Andy Pitas Aircraft Save Award

Andy Pitas first experienced air traffic control in during World War II when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. One day a supervisor at the Anacostia Naval Air Station in Washington, D.C., asked the 17-year-old to work in the control tower. After the war he worked at the Washington Tower in D.C., now Reagan National Airport. But it was his accomplishment in 1956 for which we will be forever indebted to Andy Pitas. That year, he was the principal founder and driving force behind the creation of the ATCA. Air traffic controllers did not have retirement benefits or adequate insurance and pay in the 1950’s and they could suffer the blame of plane collisions even if they performed their jobs well. Through lobbying efforts and representation in Congress, ATCA gained better benefits for its members and evolved into a source of international recognition for controllers. It began to provide a forum for an exchange of thoughts on technical improvements in the airspace that just did not exist before. His vision created the goal “to promote the advancement of aviation and air traffic control….” He was elected ATCA’s first president.

In 1958, Andy transferred to the Airspace and Procedures Division at FAA Headquarters where he helped revise the Controller Handbook, which developed new airspace configuration and design procedures to implement the National Airspace System.

Andy Pitas retired in 1983 and throughout was extremely involved with ATCA. He served in various roles to include Assistant Vice President and Historian. He was the first recipient of the George Kriske Memorial award in 1974 and was honored with the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award in 2003. Andy co-chaired the ATCA Awards Committee, was involved with the Scholarship Fund, and contributed countless articles to the Journal of Air Traffic Control. And although he may have been one of the older members of the organization, he still submitted everything electronically and was encouraging of the technical advancements ATCA continued to make over the years.

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  • Welcome to the ATCA
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  • 06 Jun 2018
    Hon. Linda Hall Daschle Named 2018 Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award Winner

    The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) is pleased to announce that former FAA Acting Administrator Linda Hall Daschle has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, one of the most prominent awards in aviation and ATCA’s highest honor.

    A pioneer for women in air traffic management, Daschle was the first female to hold the post of Acting Administrator for the FAA. She began her aviation career in Kansas nearly 45 years ago as a licensed weather observer for the agency. In 1993, she was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the US Senate for the position of FAA Deputy Administrator. One of her first tasks involved an assessment of the agency’s key air traffic modernization program called the Advanced Automation System which was eventually overhauled, saving the agency an estimated $1.6 billion. She also oversaw the advancement of new regional airline safety regulations and conducted a review of the agency’s safety and surveillance program, which resulted in one of the single largest hires of new safety inspectors in FAA history. 

    Ms. Daschle has held numerous government and private-sector leadership positions, including with the American Association of Airport Executives, the Air Transport Association, the former Civil Aeronautics Board, and with the law firm of Baker Donelson. She is currently President of LHD & Associates, Inc, and serves on the board of Aireon, LLC.

    In accepting the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, Ms. Daschle joins aviation greats, including Delta’s Richard Anderson, NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, the Hon. Jane Garvey, Boeing’s Neil Planzer, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and pilot A. Scott Crossfield. (View press release HERE.)

    Tickets will be available this month. For more information, visit

    Established in Washington, D.C., in 1956 by a group of air traffic controllers, the Air Traffic Control Association has been from the outset dedicated to progress in the science of air traffic control and the preservation of a safe flight environment.
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