As many of us know, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation on the third day of July, 1986 that the sixth day of July be designated as "National Air Traffic Control Day". Many people have combined this holiday with a lesser known National holiday a couple days prior, typically celebrating them both on the earlier day.
If you've followed the news recently, we learned some tough lessons this year. Please review the following public announcement(s) regarding FUTURE National Air Traffic Control Day celebrations.
You can show your love and appreciation for Air Traffic Controllers next year and the following years by
- Personally thanking off-duty Air Traffic Controllers once they've left airport property. Do NOT enter the control tower or other secure areas unless you have clearance and/or permission.
- Organizing a parade, celebrating the great job they do keeping everyone safe in the air. Do NOT do this while in the air and the fasten seat-belt sign is on.
- Demonstrating how much you care by setting off legal fireworks, such as sparklers, party poppers, and snakes. Do NOT launch ANY aerial fireworks directly at or near the control tower, regardless of the size of the airport, location, or amount of air traffic. As a rule of thumb, do not launch fireworks within 5 miles of an airport, in the direction of restricted air space, from a drone, or *while on a plane. *Snakes may be allowed once again (see FAA guidelines).
- NOT pointing lights at the control tower (or aircraft), especially coherent lights such as LASERS. It doesn't matter if the beam is red, white, blue, or any other color for that matter, please DON'T DO IT!
- Shouting your appreciation for them with your voice, not your radio. If your Amateur radio is capable of transmitting on the AirBand (108 MHz - 137 MHz), please refrain from getting on those frequencies and wishing air traffic controllers a happy National Air Traffic Control Day. That's strictly reserved for other transmissions, such as giving directions and other related topics.
Thank you. I hope you had a happy National Air Traffic Control Day. Oh yeah, and a happy 4th of July as well. =)
Rob Sipes, KG7GTC
PS: This holiday is not to be confused with the twentieth day of October, which is obviously the "International Day of the Air Traffic Controller", a completely different and unrelated holiday.