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ATCA Tech Symposium Roundtable Conversations

A variety of new and exciting operations have transformed the NAS, seemingly “out of the blue.” There's an emerging need to address the many fundamental questions of how to meet  the new operational environment. Join us for three roundtable discussions to explore infrastructure, operations, and R&D in support of the future NAS.

Join us for three roundtable discussions to explore infrastructure, operations, and R&D in support of the future NAS.

ATM Infrastructure: Digital and Physical

Tuesday, May 18: 9 - 10:30 AM ET

The backbone of the aviation infrastructure is comprised of a network of safety critical, sensors, ground-based navigation facilities, communications towers, and networks. All of these elements work in concert to provide information to our air traffic controllers. Much like many of our bridges and water transport systems, this critical infrastructure is old and in dire need of replacement. In fact, the US NAS possesses one of the oldest safety critical aviation infrastructure in the world. Following 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2008, the FAA NextGen implementation focused on performance improvements to enable more efficient flight operations in the NAS. Today, we face a new recovery. The evolution of infrastructure must parallel with evolving operational needs of the aviation community and the investigation of new technology platforms and approaches to systemically evolve aviation by prioritizing investments. Infrastructure modernization is more about the supporting elements of the NAS, not those we see with the naked eye. As air traffic is recovering from the most significant downturn in history following the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to look at aviation’s physical and digital infrastructure needs. Join us for a powerful ATCA discussion where industry stakeholders discuss the modernization of the “hidden NAS” and the needs of our aviation system as we enter the digital age of aviation.

Table Leads:
Dr. Parimal "PK" Kopardekar, NASA
Hon. Donna McLean, PlanzerMcLean
Chris Giacoponello, Ground-Based Aviation Infrastructure Coalition
Amy Gusky, FAA PMO

*EVENT IS FULL. Email us to join the waitlist*

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The Future ATM Operational Environment

Wednesday, May 19: 3:30 - 5 PM ET

The future NAS will enable seamless and agile operations for diverse users from surface to space. Operations that emerged seemingly "out of the blue" are poised to enter the NAS with recent rules taking effect for remotely identifying unmanned aerial systems (UAS), as well as enabling small drones to fly over people and at night. The current approach of segmenting who flies where, such as below 400 AGL for unmanned operations, provides near-term safety and security, but as yet does not fundamentally change the surface-to-space operations environment. Ensuring a safe and secure airspace entails grasping the full breadth of the characteristics of the future NAS. The services required by heterogenous operations may vary with airspace. While some capabilities related to communication and surveillance are uniformly required at all times, the airspace itself may dictate different service levels, depending on a given operation's performance characteristics; complexity and density of airspace; and environmental impacts, such as micro-weather climates; and national and public interest. From the holistic NAS perspective, the individual needs of new entrants and current aviators must be viewed against the requirement for a safe, secure, and efficient airspace. Grasping the characteristics of the future NAS at the capability level will enable a safe and efficient airspace that supports capacity and the increasingly heterogeneous operations. Join us in this ATCA discussion to explore the challenges and opportunities in the future ATM operational environment.

Table Leads:
Nick Flom, Northern Plains UAS Test Site
Peter Sachs, FAA
Ruby Sayyed, IATA
Amit Ganjoo, ANRA

*EVENT IS FULL. Email us to join the waitlist*

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New Approaches in R&D and V&V

Friday, May 21: 12:30 - 2 PM ET

Research and development (R&D) is supporting the burgeoning market of new aircraft and traffic management systems. More efficient flight routes and electric aircraft are making aviation more sustainable than ever before. To further realize these gains, however, we must focus our efforts on facilitating the transition from R&D to real-time operations. That transition is proving challenging, as technology development is outpacing current airspace system standards. Developing mechanisms to ensure technology, market demand, and standards work together to integrate new entrants may prove fruitful in a smooth transition. One area that may facilitate a more rapid understanding by regulators and operators of safe and secure operations is to engage system users and stakeholders in early concept exploration activities, both for simulations and for actual testing. Some near-term activities that support the development of standards and support the process for certifying 3rd-party systems are entering the sphere of R&D: hack-a-thons, fly-offs, and competitions, and qualitative research with market players. Ensuring the right players are at the table to support decisions moving from R&D to operations is essential to enable integration. Close discussion is likewise needed from the perspective of R&D funding. Funding for the development of novel aircraft has predominantly come from private entities. However, development of traditional ATM systems tended to align with large-scale federal procurements. With the possibility that traffic management for drones, advanced air mobility, and commercial space will be owned and operated by private entities, a timeline outside of a federal procurement still presents some uncertainties. Join us at this ATCA Roundtable for robust discussion on the fundamental requirements to support new traffic systems while ensuring safety, security, and efficiency for all.  

Table Leads:
Mike Paglione, FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center
Dennis Sawyer, The MITRE Corp.
Al Secen, RTCA

*EVENT IS FULL. Email us to join the waitlist*

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You must be registered for the ATCA Technical Symposium in order to attend these events. The ATCA Roundtable sessions are very limited - 32 people. In the likely chance that we run a wait list, full-access registrants and exhibitors will be prioritized. Thank you for your interest!


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  • Welcome to the ATCA
  • Welcome to the ATCA
  • 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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