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Huerta, Whitaker headline NATCA safety conference

Mar 21, 2016

LAS VEGAS, NV – Beginning today, top officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are participating in the annual National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s (NATCA) annual conference, Communicating for Safety, to highlight intense, collaborative efforts between the agency and air traffic controllers that are making the world’s safest aviation system even safer.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker, Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Teri Bristol and UAS Senior Advisor Mark "Hoot" Gibson are among the agency officials attending the conference that will be attended by over 1,500 aviation industry leaders.

“I want to thank our entire controller workforce for everything they do to keep our system the safest in the world,” said Administrator Huerta. “The proof of that success is in our unparalleled safety record. We all know it is a direct result of the dedication and professionalism shown by our controller workforce every day.”

“Aviation safety is a team effort, and when it comes to keeping our skies safe NATCA is one of our most important members,” said Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker. “We’re proud of our partnership with NATCA and proud to take part in this conference.”

One of the best examples of the FAA-NATCA collaboration is the continuing, successful rollout of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS), which upgrades the computer system used by air traffic controllers at terminal facilities to a single, state-of-the-art platform. STARS, which enhances safety and increases efficiency, gives controllers a complete, precise picture of their airspace, enabling them to manage aircraft being tracked either by radar or the satellite-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B)

Large, complex facilities like Chicago TRACON and New York TRACON, along with many smaller facilities, are slated to install and operate STARS later this year. STARS will be in place at all terminal facilities by the end of 2019.

The STARS display booth at CFS gives controllers the hands-on opportunity to see the benefits of this system.

Huerta, Whitaker headline NATCA safety conference
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta

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