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Featured News

Secretary's Raise Award

Secretary's Raise Award

The Secretary’s RAISE Award competition will recognize innovative scientific and engineering achievements that will have a significant impact on the future of aerospace or aviation.   On behalf of the Secretary, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will accept student submissions in June and conduct an evaluation in July 2018.   The rules for this competition will also be available at


Below is the announcement from the Federal Register for this year’s Recognizing Aviation Innovation in Science and Engineering Award.  Each year we look for up and coming innovators to submit their proposals for this award. We look forward to you spreading the word.


Here is a link to last year’s winning submission.

Women who made History

Women who made History

Join us during Women's History Month as we celebrate the women who flew faster, higher & farther to break gender barriers in aviation.



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Upcoming Events

Department Rotational Assignment Program (DRAP)

April 21

The Department Rotational Assignment Program (DRAP) is a Department of Transportation (DOT) program available for FAA employees and is an excellent opportunity for GS-12’s and below (and FAA equivalents) to further their leadership development journey.  

The DRAP is a 6-month (July-December, 2018) competitive opportunity designed to broaden employee experiences and build cross-agency awareness through short-term rotation assignments.  

The rotation positions will be across the department and not limited to the FAA.  Attached is the employee nomination form and a flyer for the DRAP. 

PWC Open House

April 27

Join PWC on April 27th from 1-3 pm at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town - Salon C.  Find out how you can help emPOWER the next generation of Air Traffic Controllers.

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Patti Wilson LIVE!

Patti Wilson on getting things done, decompressing + getting off the path to nowhere positive as an Air Traffic Controller. 

Kara Martin Snyder, Health & Lifestyle Strategist talks with our very own Patti Wilson.  One of the ways Kara supports women is through this podcast. Her job as host is to introduce you to women who are making an impact in the world without letting burnout slow them down. This episode’s guest is no exception. Back in April, the idea for this podcast came to Kara while she was plunked at the airport. Kara was wondering about what some of the most stressful jobs for women were. Bam! I immediately thought of air traffic controllers. Trying to track down a female professional controller was no easy feat. (Turns out, women are less than 20% of that workforce.) After several months of research, connecting, planning, and FAA approval - Kara is so excited to introduce us to this week’s guest, Patti Wilson!

Patti Wilson has been in the air traffic control industry for the past 29 years. She’s the Operations Manager at Northern California Terminal Radar Approach Control, and is currently in her second term as President of Professional Women Controllers. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also very involved in nonprofit work with Zonta International. She’s also a pistol deeply committed to pulling up a seat for more women at the aviation table.

Patti brings both a breadth and depth of experience and wisdom to our conversation. She paints a picture of what being an air traffic controller is like (the good, the stressful and the invisible to us non-controller folks). She also talks about the difference between communication at work versus everyday conversations (like the risk of talking to people in bullet points and commands outside of work). We also cover staying humble, handling stress, and giving/receiving feedback.

You’re now cleared for listening takeoff. So, go ahead and switch to listening to this podcast on your favorite smartphone or listening device.


Who is PWC -Katrina Smith

Meet PWC Member Katrina Smith

Hello my name is Katrina Smith. I started my ATC career in 2002 at Fort Wainwright ATCT, Alaska in the US Army on active duty.  I was subsequently stationed at Fort Hood ATCT, Texas and Al-Taji ATCT, Iraq.  In 2010, I joined the FAA at Hilo ATCT, Hawaii.  Following that, I became a Front Line Manager at Aurora ATCT, Illinois and am currently an Operations Supervisor at Chicago Center. I am a Warrant Officer Air Traffic Controller in the Pennsylvania National Guard and I have been a PWC member since 2014. 

To read more about Katrina click here

More Headlines

Performance Management

Yay, It’s Report Card Time, Said No Student Ever

Hi everyone,

When my kids were in school, I always looked forward to checking their test scores, getting their report cards and going to parent-teacher conferences. These were built-in checkpoints that allowed me to make sure they were on track, and when they weren’t, to help them course correct and get back on the right trajectory. While I certainly preferred to see good marks, I especially appreciated finding out where they needed to put in a little more effort to ensure their college and career aspirations remained attainable.

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Tackling General Aviation From Many Fronts

I am at the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In today because it’s a great opportunity to talk to general aviation (GA) pilots about what we in the ATO are doing to make sure they stay safe, and to ask them to do everything they can as well.

More than 211,000 GA aircraft fly more than 27 million operations a year in the United States, so they’re an important part of our national airspace.  While the GA fatality rate has dropped, we’d prefer for that number to be zero and we have a number of initiatives underway to contribute toward that goal.

I updated the GA pilots on Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which our team has successfully implemented at our 24 en route and oceanic centers and 114 of our terminal facilities. The pilots who are already equipped and using it say they love it – we have heard many examples of how near misses have been avoided because ADS-B allows them to see other aircraft and be visible themselves in congested airspace.

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Severe Weather

None of us will forget any time soon the 2017 weather season. We experienced several fatal hurricanes, destructive wildfires and damaging storms that disrupted our airspace, our equipment and our people. We’re still recovering in some places.

As severe weather season begins again, I want to let you know about a few of the measures we are taking this year to leverage the lessons we learned and mitigate challenges next time they occur.

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Cleaning Out Our Closets and Simplifying Flight Program Ops

It seems like we’re always looking for ways to simplify our lives. Sometimes that means getting rid of things we don’t use anymore, like music CDs because we use online music apps. We might find a simpler way of doing business, like automatic electronic bill payment. Or, we merge services with family members to save money, like combining movie streaming accounts so we share one monthly fee.
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Embracing the Challenge of New Operational Requirements

When some of the newest users of our national airspace first emerged, I don’t think any of us anticipated just how quickly we’d have to adapt and find ways to make our system accessible for additional purposes beyond manned aircraft moving passengers and cargo from place to place.

Since those early days, I am pleased at how many ways the FAA and our colleagues in the ATO are leading and contributing to so many innovative initiatives involving unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commercial space vehicles and other non-traditional entrants.

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Valuing Diversity of Experience, Background and Ideas

I have read a lot of books on leadership over the years and some of the most important lessons I learned were from the people I worked with. One trait I always saw in good leaders is they seek input from the individuals around them, so I decided to make that a routine practice too. I’m never disappointed when I turn to others in the room and ask what they think because their input enriches an idea I may have and opens me and the team up to new ways of thinking.

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Taking a Hard Look at What Works

We talk about collaboration often because it’s important to everything we do. A great example is last week’s cutover of air traffic services from Cape (K90) Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) operations to Boston TRACON (A90).

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Engineer Your Way to Success

I appreciate the opportunity to recognize our team during National Engineers Week and its companion event, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. We couldn’t be successful without the engineers we have in every service unit of the ATO, including systems engineers, electrical engineers, database engineers, software engineers,  requirements engineers, network engineers and general engineers, to name a few. An engineering education is valuable because analytical and technical skills can be applied to so many circumstances.  

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