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Professional Women Controllers Inc
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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.
Child Care Program

Child Care Program

More families now qualify for the Child Care Program subsidy.



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Upcoming Events

Upcoming Bid

May 8

A no prior experience bid will be open beginning June 27th through July 2nd.  This bid is open to all applicants regardless of experience or education.  Check back for bid details!

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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


A key reason we value our jobs so much is we have such an important mission of ensuring that air travelers move safely and efficiently through our national airspace.  When we also feel appreciated, trusted and respected among our co-workers, we look forward to coming to work every day.

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I got a chance to hear a marvelous speaker at the Professional Women Controllers conference earlier this week. Her name is Christine Darden and she is one of the NASA mathematicians who inspired the book Hidden Figures, which was later turned into an Oscar-nominated movie. She led some of the major research on supersonic flight and sonic booms.

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Safety Stand Down

In the most recent Safety Stand Down events, we have had themes focused on recognizing and communicating hazards. During the current event, which began April 22 and wraps up May 6, we are focusing on mitigating and resolving hazards.

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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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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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