou don’t feel like you’re doing anything out of the ordinary when you’re doing this, but I am truly honored. I was just doing my job, whether I was getting paid for it or not. Read more.

Great Lakes Region - Nicholas Ferro and Charles Terry, Indianapolis Center
Nicholas Ferro: T hank you to all the award winners. It’s an honor to be here with you.

Charles Terry: It’s an honor to be here tonight. Most of the time our job is thankless, but every day is a training day on this job. Never stop learning and share your insight with others. Read more.

Great Lakes Region - Shane Boulds and Justin Dokken, Minneapolis Center
Shane Boulds: I want to thank Justin and our SUP for their help during this time. They were calling every airport for the weather at the airports. Thank you for honoring us today. Read more.

New England Region - Christopher Corcoran, Providence ATCT
Christopher Corcoran: I’d like to thank everyone for putting the event together. My wife told me I deserved the award even when I said I did not. Read more.

New England Region - Jeffrey Aulbach, Neil C óspito, and Michael Jacobson , Boston Center
Neil C óspito : I want to say thank you to everyone who helped out. Your training takes over and it was just instinct.

Michael Jacobson : I want to thank everyone for this beautiful event and award.

Jeffrey Aulbach: It’s humbling to be in esteemed company. Read more.

Northwest Mountain Region - Joseph Asmundson, Devin Carlisto, Nicole Coffey, and Matthew Rhea, Seattle Center
Joseph Asmundson: I want to congratulate all the other winners as well. I want to thank these three that did just as much to help the situation. Read more.

Southern Region - Paul Ray Keeling, Memphis Center
Paul Ray Keeling: I want to thank my colleagues that helped me that day. I want to thank NATCA for putting this event on. Most people don't know what we do, so this means a lot. Read more.

Southwest Region - Michael Schawinsky, Houston TRACON
Michael Schawinsky: I t’s a similar theme: we’re all put in situations we didn’t ask for, we do our jobs, and we’re not alone. This has been a great honor and a great reminder of what we all do, day in and day out. Read more.

Western Pacific Region - Michael Tamez, Southern California TRACON
Michael Tamez: Congratulations to all the winners here tonight. This is an amazing experience. We’re all one team and one community, whether you’re a pilot or controller. And sometimes, it’s really hard to find a friend when you’re so far down the rabbit hole, but the person to your left and the person to your right is there for you. I hope to see you all up here next year. Read more.

President's Award - Ryan Schile and Andrew Rice, O'Hare ATCT
The President's Award is normally chosen by NATCA President Paul Rinaldi from the list of regional Archie League Medal of Safety Award-winning events as the best flight assist of the year. However, this year, Rinaldi decided to do something different, awarding a completely different flight assist. Two controllers from Chicago O'Hare ATCT (ORD), Ryan Schile and Andrew Rice, received the 2019 President's Award because their actions on that day saved hundreds of lives. During the investigation of the incident, the FAA said the two planes came within .23 nautical miles and 100 feet of each other, due to one of the pilot's entering the incorrect heading.
Thank you to all the sponsors, speakers, exhibitors, CFS committee members, volunteers, staff, and everyone that worked to make this event successful. We look forward to another great event next year, Sept. 21-23, 2020, Bally's Las Vegas.